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How to implement work-life balance – as life starts to replace work as employees’ number one priority


Updated: 14 Apr 2016
White-collar workers are beginning to follow the lead of China’s factory workers in seeking work-life balance, and those employers willing to offer work-life balance initiatives are benefiting by attracting and retaining talent, says recruiting experts Hays.
“Success through hard work runs deep in Chinese culture,” says Simon Lance, Regional Director of Hays in China. “This ethos explains why work-life balance and flexible working options are yet to be fully embraced by employers. Even multinational corporations have been slow to implement work-life balance programs in China.
“But for the new generation entering the workforce, the priority is not always work first and life second. This generation is having some impact in terms of softening the ethic of hard work. Burnout and the desire for a better balance have seen more people changing jobs to lessen their commute time or working hours, or quitting to take a short break.
“For these reasons, employers who want to attract and retain the top talent in a shrinking labour pool need to ensure work-life balance can be achieved in their workplace. Add the necessity of encouraging mothers back into the workforce, and work-life balance now needs serious attention.
“But work-life balance does not mean employees will loose motivation or work less diligently. Instead, it ensures that all employees can balance work with their personal commitments.
“China has already taken several steps in the direction of work-life balance. For instance, over time the working week has reduced from 6 to 5 days. Now we are talking about work-life balance, which can be a big adjustment to make,” said Simon.
How can an organisation create work-life balance for their staff? Hays has this advice:
  • Review working hours: “Many of today’s candidates say they are looking to work for a company that promotes the idea of no work over weekends,” says Simon. “Can such a policy be adopted in your workplace?”
  • Flexible working hours: “There are a variety of flexible working options. For example, an employer might allow a permanent employee to become part-time, work reduced hours, or start and finish an hour earlier.”
  • Telecommuting: “Remote working typically involves working from home or an alternative location for some or all of the working week,” says Simon. “Given portable technology, there are many job functions that can be completed from home.”
  • Accrued time: “This is when an employee works less hours one day and makes up the rest of the time over the remainder of their working week.”
  • Job sharing: “Another practical and flexible option is job-sharing. This allows an organisation to retain the skills of an employee who can no longer work full-time in a job that requires the presence of someone in the role five days per week,” he said.
  • Benefits: “Foreign companies are leading the way here, offering benefits such as membership to a gym or other health and leisure activities.”
“Of course the ability to accommodate such strategies depends on the needs of each individual business, its customers and the employee’s role,” says Simon. “But such strategies have many benefits, including helping an organisation to retain and attract the top talent, improve staff satisfaction and engagement, and improve the overall health of the workforce.”
In China Hays operates from four local offices: Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou.
Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.
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About Hays
Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.
Hays Specialist Recruitment  (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing.
Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company. As at 31 December 2013 we employed 7,979 staff operating from 240 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms.  
Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.