Rise IQ rounds up the latest on: a good work-life balance
Rise IQ pulls together a regular collection of topical news which covers informative, thought-provoking and inspirational stories about health and wellbeing in the business world. Our focus this time? The research and influences behind a good work-life balance.
RescueTime’s recent work-life balance study showed that workers average just 2 hours and 48 minutes of “productive device time” a day. Evidently, 21% of working hours are spent on entertainment, news, and social media. Based on these stats, it’s pretty apparent that something isn’t quite working here, and perhaps it’s time to shift away from standard working patterns.
The study also found that 28% of workers start their day before 8:30am, and 40% of people use their computers after 10pm. Flexible working has many, many benefits, but it does blur the line when it comes to working hours. Based on the above findings, we also have to ask the question: do we have to work outside of our usual hours because we’re not fully productive during the day?
For many traders, a work-life balance often isn’t even a near possibility. “Work hard, play hard” has generally been associated with this industry, so it’s interesting to see that European traders in both investment management and banking industries have called for a cut in market hours by ninety minutes, bringing the working day down to seven hours. The reasoning behind this is to create more efficient markets to benefit investors and savers, but actually we think this may also have an effect on the expectations around long working hours.
Continuing the theme on productivity, Andrew Barnes (author of The 4 Day Week) says that if we focus on productivity we’ll have more free time. Said another way, if we reduce our working hours, we’ll be more productive because we have a better work-life balance.
There’s likely to be many different viewpoints about this, and many employers may approach it with an element of concern. It’s a huge topic for discussion, but start by asking yourself this: if you were given just half a day to get through a full days work, but were able to get into the “zone” during this period of time, do you think you would achieve the same as you might during a full day where you might only be working at “peak performance” for just a few hours?
Recent global research explores the relationship between proactive career behaviours linked either to financial success or a good work-life balance.
Anders Dysvik, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, conducted the study using a sample of 11,892 employees from 22 different countries. The results revealed that employees were more likely to be proactive to achieve financial success, and less likely to be proactive in their career to achieve a good work-life balance. Those who were proactive in achieving a good work-life balance were more likely to be from cultures that “prioritise common group goals over personal goals and reward those who are altruistic and caring towards others”.
This particular piece of research was interesting because it spanned across different countries and cultures. In today’s global business environment, we think it’s good to be aware of how different people can be motivated and how success can look different depending on who we’re talking about.
Wireless security developer Kisi has compared data on “work intensity, institutional support, legislation, and livability”, to reveal “a ranking of cities based on their success in promoting a work-life balance to their citizens”.
So who made the top three? The results were: Helskini (Finland), Munich (Germany) and Oslo (Norway). For those reading in the UK, London just missed out on the top ten by coming twelfth. Conversely, Tokyo (Japan), Singapore and Washington (USA) were the most overworked cities. Some of the factors considered included commute time, the number of annual leave days, maternal/paternal leave and hours worked per week.