Happy Kiwis balance work and living better

LAURA WALTERS AND JAZIAL CROSSLEY
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2013

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New Zealand workers are happier, and have a better work-life balance, than their counterparts in other countries, a new study says.

The Regus work-life index study, published today, shows New Zealand is seven points ahead of the global average when it comes to the way workers balance their work and home lives.

The study is based on the views of 26,000 professionals in more than 90 countries. The index shows New Zealand is ahead when it comes to work-life balance, sitting on 127 points, up one point from 2012 and above Australia, the United States and Germany.

However, it was rather surprisingly behind China, at 136, Brazil, India, and Mexico.

About 80 per cent of Kiwis believed they achieved more at work, compared with last year, but only 44 per cent said they spent more time working.

Nearly 70 per cent of those surveyed said they were enjoying work more this year, with 74 per cent feeling happier about the amount of time spent at home or with family.

American-born yoga teacher Christa Lawson moved to Wellington from Philadelphia in 2007 after spending a working holiday here and falling in love with a local.

"For me, I'm living the dream," said Ms Lawson, who has flexibility in her work hours by being a contractor. She enjoys hiking and cycling with her partner at weekends.

"Having four weeks off a year is fantastic. In the United States, it differs in a lot of places, but you usually have two weeks.

"In my last job there as a hospitality manager I worked around 70 hours a week with no paid vacation time. People here seem to make time to relax."

Regus Asia-Pacific director John Henderson said businesses needed to be more aware of work-life balance.

"It's a well-known fact that overworked, tired employees lead to less productivity, and it can be easy to forget that workers have a life outside the office."

Equal Opportunities Trust chief executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie said an increase in the use of technology had allowed more people, especially parents, to split their work between home and the office.

"We have to be more innovative because we are smaller ... It's something we are quite proud of."

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- The Dominion Post

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