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Most Kiwis find good balance between work and home


Three-quarters of working New Zealanders are satisfied with their work-life balance, Stats NZ said today.

The Survey of working life conducted between October and December 2018 asked employed people about their work arrangements, employment conditions, and satisfaction with their job and work-life balance.

Work-life balance refers to effectively managing professional and personal activities – paid work and the other activities people find important outside of work.

“Work-life balance is really about the juggling act between working and life outside of work,” labour market statistics manager Scott Ussher said.

Overall, 76 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with that balance, with relatively small difference between various groups. Men (75 percent) and women (77 percent) showed similar levels of satisfaction with their work-life balance. Sole parents showed comparable satisfaction levels to partnered parents.

“Not surprisingly, the more hours people work, the less satisfied they are with their work-life balance,” Mr Ussher said.

“But in contrast, job satisfaction doesn’t vary as much by the amount of time spent working. Work-life balance satisfaction is different to job satisfaction, which is about the feeling of enjoyment or fulfilment someone derives from their job. People can really enjoy their job but still acknowledge that more time spent at work can negatively affect their life outside it.”

This is best illustrated by employers, where one in five (21 percent) work 60 or more hours per week. This group reported high job satisfaction (90 percent being satisfied), but low work-life balance satisfaction (45 percent being satisfied).

Other aspects of working life that can have a negative influence on satisfaction with work-life balance include feeling stress from being at work (or finding the work itself stressful), being too tired from work to enjoy the things outside of work, poor workplace relationships, and lack of flexible hours. One in five employees (22 percent) said they always or often felt stress from work, and 15 percent reported always or often being too tired from work to enjoy things outside it.

However, 96 percent of employees said their workplace relationships were generally good, and 91 percent reported very good or good relationships with their manager. Employees who had very good relationships with their work colleagues had higher levels of satisfaction with their work-life balance (80 percent) than employees who described their working relationship with colleagues as bad or very bad (33 percent).

Half of employees (51 percent) reported having flexible start and finish times. Those with flexible hours had higher levels of satisfaction with their work-life balance (79 percent) than those who didn’t have flexible hours (71 percent).

“Having the ability to start and finish your job at different times is an important aspect of balancing work with life outside it, so it’s unsurprising that employees who don’t have that flexibility feel less satisfied with their work-life balance than those who do,” Mr Ussher said.

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