UPFRONT The balancing act

Both the length and intensity of working hours impact on our ability to find the right balance between work and non-work demands.
The finding emerged from consultation process undertaken by New Zealand’s Department of Labour (DOL) as part of its ongoing work/life balance project. DOL’s report released last month, said long working hours are significant workplace issue as are multiple job holding and unsociable work hours.
Flexible hours were the most frequently cited work-life balance practice that people either had or wanted. Employer and management support is vital when it comes to providing aspects of work-life balance. On the other hand, cultures that reward employees for working long hours are seen as an obstacle.
Juggling the competing demands of time to ‘live’ and survive on one income influences decisions about when to start family. And the cost of and access to childcare, coping with school holidays and after-school care were all frequently raised issues.
Introducing work-life initiatives presents more problems for small-to-medium firms than for larger enterprises. And amongst those who struggle to take time out are small-scale employers and the self-employed.

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