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By Hazal, Holly and James

What is Work-Life Balance?

According to The Realities of Work, work-life balance refers to,

the ability of individuals to pursue successfully their work and non-work lives, without undue pressures from one undermining the satisfactory experience of the other.

What is Work-Life Balance?

What constitutes balance will vary from person to person, depending on their circumstances such as roles within the business or family life and children. Imbalance can occur, however, when pressures of work make it harder to fulfil responsibilities in your home or personal life or when these pressures make it more difficult to fulfil work obligations.

The structure of the labour market in the UK has changed and will continue to change
The employers and work life balance group suggests that one of the primary reasons that work life balance is, and will remain, as issue is that the structure of the labour market in the UK has changed dramatically over the last few years and will continue to change. The evidence for this is that:
We remain in full or part time education until we are older, while more of us are opting to retire at earlier age. It is projected that 66% of the increase in the UK population between 2000 and 2025 will be attributable to immigration.

Generation y has entered the workforce: these young workers look at organisations track record on corporate social responsibility and are not afraid to negotiate flexible working terms.
The largest growth in labour market participation between 1990 and 2000 occurred among mothers with young children.

Flexible working
The most common forms of flexible working offered by organisations:

Flexible working The government introduced the Employment Relations Act 1999 which gave employees with children born on after 15 December 1999 the right to unpaid parental leave, and then introduced the flexible working regulations 2002 which gave parents with a child aged under six years (under 18 years if the child is disabled) the right to request flexible working. There are a wide range of different working patterns that have been designed to fit individual needs. The table on the previous slide shows the most popular forms.

The benefits of work life balance have been recorded in a number of surveys. The employers for work life balance association lists the benefits as including: Increased productivity Improved recruitment and retention Reduced overheads An improved customer experience

A more motivated, satisfied and equitable workforce

The future of work-life balance

For several years to come, it is likely that many of the present trends and pressures will continue, such as the rise in female labour force participation rates and resulting in further growth of dual-earner households. The gradual decline in career paths for many young people, coupled with a strong desire for travelling may result in a growing rejection of traditional work patterns. This is because the next generation of working adults may have a greater desire for more travel and non-work experiences. The increase in both life expectancy and in the proportion of healthy adults in their 60s, 70s and 80s means individuals can and want to work past retirement age. Gradual retirement or partial pensions could be an effective way to manage their work-life balance. To conclude, work-life balance is a relevant issue for all working people, and is likely to become more so as the demands for higher performance in the workplace continues to grow.

5 Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance

1. Build downtime into your schedule - When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends and activities that help you recharge.

2. Drop activities that sap your time or energy If we identify the activities that arent really enhancing our careers or personal lives we can minimise the time we spend on them and save our energy for the more important ones.
3. Rethink your errands - Consider whether you can outsource any of your time-consuming household chores or errands. 4. Get moving Although it can be hard to find time for exercise, experts say that it may ultimately help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate. 5. Remember that a little relaxation goes a long way - Don't get overwhelmed by assuming that you need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life, small realistic goals can really make a difference.

Daniels, K. (2006), Employee Relations, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Great Britain Noon, M. & Blyton, P. (2007), The Realities of Work, Third Edition, Palgrave, Hampshire http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/5-strategies-for-life-balance