Hello! Earlier this week, I returned to my role as Editor of Employee Benefits after 13 months’ maternity leave (which seemed to fly past at a frightening speed!).
I have spent the majority of my first week back trying to catch up with all that has happened in the world of benefits and reward, which I may be doing for some time!
Looking at the news we have featured on employeebenefits.co.uk over the past few weeks, something that struck me is the current focus on work-life balance. Earlier this week, for example, we reported on research by Thomsons Online Benefits, which found that approximately half (49%) of respondents feel their employer should provide more support in helping them to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
This really struck a chord with me. Why is a good work-life balance seemingly so difficult to achieve?
Having taken a step back from the industry myself, it has been interesting to follow just how much attention the issue of work-life balance garners in the wider media and on social platforms, particularly when it comes to gender equality and working parents (although, of course, the need for good work-life balance exists for all). Indeed, there are numerous social media accounts, influencers and campaign groups dedicated to raising awareness of the issue and beating the drum for potential solutions.
One concept currently attracting attention is that of the four-day working week. This week alone, we reported that Radioactive PR has moved to a four-day week following a successful pilot period, while flight and hotel upgrade organisation Upgrade Pack has started a trial of its own compressed working pattern.
With a shorter work week being advocated by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and research from previous trials reporting benefits such as a rise in productivity, improvements in employee engagement and wellbeing, and an increase in profits, it will be interesting to see if more organisations follow suit. This also reinforces the question: has the traditional week finally had its day?
On a final note, I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Kavitha Sivasubramaniam for all she has done for Employee Benefits and the team over the past year; they really could not have been in better hands, and I wish her all the best for the future.