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A better work-life balance makes us happy

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We’re happier than two years ago. The balance between work and personal life has improved across the UK since 2010, according to new research.

Some 60 per cent of 16,000 professionals surveyed in the UK enjoy their jobs more than they did two years ago and 69 per cent say they’ve become more productive, shows the Work-Life Balance Index published by workspace provider Regus.

58 per cent feel they have enough time to spend at home or on personal pursuits. At the same time, however, the average professional is working longer hours than ever before.

A reason for this paradox, Regus suggests, is that employers have made efforts to shorten staff commute times. Businesses have been implementing measures to make the working life of their staff more flexible, whether that’s enabling them to travel out of peak time, to work from locations closer to home or to work from home out of standard office hours.

“We know that a good work-life balance is essential for employees to live healthy, happy and productive lives,” commented Dr. Clare Kelliher, Professor of Work and Organisation at the Cranfield School of Management. “The results from this report lend weight to the idea that happier staff are also more productive. At a time when all businesses are striving for growth, this serves as a reminder that employers should review their policies and practices to ensure that staff have the flexibility to achieve balance in their lives.”

Can this balance really be achieved by increasing flexibility, or does moving away from standard office hours pull us away from our private lives? 

Earlier this week we discussed research by advertising agency Gyro and Forbes, who praised the death of the traditional nine-to-five day. Many disagreed with the notion that the line between professional and private life will always be blurred.

Stevebizcoach wrote: “I wonder if you were to ask the partners & families of these business people who are happy with “always on” lifestyle what their response would be.”

drwriter wrote: “The always on approach works for me purely because I work with people in different time zones, but I still separate social and family from business. In fact I take some of my ‘normal working day’ for my social activities, so it balances out.”

How do you achieve a work-life balance? Are you trying to make the working life of your staff more flexible? Get involved in the discussion! Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter with the hashtag #9to5 and we’ll find out what real business leaders think.

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