Worklife balance supports can improve employee wellbeing research shows

Work-life balance supports provided by employers, often known as flexible working arrangements, can have a significant effect on employees who use them, a new study led by Professor Stephen Wood (pictured) from our School of Business has found.

Flexible working arrangements include flexitime, job sharing, moving from full-time to part-time working, compressing working hours, home working, working only in school term, paid leave to care for dependent in an emergency.

The research, which is based on a large national survey by Professor Wood and Kevin Daniels and Chidi Ogbonnaya at Norwich Business School, concludes that work-life balance supports can succeed in improving the well-being of those that use them.

Professor Wood said: “The implication of our findings for employers is that use of work–life balance supports should be used where appropriate. They are a readily implementable means by which an employer can support – and be seen to be supportive of – employees’ needs, and improve the support and job autonomy they experience.

“Our results show that we should certainly not dismiss these supports as having no positive effect even if demands on employees stay the same or even increase.  But, perhaps organisations should also tackle directly the adverse effects of increased job demands on well-being, both in general and that may result from the use of work–life balance supports.”