Work-Life Balance: an audit of staff experience at Oxford Brookes University

In 2003 the University carried out an audit of staff experience of work-life balance at Oxford Brookes. This was done through an online anonymous questionnaire and through a series of focus groups. Almost a quarter (23%) of employees, broadly representative of the University staff population responded to the questionnaire and 60 members of staff from all schools and directorates volunteered to take part in the focus group discussions.

Did you know that?

  • 58% of staff who responded to the questionnaire do not have dependant children. This shows that work-life balance matters to all and not to just people with childcare responsibilities.
  • 90% of staff who returned the questionnaire indicated that it is important to them to achieve a balance between paid work and personal life and that it enables them to work better.
  • 84% of respondents also agreed that to enable staff to achieve a balance between employment and other aspects of their life should be a shared responsibility for employers and employees.
  • Over half of respondents (55%) would like to work more flexibly and the working arrangements most often cited as being of interest are:
    • flexitime (48%)
    • working from home occasionally (40%)
    • compressed working hours (39%)
  • The most common reasons given for wanting more flexible working are:
    • To suit overall needs (30%)
    • To reduce the amount of travelling (24%)
    • To pursue a course of study or training (19%)
    • Childcare responsibilities (18%)
    • To pursue a major interest outside work (14%)

Evidence from the University's audit supports the claim that work-life balance can lead to improved staff retention. This is what some members of staff had to say:

  • “I am happy with my work life balance. In fact, it is the contract I’m on and the flexibility it gives me that stops me looking for jobs outside the University”. (Female support staff)
  • “The opportunity to try a condensed week enabled me to stay in post when my partner was relocated”. (Female support staff)

View the full report (PDF, 373 KB)

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