October 18, 2017
British workers are lagging behind employees from other countries when it comes to flexible working hours and benefits like extended leave, suggests new research. New independent research commissioned by travel specialists Opodo.co.uk compared Britain with other nations across Europe and the USA, which reveals that British companies are lagging behind other businesses when it comes to flexible working. Three-quarters of employees in the UK (75 percent) don’t believe they have a generous holiday allowance and 84 percent aren’t offered time back in lieu for days worked over the weekend. It’s of no surprise then that 69 percent of Brits don’t think they have a good work-life balance.
The nation that offers the most flexible working options is Spain, followed by the USA and Germany. The study reveals that just 30 percent of British workers feel they have a good work/life balance, which is less than the worldwide average of more than a third (34 percent) people surveyed.
The countries that rated themselves as having the best ratio of work and personal life are Portugal (43 percent) and the USA (41 percent), and those who claim to have the least are Germans (27 percent).
Spain leads the way in terms of flexible working patterns for its staff. It was the most likely nation to offer a summer-hours arrangement with a third (29 percent) allowed to alter their schedule compared to a worldwide average of 11 percent. Interestingly, despite its reputation for less annual leave, those in the USA were most likely to complement their employer’s attitude towards vacations with 37 percent saying they had a generous holiday allowance, compared to an average of 22 percent worldwide.
According to the research, if Brits were to request extended leave/sabbaticals from their employer, the major factor influencing their decision would be to remove themselves from work-related stress. Half of those people surveyed (50 percent) stipulated this as their prime motive while improving mental health (43 percent) and improving physical health (32 percent) were also cited as reasons.
UK employees are among the other European nationals most likely to be allowed extended leave by their current employer, with one in five (20 percent) polled in Britain saying their workplace allows them to take this break. However, more than half (54 percent) of those questioned believe it would be hard to return to work after a sabbatical.
A very wary one in five (21 percent) feel it could make them less employable, while a further one in ten (13 percent) think it will harm their career prospects with their current employer.
Many other European nations are much more in favour of sabbaticals, stipulating that it helps with employment for potential roles in the future within companies across the globe, while British workers think that it will do more harm than good.
Almost two-thirds of people (61 percent) in Spain believe extended leave will help them in the future in terms of employability and more than half (60 percent) of the people in Germany said the same, while a further 49 percent of people working in France also believe sabbaticals can help with employment.
The research suggests that an extended break from work would actually be useful for many, despite Brits being least likely of all the nations surveyed to return refreshed from their summer holiday.
Almost one in four of us (23 percent) feel revitalised after a regular holiday or extended break, compared to 48 percent of people from Germany and 47 percent of respondents from the USA.