Do We Live to Work or Work to Live?


Getting the right balance between work and leisure is important in determining the well-being of the nation. This is the issue explored in the latest findings from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Measuring National Well-being programme, outlined in a web article Measuring National Wellbeing -What we do.

The article includes an examination of work and leisure activities and the concept of obtaining the best possible lifestyle balance for each individual. These were often raised during the nationwide debate on national well-being. The debate identified the things that matter to UK citizens and which they want to see reflected in policy and in business and individual decisions.

Key points in the research published by ONS include:

  • Almost one in two (48.4 per cent) of adults aged 16 and over in Great Britain report a relatively low satisfaction with their work-life balance
  • Approaching two in three (62.6 per cent) of all adults aged 16 and over respondents in the UK report that they are somewhat, mostly or completely satisfied with the amount of leisure time they had
  • Just over half (54.1 per cent) of adults aged 16 or over in England had participated in some type of sport or physical activity in the four weeks before they were interviewed in the DCMS Taking Part survey.

The first phase of the ONS programme was the national debate. ONS held 175 events, involving around 7,250 people. In total, including on-line, the debate generated 34,000 responses, some of which were from organisations and groups representing thousands more.

The debate helped ONS identify the key areas that matter most to the public, such as health, education and employment. This was used to produce the first set of domains and measures for national well-being published for consultation between October 2011 and January 2012. These will be improved progressively and consulted upon, drawing on regular updates on the subjective well-being survey results and analyses of domains of well-being, such as that just published.