SWWORK – By Astrid Hall

The nation’s employees believe work now takes up 42 per cent of their life, according to research.

Researchers carried out a detailed study of 2,000 adults in employment and found we all want more downtime.

Half of those polled agreed waking up in the morning and dreading the day ahead at work is a sure-sign you need to address your work-life balance.

And one third agreed struggling to sleep and finding yourself regularly in a bad mood are other common signs.

In an ideal world, employees agreed a dream existence would see adults dedicating just 30 per cent of their lives to work and the other 70 to life.

Just one third believe they have already struck their perfect work-life balance.

Work pressure and long hours were the most common factors cited as impacting work-life balance.

Finally, the research has shown that half of the 20 most wanted perks are related to work-life balance and health issues.

Pietro Carmignani, CEO for Gympass UK & Ireland (http://www.gympass.com/uk), who commissioned the research, said “With this study, we wanted to understand the perception of workers when it comes to work-life balance and if they feel leading a more active live would offset issues of long hours and pressure at work.

“The results make it clear that physical activity is an urgent matter to employees and that companies have an opportunity and responsibility to help solve the imbalance.”

Seventy-five per cent of employees polled agreed regular exercise is a key factor in achieving a good work-life balance.

And nearly half said they find it easier to keep focused at work when they’ve hit the gym or made time for exercise.

Thirty-five per cent wish they had more time for exercise in order to ‘bridge the gap’ between their work and home life.

Three fifths reckoned they get their work done quicker and are more productive following a workout, meaning they are able to make more time for socialising, family and hobbies.

UK employees would prefer fitness or gym-related employee benefits over good pension plans or company cars, both of which featured in the top five most common rewards currently among employers.

And 64 per cent reckoned they would be more effective at work if they had better access to fitness schemes or physical activities.

In fact, 65 per cent reckoned they’d exercise more if their employer had a subsidised gym membership, but just 14 per cent actually have access to gym discounts with their current employer.

Researchers found those working for companies of 500 employees or less appeared to be more satisfied with their work-life balance.

Staff working for companies of 251 to 500 employees agreed their life is 38 per cent work with the rest dedicated to life compared to workers at companies of 1001 staff and more dedicating 45 per cent of their time to work.

Interestingly, those working for businesses of 251 to 500 staff were also the most satisfied with their current perks with 64 per cent in agreement, compared to only 42 per cent of those at companies of 1001 or more employees.

Pietro Carmignani added: “This study shows that employees would rather have gym-related benefits over pension plans or company cars.

“According to the WHO, inactivity is the fourth highest factor of risk in worldwide mortality and people are aware of this and the benefits of being active.

“Organisations hold a unique position to promote higher activity levels, because they have credibility and massive reach among employees. It´s time they make the most of this.”

Top 20 perks employees desire:

1. A Christmas bonus
2. Birthday off work as standard
3. Free fruit/healthy snacks
4. Discounts on holidays
5. Free lunch/breakfasts
6. Free medical checks
7. More holiday than standard
8. Unmonitored flexitime
9. Discounts for restaurants/cafes
10. Discounts at high-street shops
11. Discounts for entertainment or attractions such as the cinema, shows, theme parks, museums etc.
12. Discounted private health care
13. Sabbatical
14. Time in lieu
15. Transport to/from work
16. Paid volunteering time off
17. Gym reimbursement
18. In-company gym
19. Gym discounts
20. Good pension plan


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