The Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology is committed to creating and sustaining an environment that allows all students and staff to flourish. One of the greatest challenges in academia is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. We are developing a number of initiatives to address this challenge.
Work-life balance is achieved when an individual’s right to have a fulfilling life inside and outside paid work has been accepted, respected and achieved. This is of mutual benefit for employees, employers and the organisation.
"Work-life balance is about people having a measure of control over when, where and how they work, leading them to be able to enjoy an optimal quality of life." - The Work Foundation
Work-life balance is self-defined, allowing an individual to managed multiple responsibilities at home, work and within their communities. Working at the University is a passion for many, so this might include people choosing to work for much of their waking day, but also supports people working within core hours or allow them to seek managerial support to consider flexible working.
Research suggests that having an unsatisfactory work-life balance does not just impact the individual, but also the overall performance and productivity of an organisation. We are aiming to address this challenge in a number of ways; through increasing information and awareness of the resources and policies at Glasgow University, understanding staff needs and by providing training opportunities.
Frequently asked questions
Why does the University care?
In short, work-life balance benefits include increased productivity, increased staff retention, reduced staff turnover, lower rates of absenteeism, reduced overheads and a more motivated, engaged workforce. Specifically, the case for improving work-life balance is manifold:
Work-life balance is ultimately about improving people’s lives and facilitating access to paid employment and career opportunities. It also allows staff to engage with their passions, families and communities beyond work, leading to more fulfilling lives. Encouraging and promoting healthy work-life balance also sends out positive signals to students.
Equal opportunities case
Glasgow University is committed to fostering an inclusive environment promoting equality, valuing diversity and maintaining a working environment in which the rights and dignity of all its staff and students are respected. This can only be achieved by enabling all staff to balance their work and life commitments. For example, if staff have access to improved maternity rights and family-friendly working arrangements, it allows them to move along a more linear career path more quickly, making a positive difference to individuals career progression.
Excellent work-life policies and practices can be effective recruitment tools allowing the University to attract and retain more talent. Moreover, staff loss or turnover represents a significant cost to the University. For example, recruitment of new roles can cost anything between £3,000 and £10,000 depending on the position. Work-life policies can help increase retention rates and decrease turnover, reducing overhead costs.
As an employer, the University is bound to follow legislation that strengthens and supports employees’ rights to a satisfying work-life balance. This includes legislation supporting working time, maternity/ paternity rights, exceptional leave or flexible working rights (extending beyond those having children or caring responsibilities). All of Glasgow University’s policies can be found here.
Work-life balance, who is it for?
Work-life balance does not just apply to parents or carers, but is an agenda relating to everyone. Work-life balance initiatives and policies (such as the flexible working policy) are aimed at every member of staff, irrespective of personal circumstances.
What about people who just love to go to work?
Work-life balance is not just targeted at people who would like to reduce their hours or work more flexibly. It is about supporting an individual in fulfilling their aspirations and responsibilities. For some staff that might mean that their perfect balance is to work long hours.