Voice of the Employee

Three-quarters of UK employees (73%) like to keep their work and home lives separate from one another according to research from ADP (Automatic Data Processing). Despite this, almost a third (30%) of UK workers don’t feel that they have a good work-life balance in their current role.

The study, which surveyed over 2,000 workers across France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and the UK, found that UK workers have a tougher time separating their personal and professional lives than European workers. An average of one third (33%) of European workers surveyed felt a bad day at work affected their personal life, compared to 38% in the UK. Worryingly, almost a third (30%) of British workers feel their work does not make a difference, suggesting that a large number of employees are having regular bad days at work.

Across Europe, women tended to find a work-life balance more appealing, with 62% identifying it as a very important feature of their ideal job, and only 52% of men doing the same. Interestingly, the younger the employee the less likely they were to identify work-life balance as important. Almost a fifth (17%) of people aged 18-24 did not consider work life balance an important part of their job, falling to one in 10 of people aged 40-49. Over 65s bucked the trend with over 13% not identifying work-life balance as an important feature of their ideal job (see chart).

Percentage of employees who don’t feel like work-life balance is an important part of their ideal job

Jeff Phipps at ADP commented on the findings: “The rise of flexible working, and the widespread usage of workplace technologies to support it, has brought many benefits yet organisations also risk encouraging an ‘always on’ working culture. Employees faced with this working style are likely to become less engaged, and this type of working may even have a negative impact on productivity.”

Phipps continues: “Technology has increasingly blurred the lines between work and personal lives and HR teams and business leaders should give individuals the autonomy to choose what their work-life balance looks like. Finding the right individual solution can’t be achieved with a “one size fits all” approach. Individuals that want to blend work and life, and work more flexibly, should be able to, while those that want to keep the two separate should also be able to. The most important thing is for businesses to create a culture of trust so that employees can be open when things are not going well and work together to fix it.”

Key points again:

  • Three quarters of UK employees like to keep their work and home lives very separate (73%)
  • Despite this almost a third (30%) don’t feel that they have a good work-life balance in their current role
  • UK workers are more affected than their European counterparts by trouble at work, with over a third (38%) feeling that a bad day at work affects their personal life

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