Work-life balance best for rural and southern businesses
If you are planning to start a new business in the New Year and still want to have some time to enjoy the best of the Kiwi lifestyle, it could be worth thinking about moving to the country or heading down South.
According to the latest MYOB SME research, a net 54 percent of business operators working in rural New Zealand are satisfied with their work/life balance, while only 45 percent of those working in the city are happy with how they split their time between work and leisure.
And for true happiness, you need to set up shop in Otago or Southland, where 62 percent say they are satisfied with their work/life balance, compared to 49 percent in Auckland, and 40 percent in Wellington and Christchurch. Other regions where business operators enjoy a positive work/life balance are Bay of Plenty (54 percent satisfied) and Manawatu/Wanganui (52 percent satisfied).
MYOB NZ Sales Manager Business Division Scott Gardiner says the survey highlights a marked difference in the quality of life experienced by business owners up and down the country.
“Considering over a third of business operators told us they went into their own business to have greater flexibility, and 16 percent wanted more time to spend with family, a good work/life balance is a key measure of their success,” says Scott Gardiner.
“While everyone’s aspirations are different, for even the most driven business owner, finding some time to spend away from work is important to be able to relax and recharge. It seems that the further out of the cities, and the further South you go, the more likely you are to say you’ve got the balance about right.”
 
Best industries at either end of the spectrum
Although the rural lifestyle clearly suits agricultural business operators, with 54 percent saying they are happy with their work/life balance, they are beaten out for the title of happiest industry by the traditionally city-based finance and insurance sector.
“It’s hard to imagine a bigger contrast between the two industries where operators report the best work/life balance,” says Gardiner.
At the other end of the spectrum, those in the trades sector are the least happy with the balance they are able to achieve between work and leisure, with only 33 percent reporting they are satisfied, followed by the manufacturing industry on 40 percent, and retail and hospitality on 42 percent.
“These are all industries that have been playing catch-up in the last couple of years, with a long period of uneven recovery from the recession. As they are now hitting peak activity, many operators are likely to be working very hard to make the most of the current opportunities,” says Gardiner.
 
Getting better with age
For those just starting out in business and finding the demands of work all-encompassing, the research also highlights that things will get better over time; with the ability to achieve work/life balance improving markedly with age.
Thirty-five percent of ‘Generation Y’ business operators (those aged between 18 and 34) reported they were satisfied with their work/life balance, compared to 38 percent for ‘Gen X’ (35–49 years), 52 percent for the ‘Baby Boomers’ (50–69 years) and 74 percent for those over 70.
“Running your own business can be extremely demanding. But the concept of not spending all your time working in your business also includes finding ways to take time out altogether. Making time to enjoy life outside of business is one of the most important aspects of running a creative, dynamic and productive organisation,” says Gardiner.
“Any business operator looking to find more time, should take advantage of the wide range of cloud-based productivity tools and business solutions now available that can save a considerable amount of time-consuming compliance and administration work.”