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Work-Life-Balance: A Balanced Life - Working Healthily and More Successfully

The issues concerning the balance of family life, private life and work are gaining increased attention in political and business spheres in Europe. This is evident from the flood of publications and events and from the huge demand for professional advice on business concepts and for individual coaching. Providing employees with the option of balancing their working and private life has become an important managerial exercise - particularly since more and more skilled women are entering the labour market, men are voicing their wish to become more involved in bringing up their children and singles are demanding more time for their private life. On top of this, the shortage of specialists and executives is becoming a growing problem for companies in the labour or recruitment markets. It is not only employees who suffer from an imbalance between working and private life and the negative impacts it often has on their health. A lack of Work-Life-Balance (WLB) also has an adverse effect on their employer's prospects for success in many respects. There is an increasing amount of research that provides good reasons for following strategies to improve WLB and to invest in appropriate initiatives:

Investments in WLB

  • increase employee satisfaction and motivation in the company
  • raise employees' levels of health and feelings of well-being
  • strengthen employee loyalty and help to attract and retain high performers in the "war for talents"
  • raise customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
  • improve the image and public reputation of the enterprise
  • raise productivity and business performance of the enterprise

By promoting employees' health and providing a WLB, the overall ability of a company to compete and perform successfully in the future is increased.

The realities of WLB

WLB activities and initiatives are wide ranging and geared to achieve targets or meet the requirements of the company. They mainly fall within the scope of Work-design, Personnel and Health Policies and primarily serve to achieve work flexibility. By encouraging an optimal balance, they reduce strain and strengthen resources. Here are some examples:

  • flexible working hours (e.g. flexi time, part time, time off in lieu, sabbatical)
  • flexible work place (e.g. working from home or tele-working)
  • flexible design of work-processes and content of work (e.g. job sharing, job rotation)
  • provision of financial and social support (e.g. providing child care)
  • provision of qualifications to encourage WLB and personnel development (e.g. reintegration programmes, support for women workers, management training)
  • stress management, health circles, sport programmes

According to the Luxembourg Declaration on workplace health promotion drawn up by the Network, WHP is the "combined efforts of employers, employees and society to improve the health and well-being of people at work". As a modern business strategy WHP should therefore aim to prevent illnesses at the workplace (including work-related illnesses, working accidents, occupational diseases and stress), strengthen potential for health and improve well-being at the workplace. In accordance with this understanding, the network also supports a healthy balance between working and private life - benefiting the health of both the employees and their companies!