Australians need better work-life balance

Businesses in Brisbane and Redlands should pay attention to the findings of the 2014 Organisation for Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Better Life Index. The index ranks the 34 OECD countries.

The index ranked Australia as above average for all indicators except for work-life balance. The OECD state “evidence suggests that long work hours may impair personal health, jeopardise safety and increase stress”. Unfortunately, 14.2 per cent of Australians employees work very long hours (more than 50 hours per week). The OECD average is 8.8 per cent. 

This cuts into people’s leisure time according to the report, which is important for overall well-being. Australian full-time workers, on average, spent 60 per cent of their day (14.4 hours) on personal care and leisure activities. The OECD average was again higher at 15 hours. Personal care refers to everyday things such as eating and sleeping.

According to the 2012 Australian Work and Life Index (AWALI) work-life outcomes did not improve in Australia between 2007 and 2012 due to the increased intensity of work demands and full-time working women who were experiencing worse work-life outcomes. 

Former director of the University of South Australia’s Centre for Work and Life Barbara Pocock said in a 2012 press release that policy reforms were needed to change work flexibility for Australians.

“We also need management and cultural change in workplaces to reduce long hours of work, reduce work intensification and mitigate negative work-life interference,” Ms Pocock said. 

The good news Australia consistently performed above average for the indicators. Although there is no overall ranking, when factoring in the high scores on other indicators, Australia was found to have one of the highest quality of life scores in the OECD according to a Australian Trade Commission’s data alert.

Overall, life satisfaction in Australia is good with people saying their general satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 10 was 7.4 points, above the OECD average of 6.6 points. 

There are 11 indicators in the Better Life Index, specifically housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, safety, work-life balance and life satisfaction.

If you need to discuss your work situation in Brisbane or Redlands talk to an employment lawyer