Half of Mena professionals 'considered quitting over poor work-life balance'

Six in 10 say family is the most important factor influencing their happiness, Bayt.com study shows

Three in 10 working professionals in the Mena region picked their job as the most important factor influencing their happiness, according to a Bayt.com survey. Getty
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More than half of employees in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) have considered leaving their current jobs to find a better work-life balance at some point during the past 12 months, a survey has found.

Sixty per cent of those polled said family was the most important factor that influenced their happiness, while 30 per cent chose their job and 7 per cent cited hobbies and activities, the survey by jobs portal Bayt.com found.

The poll surveyed 4,012 respondents from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan and other countries between September 1 and October 3 this year.

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“When employees feel a greater sense of control and ownership over their own lives, they tend to have better relationships with management,” said Ola Haddad, director of human resources at Bayt.com.

“Balanced employees tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, which increases company productivity and reduces the number of conflicts among co-workers and management.”

Companies in the region are increasingly focusing on employee well-being, the work-life balance and learning opportunities in the post-coronavirus era.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, employees and jobseekers have been increasingly requesting to work from home at least two days a week, in addition to asking for flexible hours and training opportunities, recruitment company Robert Half said in its 2022 salary guide.

A June survey by global consultancy PwC found that professionals in the Middle East are prioritising opportunities to improve their skills, as well as seeking transparency, flexibility and well-being in the workplace.

Meanwhile, 84 per cent of Mena professionals said company management respected their time and work-life balance, while 91 per cent said they had time to exercise and take care of their health, according to Bayt.com.

Employees today demand greater control over their lives and a bigger say in the structure of their jobs, with 92 per cent of those surveyed in the Mena region saying they had full control over their schedules, the poll found.

Employees being able to influence their schedule was associated with a better work-life balance, reducing conflict and stress, and improving attention, leading to better performance, Bayt.com said.

However, not all workplaces prioritise a work-life balance for employees. Twenty-three per cent of working professionals in the region said they had neglected personal and family responsibilities due to work commitments.

Busy work schedules often have a detrimental effect on the lives of employees, the survey findings showed.

However, half of survey respondents said that it was easy to take time off (paid or unpaid leave) in their current job, while 19 per cent said it was difficult.

Long work hours and overtime were found to be associated with a lower work-life balance, Bayt.com said.

About 47 per cent of professionals in the Mena region work between 40 and 60 hours per week, 21 per cent work more than 60 hours, 19 per cent work between 20 and 40 hours, and 8 per cent work fewer than 20 hours, it said.

About 86 per cent of professionals often have to work overtime or put in extra hours from home, the survey found.

Updated: October 24, 2022, 11:03 AM
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