Ben Scothern
4 min read

National Work Life Week

Trying to find a balance between our working lives and our personal lives is something that is becoming increasingly difficult for many people. National Work Life Week is here, and with it comes a chance for employers to share the ways they help their employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.

A survey, commissioned by the Oxford Open Learning Trust, asked 2,000 adults what they most wanted from their work, and over half of respondents opted for flexible working. Any coffee shop, kitchen table or train carriage can function as an office now, and the temptation (or need) to check emails, write reports or carry out admin work means that lots of people are finding it harder to make the most of their time away from their workplaces.

A government taskforce has been commissioned to investigate the concept of flexible working hours further, looking to promote a wider uptake of flexitime among employers. Peter Cheese, co-head of the Flexible Working Taskforce, said:

Our research shows that the main obstacles to employers providing flexible working arrangements include a lack of understanding…and long engrained working cultures of presenteeism and tradition of standard working hours. There is much to learn from those employers whose flexible working practices are more inclusive and who are already seeing the benefits of a diverse, flexible and more engaged workforce.

Avoiding Burnout

The issue of a work-life balance doesn’t just concern workers not having enough free time or spending too much of their day in a work mindset – it’s a mental health issue, too. Feeling burnt-out is a real problem among working people, as they overwork themselves by spending too many hours at their desk and too few with their family and friends , or simply doing something that they find relaxing. This can be partly driven by a fear of being seen to not be ‘working hard’ – the idea that staying past the end of the working day to complete work is a necessity, rather than a problem. Part of Work Life Week is the ‘go home on time’ motto – encouraging employees who don’t partake in flexitime to leave as soon as they have worked the standard amount of hours, and not a minute later.

Flexible Hours

In order to give their employees a chance to get more of a handle on the crucial balance of work and free time, many companies, including Adtrak, offer flexible working hours.

The flexible hours we offer here operate around a ‘core hours’ basis – the ‘standard’ working day at Adtrak is 9am-5.30pm including a lunch break (9am-5pm on Fridays – we like to make our weekends half an hour longer). But with our flexitime system, our staff have the option to come in earlier for an earlier finish, or start later for a later finish – ideal for those who need to catch a particular train, do the school run, or are serial alarm-snoozers!

For working parents with young children, work-life balance can be  a particular difficulty – Working Families report that a third of parents feel burnt out ‘all or most of the time’. Adtrak are very happy to accomodate the needs of the parents among our team, too; reduced hours, amongst other things, is just one benefit we offer to make life a bit easier for those with little ones.

The benefits of flexible working have been obvious since we introduced it a few years ago. Those who need a little more time in the mornings don’t need to rush about so much, and there’s plenty of staff who are at their desks an hour earlier so they can enjoy the benefits of leaving at 4.30pm 4 days a week (or 4pm on a Friday). There’s no detriment to productivity, either – it really is a win-win for all involved, and we’d highly recommend introducing flexible working hours for businesses everywhere.


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