Tech firms lead the way in UK's best work/life balance

Tech companies have dominated Glassdoor’s 2021 list for the highest rated UK companies for work/life balance.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), Softcat and Arm took the top three places, all ranking 4.47 and above for a positive work/life balance.

Although the tech sector dominated the list, with five places in the top 10, finance, government and real estate also ranked highly.

Hospitality, retail, and travel ranked the lowest work/life balance scores in 2021 and before the pandemic began.

These industries tend to offer less flexibility as they have a high proportion of in-person jobs and fixed shift schedules.

More on work/life balance:

The four-day week: does it really work? 

How HR can spot signs of burnout 

Monzo founder invests in anti-isolation app

Lauren Thomas, economist at Glassdoor, said: “Whether it is the autonomy to set one's schedule, hybrid working policies or simply trust shown by management that work will be delivered without being tied to an office, it is clear that a healthy balance is best achieved when employees can individualise their approach to work.”

Glassdoor reviews praised Sky Betting and Gaming’s long-running wellbeing programme, which supports a healthy work/life balance by offering extra days off and an in-house gym.

Softcat similarly offers flexible start and finish times and job-share opportunities while Sage has designed a How to Thrive toolkit to support employees’ wellbeing.

Half of workers said their work regularly disrupts their personal life, with two-thirds wanting to redefine their current work/life balance, Glassdoor data revealed.

Flexible working hours was a priority for 36%, yet 32% saw a work-life balance as choosing where they work and one in four wanted a reduced working week.

However 24% of employees said generous paid time-off was important and 28% wanted the ability to switch between work and personal life throughout the day as needed.

There was little consistency across gender, age or other demographics for which definition best suited the worker.

Glassdoor has noted an increase in burnout on the comments left on its website.

Thomas added: “Discussions around wellbeing saw an immediate spike after the first lockdown in March 2020. However, it appears that employees are now feeling the impact of 18 months of change as mentions of burnout have increased 128% since April 2021, suggesting that employers are not fully meeting the needs of their workforce.”

Glassdoor based its report on more than 600,000 reviews by full-time UK-based employees between 1 January 2021 and 28 September 2021.

All companies on the list had at least 50 work/life balance reviews during this period.