Work-life balance programmes work, but few use them

Business, start-up, balance


Corporate work-life balance programmes are the most effective at reducing stress at work, with 71% of employees who tried them saying they were of benefit, according to a new study.

The Britain’s Healthiest Company study of over 32,000 employees showed that while over 70% of companies surveyed are offering at least one initiative designed to tackle stress, just one third offer separate work-life balance programmes.

The results also show there is a clear disconnect between the availability of work-life balance programmes and their use by staff. Of the 41 companies offering this type of programme, on average only 8% of employees use them. Britain’s Healthiest Company is a collaboration between VitalityHealth, Mercer and The Sunday Telegraph.

Almost three quarters of respondents to Britain’s Healthiest Company are suffering from at least one dimension of work-related stress. The survey signals that time pressure is the most common stress factor followed by employees not being consulted about change at work and a lack of choice about tasks done at work. Around 60% of respondents said their job made organising their life outside of work difficult and more than a third said they worked in excess of 40 hours per week; both factors which reduce work-life balance and contribute to stress.

Some 50% of employees surveyed said they were able to work flexible hours and more than 50% were able to work from home.

Greg Levine, Director of Corporate Healthcare at VitalityHealth, said: “Britain’s Healthiest Company demonstrates the importance of good work-life balance on mental and physical wellbeing and the benefits to be gained for companies by effectively managing employee stress. It is clear that while many organisations are offering excellent work-life balance programmes more can be done to make sure employees use them. Better communication and convincing support from leadership is needed to make employees aware of the initiatives they can take advantage of to help reduce stress and achieve a healthy work-life balance.”

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