Results revealed for designMENA work/life balance survey

Annual leave

According to survey results, designers and architects are able to take all their annual leave days; however 50% said they are expected to respond to work requests while on holiday.

As is expected, senior management is the demographic who find it most difficult to switch off from work, with 73% responding to work requests on holidays.

Results show that employees at smaller firms find it more difficult to delegate work when on holiday compared to those working in larger firms (50+ employees).

Some 61% of small firm employees said they are expected to work when on leave, compared to the 40% who work at larger companies.

A majority of the managers we spoke to following the survey results said they only expected employees to be on call or email if there is an emergency.

Thorsen said: “Seniors, project directors and principals are typically available to respond to any urgent matters depending on where they are travelling. Staff regularly check in on their projects when on leave but it’s not expected.”

Job satisfaction

Satisfaction levels appear to be lower for employees in large firms, with 72% stating that their work life infringes upon their home life, compared to 59% of respondents at smaller companies. This rises to 75% among architects, compared to 65% for interior designers.

Choucair commented that overall, work-life balance is difficult to attain. “Work-life balance can often seem like a myth, especially because the design market, client demands and today’s technology has made us accessible and reachable around the clock,” he said.

He also added that it is even more difficult working in a creative field than with other disciplines.

“Brilliant ideas can come at any time of the day regardless of what we are doing; so we do end up unconsciously carrying our work home with us,” he said.

On average, 48% of designers said they are satisfied with their overall work-life balance.

Interestingly, 45% of large firm employees reported being satisfied with their work-life balance, slightly lower than those working in smaller companies at 53%.

About one third said they were either somewhat or very dissatisfied with their work-life balance.

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