South Africans’ work:life balance is booming compared to other countries around the world, according to the Regus Work:Life Balance Index – and the relationship between work and leisure gets better if you’re running a business or if you’re from Generations X and Y.

The study, published for the second year running by global workplace provider Regus, is based on the views of 26 000 professionals in more than 90 countries.

Despite the nation’s high global ranking, South Africa’s place in the Index has slipped slightly in overall work:life balance over the year, reflecting the pressure of work in a strongly growing economy.

This solid work:life balance showing is stronger for those running their own businesses, with 83% of business owners enjoying work more than last year.

Perhaps contrary to common assumptions, the older generation appears less adept at juggling work and home life. Those in younger generations (89%) are more likely than their older counterparts (65%) to report that they are enjoying work more than they did last year as well as being more satisfied with their levels of productivity (94% compared to 73%).
The survey shows that South Africa scores 129 in the Regus Work:life Balance Index 2013, compared to 135 in 2012, against a global average of 120.

Business owners score 132, as do Generations X and Y, while respondents from small firms score 129.

Countries whose populations have a better work:life balance that South Africa are Mexico, India, Brazil and China. South African workers are trailed by Canada, the Netherlands, the US, Australia, the UK, Japan, Belgium, Germany and France.

Kirsten Morgendaal, area director at Regus, comments: “Staff who are happy at work are both more productive and less likely to leave the company. As the jobs market improves, businesses are realising that to hire or retain talent they must focus on extending their flexible working policies, such as offering a choice of work locations.
“This is already happening – we see our network of local centres used every day by people working flexibly.”

Ian Cameron, MD of Cameron Medical Recruitment, adds: “As an employer, I would emphasise that the younger workforce does not feel it has to remain loyal to an employer in the same way as before. It is crucial to let them work in ways that suit them, rather than fit them to your way of doing things.
“Work:life balance is top of their agenda, and the tech-savvy generation view work as something you do, rather than somewhere you go.”

Previous research from Regus shows that 72% of professionals globally believe that flexible working improves their productivity.

* For the survey, Generation Y is people born after 1980; Generation X is people born between 1965 and 1980; Baby Boomers are people born between 1945 and 1964.