Small Business

Work-life balance: boon to people, bad for economy?

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Work-balance is a boon to business owners’ standard of living, but does it bruise the economy?

According to the new MYOB Business Monitor, work-life balance is alive and kicking. One in three Australian business owners believe they maintain a work-life balance, while 49 per cent state their standard of living has improved over the last five years. Moreover, 40 per cent of small business owners state they are working to achieve a range of lifestyle goals.

“Their motivation for running the business is very different to large enterprises,” says MYOB general manager Julian Smith. “Yes, they want to business to be successful but they don’t want it to impact on their lifestyle.”

However, while this commitment to work-life balance is of personal benefit to the wellbeing of business owners, it may not be good news for the economy, says Smith.

“Business owners that are lifestyle seekers have the lowest confidence in the Australian economy, with just 29 per cent expecting to see improvement in the next 12 months,” he says. “They are also the least confident about future revenues with just 30 per cent expecting increased revenue in the next year, and have less work in the short term – just 24 per cent reported an improved sales pipeline in the next three months.”

A focus on work-life balance was not consistent across different sectors, according to the report. The sector least likely to balance work and lifestyle was manufacturing and wholesale, with 39 per cent stating work-life balance was a myth, followed by retail and hospitality at 38 per cent. Those in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry were most likely to see work-life balance as possible.

“People go into business for a broad variety of reasons and it’s a mistake to characterise all business owners as having the same needs, ambitions or measures of personal and professional success,” says Smith.

“However, whatever you motivation – whether you want to build your company into a huge organisation, or just create a good job for yourself that gives you the freedom to do more of the things you love – the key to creating success at any level is to find ways to work more effectively, rather than just work more.”

Now those are good words of advice no matter what your business.

Published on: Wednesday, September 14, 2011

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