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‘Resistance to change’ limits work-life balance measures

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Although UK organisations have accepted that work-life balance policies do provide business benefits, a third cite ‘management resistance to change’ as the number one difficulty they face in implementing work-life balance measures.

According to The Work Foundation’s survey of 303 HR specialists launched today, the majority of employers (68%) accept an organisational responsibility to help staff achieve a healthy work-life balance – particularly in the public and voluntary sectors and among utility firms, where work-life balance policies are generally extended to all staff.

However, almost a third of organisations still take a narrow statutory approach, limiting work-life balance to obligations towards working parents.

Worryingly, the survey also found that only 3% formally measure the take-up and the impact of work-life balance measures – although almost a quarter of respondents plan to introduce some form of measurement in the next 12 months.

Key findings:

  • Reasons for adopting work-life policies were to boost staff retention (52%), make the organisation more attractive to potential recruits (39%), to improve overall performance (38%) in response to employee demand (36%), to increase workforce diversity (35%) and to reduce sickness absence (29%).

  • Benefits cited included improved employee commitment/motivation (46%), higher retention rates (40%) and improved employee relations (37%).

  • The top three measures were the provision of part-time working (90%), family/emergency leave (85%), and general unpaid leave (78%).
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