Less than half of HR practitioners feel able to balance their work and personal lives, survey finds

Experts say it is ‘imperative’ those in the people profession take time to ‘check in’ on their own wellbeing

Less than half of UK HR professionals felt able to balance their work and personal lives over the last year, research has found, as evidence shows wellbeing has deteriorated as the pandemic has progressed. 

A survey, conducted by Culture Amp, found that in the first quarter of 2021 just 39 per cent of the 683 people professionals polled across the year agreed with the statement that they felt equipped to manage both their personal and work life demands right now.

This has fallen from 46 per cent of respondents who agreed with the statement in the second quarter of 2020.

Similarly, just 39 per cent of UK HR professionals in the first quarter of this year agreed they were equipped to balance the competing requirements of their role right now – such as operational, people or cultural responsibilities – down from 46 in the second quarter of last year.

Only 31 per cent of respondents agreed they were able to take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge, down from 43 per cent last year, while 31 per cent agreed they were able to effectively switch off from work, down from 36 per cent.

Nick Matthews, general manager and vice president for EMEA at Culture Amp, said the figures made for “concerning reading” at a time when employers were preparing to bring their employees back to the workplace or were looking to roll out hybrid working.

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“Business leaders need to be proactive in supporting HR teams as they recover from their heroic pandemic efforts, and recognise that their roles have evolved and will be even more relevant in this new world,” said Matthews.

“It’s imperative that HR takes the time to check-in on their own wellbeing and calibrate their work-life boundaries if necessary.”

The study did find some positives. Three-fifths of HR professionals (60 per cent) said in the first quarter of this year that they could see how the work they were doing was making a positive difference – however, this has fallen from 73 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

Similarly, 55 per cent of those polled said they felt supported by the other people at work when they needed it, down from more than two-thirds (67 per cent) last year, and just 49 per cent said they were feeling productive, down from 67 per cent.

The findings were part of a global study that surveyed 4,841 people between June 2020 and March 2021.