Work/Life Research

Managing Work|Life Balance International regularly undertakes research projects for both public and private sector organisations, as well as conducting national surveys on topics relating to work/life/diversity issues. On this page we have posted links and summaries of research from Australia and overseas organisations which highlights new trends and interesting findings in the areas of work/life balance, flexible work arrangements, diversity management and other related topics.  

Australian Research

Generations unite in wish for shorter working hours

Generation Y are lazy but ambitious, Generation X are plodders and Baby Boomers are ready to give it all away - at least, those are some of the stereotypes .Research conducted for the Australian Work and Life Index report which suggests there is less difference between the generations than you might think when it comes to attitudes towards working, and the great similarity is everyone would rather work less.

"It was a bit of a surprise to us: there is a lot of talk in the popular media about differences between the generations - that there is a bunch of pushy 20-year-olds who think they can name their terms," says Centre for Work + Life director Barbara Pocock.

"Our data says that isn't the case. They aren't materially different in terms of average hours preferences to older generations. There was a lot of commonality across the age groups." The AWALI report found Generation X workers (counted as those aged 30-44) had the worst work-life balance of all groups, which it said was not surprising as they were in the peak of their income-earning years. Gen X men on average worked 45.1 hours a week, according to the report, but would prefer to work 40.4 hours.For more details of this article click here

Ther full report is titled Australian Work and Life Index 2010 by Barbara Pocock, Natalie Skinner and Sandra Pisaniello, Centre for Work+Life, University of South Australia, August 2010.

Work/Life Balance and Flexibility still a priority for employees

In a recent report on their World of Work Survey, Ranstad Australia/New Zealand found that when it comes to job satisfaction, employees report moderate levels of happiness and again affirm the principals of meaningful work; recognition and fexicurity (job security with inbuilt flexibility), are the key to loving their work. In fact 26% of employees intending to stay with their current organisation for the next 12 months, say good work/life balance is the main reason which would suggest that Australian employers are listening and beginning to deliver on workplace flexibility.

Employers clearly see this trend continuing as flexibility also ranked first among future challenges, with 92% agreeing or strongly agreeing the merging of daily work and life means employees will demand both security and flexibility in the next ten years.

Read the full report  here

Research from Overseas

A Guide to Achieving Work/Life Balance through cultural change

This guide whilst written for the Hong Kong business community has many applications for organisations here in Australia. It includes excellent suggestions and guidelines on how to address the many challenges involved in creating a workplace that is supportive of work/life/flexibility.

A key component of the guide is a section which answers some of the 'hard questions' about implementing flexible work arrangements. Feedback to-date indicates that this is a practical resources which is unique in it's focus on the Asia Pacific environment and workplace culture.

Barbara Holmes the Director of Managing Work|Life Balance International together with a number of international work/life/diversity specialists contributed to this guide which has been published by Community Business Hong Kong click here to download your copy

Give and Take Families' perceptions and experiences of flexible work in New Zealand

This report summarises the findings of a research project conducted by the Families Commission, exploring families’ experiences of flexible work arrangements, and their impact on family life.

Flexible work allows people to make changes to the hours or times they work, and where they work. It helps people to organise their careers to accommodate their other commitments, and to manage transitions in and out of the workforce. For flexible work to be described as ‘quality’, these changes must not adversely affect income, career progression, availability of scheduled leave or access to high-quality work for those who take it up. In addition, quality flexible work confers benefits on both employees and employers. To find out more about the report click here


WFD Global Mens Study on Work and Life Integration

Results from a research study of employees around the world conducted in late 2010 reveal that, when it comes to work and family, men and women are more alike than different. This finding conflicts with a widely held assumption that male identity is rooted in work whereas women place a higher priority on personal/family life.

The Global Study on Men and Work-Life Integration (by Work Family Directions USA) sought to understand how organizations can remove the stereotypes and barriers that prevent men from utilizing work-life offerings as well as what prevents leaders and managers, who are often men, from supporting the use of work-life options. Read more about this study here

Workplace Flexibility – What Employers Think

A WorldatWork study, Survey on Workplace Flexibility, provides an inside look at employers’ views on flexibility. The study was designed to gauge the impact of flexibility programs on employee attraction, motivation and retention and also examine the manner in which these programs are managed. The study revealed that while a vast majority (98%) of U.S. employers offer at least one workplace flexibility program, most (nearly 60%) use an informal approach, i.e., no written policies or forms, up to manager discretion, etc., and four out of 10 say flexibility is culturally embedded. The study found that a stronger culture of flexibility is correlated with a lower voluntary turnover rate. Read More