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Work-Life Balance: Finns Will be Able To Decide When And Where They Work For At Least Half Of Their Hours

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Do you find it hard to get up early? Do you think you are wasting your life by spending time on roads during rush hours? Do you hate your boss who never hesitate admonishing you for being late or slipping away early? Well! You will soon have a solution if you are able to migrate to Finland.

A new legislation will come into force in early 2020 in Finland, making the average 40-hour working week even more flexible, as employees will be able to decide when and where they work for at least half of their hours, World Economic Forum said in a report.

As well as fitting their job around childcare commitments or exercise sessions, most full-time workers will be able to “bank” time off and use it to take extended holidays.

Finland has been at the forefront of flexible working for years. Since the mid-90s, the Working Hours Act has empowered Finns to adjust their working day by starting or finishing up to three hours earlier or later.

Versatility has since become part of the culture. According to a 2011 global survey, 9 out of 10 Finnish companies offered their workforce flexible-working options.

Remote working has many benefits, even if it poses some challenges for coordination. It allows companies to attract talented employees who live in more remote areas. And studies show that allowing people to fit work commitments around their home life boosts productivity.

And people around the world want this in their life. More than 80 per cent of respondents told an International Workplace Group survey of 18,000 professionals in 96 different countries that flexible working hours increased their productivity. More than half thought the experience made them more efficient and increased job satisfaction.

Similarly, HSBC conducted a study of UK workers, which found flexible working hours motivated almost 90 per cent people to be more productive. Versatile working conditions were seen as a greater productivity incentive than higher pay. Poor work-life balance was cited as the reason why almost two-fifths of respondents left their last job.

Similar results were found by a study of 16,000 employees at a Chinese travel agency, where volunteers were assigned tasks randomly on the basis of work-from-home or from office. Prof Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University, who led the study, found the productivity of home workers increased by 13 per cent over their office-based colleagues, due in part to shorter breaks and fewer sick days.

With Finland setting the benchmark, Australia too is now following the path. It has introduced legislation, making it easier for employees and companies to agree flexible hours, work location and work patterns, for example.

Meanwhile in the UK, only 16 per cent of the working adults want 9am-5pm working hours, according to a survey conducted by YouGov. It showed that 37 per cent favoured 8am-4pm followed by 21 per cent for 7am-3pm, 11 per cent for 10am-6pm and 14 per cent for others.

 

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Naya Daur