Britons want more flexible working


Almost nine out of ten employees in the UK would love to spend more time with friends and family in 2004, if only they could balance their work and lives more effectively, according to a new survey by the Department of Trade and Industry's Work-Life Balance campaign.

Given better work-life balance, seven out of ten adults said that they would like to pursue their interest in the arts, two-thirds would like to read more whilst more than half would like to learn a new skill such as a new language or play more sport.

But despite this keen interest in pursuing more interests over the coming year, almost three out of ten people feel that they are still spending too much time at work.

However, many workers appear to have already made lifestyle changes. Nearly four out of ten have managed to change their working hours to fit in with their commitments and interests outside work, a figure that rises to roughly half of 16-24 year-olds.

Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary, welcomed the fact that employers were improving their work-life balance practices, particularly for parents. But she added that there are still many people who don't feel that they have achieved an effective balance.

"We already know that people can work much more effectively if they can balance the varying demands on their lifestyles, so it makes good business sense for employers to cater for all employees' needs. Accommodating these interests and commitments will not only help workers stay healthy, but will also benefit the bottom-line through reduced absentee rates and recruitment costs."