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Half of UK workers prioritise work/life balance when job hunting

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Mentions of “burnout” increased by 86%

Even though the pandemic brought the mental health of workers into sharp focus it’s two years on and new data from Glassdoor has revealed that employee discussions around burnout, overwork and mental health are continuing to increase.

According to the survey of 2,000 workers by Glassdoor, one in two (52%) people consider work/life balance a key contributor to good mental health and a priority when job hunting. So to help job seekers understand what it’s really like to work at a company, this World Mental Health Day Glassdoor has revealed the top 20 companies that employees say are the best for work/life balance in the UK.

THE COMPANIES GETTING WORK/LIFE BALANCE RIGHT

The research2 by the Glassdoor Economic Research team found a steep increase in mentions of burnout, overwork and mental health in employee reviews between 2019 and 2022. Burnout saw the largest increase, soaring 86%, while mental health mentions climbed 21% and overwork 15%, indicating many workers are still struggling to find a good work/life balance.

Glassdoor economists also analysed more than 400,000 reviews by UK-based employees who each shared anonymous feedback and ratings on their employer’s approach to work/life balance to compile a list of the  UK’s highest rated companies for work-life balance.

For the second year running, employees ranked The Office for National Statistics (The ONS) as the best company for work-life balance in the UK, scoring 4.6 out of 5. The ONS is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and is the recognised national statistical institute for the UK.

The top 10 UK companies for work/life balance are:

  1. The Office for National Statistics (4.6 Glassdoor Work-Life Balance rating out of 5)
  2. Heron Foods (4.6)
  3. Fidelity International (4.5)
  4. ServiceNow (4.5)
  5. AND Digital (4.5)
  6. Hyperoptic (4.5)
  7. Bank of England (4.4)
  8. Sage (4.4)
  9. MBDA (4.4)
  10. Schroders (4.4)

Analysis of ratings by industry found that employees ranked tech as the best sector for work-life balance, with a rating of 4.0 out of 5. Aerospace & Defence (3.9), Media and Communication (3.9) and Legal (3.8) followed.

Industries with the lowest work/life balance ratings are Transportation & Logistics (3.3), Retail & Wholesale (3.3) and Restaurants & Food Service (3.1).

FLEXIBLE WORKING HELPS EMPLOYEES ACHIEVE WORK/LIFE BALANCE 

When it comes to job satisfaction, Glassdoor’s Economic Research team found that work/life balance is more important to employees than pay. Furthermore, the study showed that flexible working – whether from home, the office or hybrid – can help achieve greater work–life balance as flexibility allows employees to work in a way that best suits their lives.

The survey found that most flexible workers surveyed report better work/life balance (59%) and improved general happiness (60%). These employees also feel better able to attend to personal responsibilities, such as caring for children or life-admin (59%) and have more autonomy over their work (70%). More than half surveyed (53%) also say flexible working has helped with the rising cost of living.

Jill Cotton, Career Trends expert at Glassdoor commented: “The stigma around discussing mental health in the workplace is lessening, and there is increased awareness of how our mental state can affect our productivity at work and our overall happiness. The Glassdoor list showcases amazing examples of companies which have implemented multiple initiatives to help protect their employees’ wellbeing. This includes offering flexible working which allows employees to balance their home and work lives in a way that works for them.

“However, there is still a way to go – UK workers remain overworked, and burnout is on the rise. Employers need to create a transparent culture and provide a range of support to protect employees’ wellbeing.  Workers who are struggling with their mental health or work-life balance should feel comfortable to be open with their team or line manager and ask for support and help in setting boundaries.”

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