Work-life bal­ance is good for busi­nesses

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

In the past decade there has been a no­table shift from peo­ple work­ing all hours for max­i­mum pay to­wards seek­ing flex­i­ble work­ing ar­range­ments and gain­ing a bet­ter work­life bal­ance.

Flex­i­ble work­ing ar­range­ments have many ben­e­fits, and not just for em­ploy­ees.

They also ben­e­fit work­places and em­ploy­ers since a bet­ter bal­ance has been shown to lead to in­creased job sat­is­fac­tion, im­proved job re­ten­tion and de­creased ab­sen­teeism. So what is flex­i­ble work? It’s giv­ing peo­ple a say over the hours they work, the times and days they work, or where they work. It in­cludes: Flex­i­ble start and fin­ish times. Flex­i­ble hours worked to get the job done (in­clud­ing work­ing a cer­tain num­ber of hours over a day, week or year, with em­ployee choice when they are worked).

Work­ing from home part or all the time.

Part-time work or re­duced hours (such as school hours only). Job shar­ing. Ex­tra un­paid leave pro­vi­sions. Five years ago an amend­ment was made to the Em­ployer Re­la­tions Act (2000), which now en­ti­tles em­ploy­ees who care for some­one the right to re­quest flex­i­ble work­ing ar­range­ments.

So par­ents, that means that un­der law you can re­quest flex­i­bil­ity in your role to help you achieve that elu­sive best bal­ance in life.

New Zealand work­places are in­creas­ingly pick­ing up on this.

Ev­ery year the Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment car­ries out a na­tional sur­vey of em­ploy­ers and re­sults from 2011/2012 show that 95 per cent of em­ploy­ers of­fered staff one or more flex­i­ble work­ing ar­range­ments.

We are see­ing a slow shift go­ing on in the world of em­ploy­ment.

Not only are em­ploy­ers in­creas­ingly of­fer­ing th­ese ar­range­ments, but work­ers are tak­ing them up on it.

The shift has been led by tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances that cer­tainly help, giv­ing us the abil­ity to work from any­where – we don’t all need to be in the same of­fice to net­work, meet or chat.

Work­places are in­creas­ingly us­ing Skype, smart­phones, so­cial me­dia, we­bi­nars and con­fer­enc­ing to con­duct busi­ness.

Par­ents, in par­tic­u­lar, need flex­i­ble work­ing hours to meet the needs of their chil­dren for the be­fore and af­ter school jug­gle of home­work and ac­tiv­i­ties, and dur­ing school hol­i­days.

The more flex­i­ble par­ents’ work­ing ar­range­ments are, the less stress there is on the fam­ily.

As any par­ent will tell you, it is re­ally dif­fi­cult to find the right po­si­tion that is flex­i­ble enough to work around fam­ily life.

It’s dis­ap­point­ing to con­tinue to see the vast ma­jor­ity of job va­can­cies ad­ver­tised as ‘‘full­time per­ma­nent’’.

Em­ploy­ers could of­fer re­duced hours and job shar­ing from the out­set and might be sur­prised by the re­sult­ing cal­i­bre of job ap­pli­cants.

Em­ploy­ees who have a say over their work­ing ar­range­ments don’t suf­fer the burnout that full­timers do, and tend to be more en­gaged and pro­duc­tive.

It’s a well­ness thing, but it’s also great for busi­ness.

You can find out more about flex­i­ble work­ing ar­range­ments and the law at dol.govt.nz. video their

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