The future of work-life balance in Northern Ireland

Developments in technology has brought with it an abundance of societal changes, and pressure is now being put on employers to adapt to these changes to retain a happy workforce and attract the best talent to their company.

In the past, there has been a clear divide between ‘Work’ and ‘Home’ life, but with the introduction of smart-phones and the ability to work anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection this division has been blurred.

In the UK we have never been more reachable during working hours than we are at the minute, the average person checks their phone roughly 82 times per day and always has access to social media, email, texts and the internet. The immediate assumption for many is that this will negatively affect the performance of employees, however a recent study by Robertson Cooper, in partnership with the Bank Workers Charity suggested that further work-life integration “allows workers to experience more optimal work-life situations that enable them to maximise their performance” but stressed that it requires greater personally responsibility on the part of employees to ensure that they manage their commitments.

As a Recruitment Consultancy part of our job is to understand the issues and concerns that our clients and candidates face, as well as finding them the right employee or the right job.  We have found that employees are becoming increasingly focused on ensuring a better work-life balance and are keener to find positions within companies that offer some flexibility rather than a traditional model for how they work.

In the last few years,many companies have begun to place a greater focus on ensuring a better work-life balance for their staff, both to retain their current employees and attract new ones.

Many business have now adapted to allow staff members to work from home on certain days or allow flexi-time for their employees. Some such as Deloitte have gone further and have implemented programs such as ‘Family Leave’ which allows members of staff to take up to 16 weeks paid leave to deal with a range of events that may arise. As well as a Sabbatical Program, allowing members of staff to take 3 – 6 months off work to pursue personal or professional growth activities while still receiving 40% of their pre-sabbatical salary.

Understandably for many companies, implementing a more flexible approach to their staff’s work-life can be seen as a bit of a logistical nightmare and the facts are that a one-size fits all approach is unlikely to work for the majority of businesses, for example it would be impossible to allow every member of staff in a manufacturing company to work from home as there is obviously the need that a large number of employees are required to be on the production floor.

However, by taking a more tailored approach by department or employee then the benefits can far outweigh the initial inconvenience of implementing a flexible working structure. A study conducted by Vodafone of 8,000 global employers and employees found that 83% of respondents that adopteda flexible working structure had increased overall productivity, while 61% had asserted that it had helped increase company profits.

For more information or advice on hiring a member of staff or finding a new job call 028 9099 4111

Posted: 7/12/16

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