Young Gen Y happy with work-life, Gen X are a miserable lot

It is official, the most “miserable” lot of business operators are found among the Gen X while the Gen Y babies and the oldies seem to have the most grip on how to find work-life balance, and in the process happiness.

According to MYOB’s business monitor survey on work-life balance, 52% of the baby boomers surveyed report a good work-life balance. The happiest operators in the study were the 65+ age group, with 69% of those survey being satisfied.

Startup operators are the most miserable lot, with less than half (41%) of the respondents being satisfied with balance between work and life. Things do get better as the company moves into the two to five-year old stage when operators find it easier to achieve balance.

The MYOB study surveyed over 1000 business owners and operators across New Zealand.

MYOB New Zealand sales manager Scott Gardiner says work/life balance is important for businesses to measure its success.

“The primary drive for the majority of our SME business owners and operators is not revenue growth and expansion [but] most get into business to pursue a passion or create something they really enjoy.”

He adds that even the most ambitious business owner needs to find some way to enjoy other aspects of life in order to build up the reserves of energy and creativity you need to run a successful business.

Survey highlights

  • New Zealand's youngest and oldest business operators are the happiest
  • The more staff businesses take on, the harder it is for operators to achieve work/life balance
  • The more revenue they earn, the less happy business operators are with their work/life balance
  • Sole traders (0 employees) report the best work/life balance, with 55% satisfied and 24% dissatisfied.

Higher-earning businesses, with between $200,000 and $999,000 annual revenue, make it harder for the operator to enjoy a satisfying work/life balance (47%), while operators of businesses earning between $1 - $5 million are least likely to find time to enjoy life (39% satisfaction).

On an industry basis, property and professional sector (56% satisfied, 23% dissatisfied) and the finance and insurance business (53% satisfied and 21% dissatisfied) are happiest with their work/life balance.

Those in the logistics industry (47% satisfied, 38% dissatisfied) are significantly less happy than other sectors, followed by those working long hours in retail and hospitality (44% satisfied, 29% dissatisfied).

Gardiner says that business owners and operators need to be doing things more efficiently, to not take on tasks they don’t need to, and use systems to take care of time-consuming tasks.

He says that “even the most ambitious business owner needs to find some way to enjoy other aspects of life in order to build up the reserves of energy and creativity you need to run a successful business”.

For more on work-life balance

Idealog on Working smarter not harder 

Forbes on how to achieve professional dreams without sacrificing the personal things that matter

Take a quiz, see how well you score on work-life balance