Work–Life Balance in France

French people work more than some of you think! As a consequence, work-life balance is a real issue according to many surveys done recently.

Reconciling work and private life is undeniably a key issue of job satisfaction. The balance between private life and professional life is, with the interest of labor and the working atmosphere, the three most essential ingredients to generate job satisfaction. For 99% of employees surveyed, it is important that the employer permits having a good life balance. Recognition, autonomy and being promoted in comparison are cited by 52% of employees. This is a view shared by all. Whatever their age, gender, family structure, professional category, sector of activity and size of their business...the employees interviewed agreed to place life balance, work and labor interest on the top of their job satisfaction factors list.

If, at first, employees feel relatively easy to reconcile work and private life, 76% of employees surveyed felt easy to balance work and private lives (15% think it is "very easy", 61% "fairly easy"), reconciliation is considered difficult by a quarter of employees (24%).

In addition to daily social and family life, children seem to suffer from the balance that manage to implement the French employees concerned: 55% of parents believe that it is difficult (16% impossible) to care for their children as they would like and 49% have trouble spending enough time with their spouse.

Work-life balance is a complex issue to manage for a third of employees. A third of employees estimate they are spending too much time at work. In addition, professional concerns, or even working at home frequently affects 26% of employees. This percentage rises to 38% among managers.

Finally, almost one out of  ten employees, due to workload, fail to utilize vacations (9%). A much more common situation among the managers and employees who report working 40 hours or more per week (19% on each target). When they are asked about the evolution of the quality of their personal work-life balance, French employees are more likely to think there is a  degradation (34%) rather than an improvement (21%). Executives, again, are more negative (39%). The majority of employees believe that few things are set up in the company to facilitate the reconciliation of work and private life. If more than half of employees believe that their company makes very little effort (56% assign a score between 0 and 5), 16% attribute a good score in their structure.

However, few companies seem to mobilize on the subject...If 49% of employees feel their manager made efforts to help them better balance work and private life, only 34% believe that the direction of their business is concerned with  the subject.

The employees do not identify the French administration as an active contributor to the improvement of a better privacy.

Everyone agrees that the benefits are for both employees and businesses:

  • Better health, with reduced stress (53%, ranking first benefits for employees), which helps to reduce absenteeism (46%, ranking first profits for businesses)!
  • Enhanced efficiency, which ensures for the company gains in productivity and quality and employee satisfaction do its job quickly and well (2nd place benefits for employees and companies). 
  • Employees also see it a way of personal fulfillment (3rd place benefits for employees) and anticipate greater involvement in their structures (3rd place profits for businesses)

For employees, the key word is time arrangements and working conditions. They feel that it helps them to be able to leave their workplace in case of imperative (74%) see their workload arranged in case of personal concern (69%).

Corporate concierge solutions and nursery appear secondary compared to the introduction of greater flexibility in the organization of work (40% and 28% of employees believe that this helps or assist).

Now that it is mid-July, time has come for vacation; French people will now leave their work for our regular 3-week summer vacation. The work-life balance subject will come back in early September!

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