Changing attitudes and behaviours to work-life balance

While seen as something of a luxury in the past, the ability to manage your professional life around your personal one is becoming more of a factor in how a lot of people are choosing to apply for jobs. A recent study from Randstad found that as many as 65% of people saw a good work-life balance as the most important factor when looking for work.

This marked the first time in seven years that a worker’s salary had not been the driving influence in their job hunt. Interestingly, the study – which drew data from 9,000 UK full-time workers – found that the need for balance rose with age. 70% of those in the 55-64yo bracket saw this as the most important feature of a job, compared to 59% of those aged 18-24.

A huge factor in this recent shift was undoubtedly the need for so many of us to stay at and work from home in 2020. The entire working world was totally flipped on its head. This has impacted some sectors more than others. Government statistics show that on average across all industries in April of 2021, 31% of workers were still remote-first.

This naturally varied between sectors, depending on the type of work that was required. The report found:

  • Accommodation and food service – 8% (worked remotely)
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation – 18%
  • Admin and support services – 25%
  • Construction – 30%
  • Education – 48%
  • Professional scientific and technical activities – 71%
  • Information and communication – 81%

The shift in stances was mirrored by job ads themselves, with the same report finding that the latest figures (May 14 2021) showed there were 306 positions posted with homeworking mentioned, compared to just 114 without.

The ability to work from anywhere is one of the key components in achieving a good work-life balance. It’s for that reason that a separate Government report released in January of 2022 found 25% of home workers lived in rural areas, while 16% lived in urban areas. The highest percentage of these (34% of all homeworkers) could be found in rural hamlets.

With remote work offering the chance to ply your trade from practically anywhere, it’s perhaps no surprise that we saw an exodus of people out of busy areas and into the relative comfort of the countryside, with plenty of stories about people wanting more space and less noise. In a survey of Londoners, 46% of those who wanted to move wanted to leave the city.

Perhaps most tellingly of all, a report from The Gazette found two out of every three workers who wanted to leave their jobs in 2020 cited their decision was based on a desire to have a better work-life balance.

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