People would pay a lot to get a better work-life balance

And society as a whole would benefit, says report

Most people would be willing to give up £20 of their weekly income for an hour off, according to a report to be published next week.

Despite rising living costs, wage freezes and fears over job security, the average person in the UK is still willing to make financial sacrifices to improve their work-life balance. Many households would opt for a small reduction in income to improve the collective well-being of society, a study by the Demos think tank and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has found.

The report due to be published on Tuesday, Good Growth: A Demos and PwC Report on Economic Wellbeing, shows that the average household would be willing to forgo £1,200 of its yearly disposable income if they believed this would reduce unemployment or long-term illness by 1 per cent. Most would also be willing to sacrifice £500 to improve equality within society.

In recent years, there has been a big increase in demand for all forms of flexible working. The law provides carers and parents with statutory rights to request more flexibility in hours. Jane and Liam Blackmore, both 34, from Caversham, have three children and Liam is a full-time father. Mrs Blackmore, who works full time, said a better work-life balance was difficult because she is the only breadwinner. "I work four days a week in the office and many more hours from home. I do strive for more of a work-life balance, but I find that if something has to give, it is usually time with my husband. The money I earn is very important as I am the only wage earner. In a dream world I would spend more time at home, but in reality it is not feasible."

The Demos report recommends that encouraging firms to increase opportunities for flexible working would be well received by the public and could increase staff engagement, motivation and performance.

Kitty Ussher, co-author of the report said: "It might not be a complete surprise that people would rather work less than they currently do, but it is surprising just how dearly they value their free time."

Firms that don't allow employees to be flexible with their time are missing a trick. "A better rested, more engaged workforce would make business sense," said Ms Ussher.

"Notwithstanding tight budgets, the desire to reduce levels of unemployment and disability, as well as looking out for future generations, reminds us that [the public] feel a sense of collective responsibility – perhaps more than they get credit for."

Paul Cleal, a government and public sector leader at PwC, added: "Companies are getting better at meeting the demands for flexibility, not only because of new technology, but also new attitudes. By demonstrating flexibility as an employer, companies get more committed staff, which is reflected in lower turnover and higher productivity."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

    £13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

    £16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence