Work-life balance is top perk

A survey finds flexible working is the most important perk companies can offer. Plus other news.

Work-life balance is the most important part of working life for an increasing number of employees, according to a survey of over 1,000 junior and senior professionals.

The survey by Universum found that 40% of junior employees with up to 8 years’ work experience and 50% of senior professionals put flexible working number one of their list of perks a company can offer. Inspirational management and corporate reputation tied for the most important factor in influencing professionals to take a new job.

Peter Thomson, the director of the Future Work Forum at Henley Management College, said there was a link between inspirational management and flexible working.

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UK tax ‘penalises’ single earning married couples

Single-earning married couples with children in the UK pay much higher levels of tax than their counterparts in other western countries, according to research.

The study, by the charity Christian Action, Research and Education, found that married couples in the UK who have two children and only one earning parent and who earn an average of £30,800 a year pay 40 per cent more tax than those in other major western nations and 25 per cent more tax than the average for European Union countries.

The research also found that the tax burden on such couples who earn 75 per cent of the average wage has trebled since the 1960s. It calls for a reducation in tax on such couples to lift 500,000 children out of poverty.

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Daddy wars break out

Children have become the focus for power and negotiation struggles between men and women as fathers become more assertive about their role, according to new research.

The paper, by Dr Caroline Gattrell, entitled ‘Whose Child Is It Anyway? The Negotiation of Paternal Entitlements Within Marriage’, found men are increasingly competing with their partners over childcare as their traditional role as chief breadwinner changes.
The research will be published next month in the peer-reviewed Sociological Review.

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UK leads Europe in flexible working
UK bosses are among the most understanding in Europe, according to research.
The Establishment Survey on Working Time by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) found Britain ranked fourth out of 21 countries for the number of companies which offer flexible working.
But it was first for varying start and end times of the working day.
Some 74% of 21,000 companies interviewed said employee job satisfaction rose as a result of offering flexible working.
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US polls back flexible working

Progress in mobile technology and demands for a work-life balance are fuelling a drive for more flexible working, according to research. A study for research firm IDC found workers are very adept at using mobile devices which mean they can work for virtually anywhere. Other research by US software firm Farmatech found a quarter of workers would take a pay cut to work from home and 83% said a decision on whether to take a new job would be influenced by whether they could work from home. Nevertheless, 16% said home working was not allowed by their firm.

Another US poll found flexible working topped the list of things which made their work more attractive and productive. The research for care provider LifeCare Inc, found 49% of respondents said flexible working and part-time work were critical to whether they worked happily and productively.
In the meantime, Democrat presidential hopeful Barak Obama has put encouraging more flexible working at the centre of his policies in a bid to woo female voters.
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Teleworking harms those left in office

Teleworking has a detrimental effect on those left in the office, according to research.
The study, by Timothy Golden, associate professor in the Lally School of Management & Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, found that those who do not telework were more likely to report lower job satisfaction and more likely to leave their employment than average.
Golden suggested that increased workload and difficulty in maintaining relationships with distant colleagues could be factors. Another study Kate Bonsall of the Institute of Work Psychology at the University of Sheffield on hot-desking found that it could have a negative effect on work with people less able to build relationships and share information.

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Work trends in 2008

Human resources managers in the US are more likely to hire freelances, promote flexible working and recruit online in 2008, according to a survey.

The poll by found 39% wanted to develop flexible working more, 31% planned to use more freelances for developing their business and a fifth were looking to recruit over the internet.

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