16 December 2015
Rural and Southern businesses best place for work life balance
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 per cent* of business operators working in rural New Zealand are
satisfied with their work/life balance, while only 45 per cent 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 per cent say they are satisfied with
their work/life balance, compared to 49 per cent in Auckland, and 40 per cent in Wellington and Christchurch. Other
regions where business operators enjoy a positive work/life balance are Bay of Plenty (54 per cent satisfied) and
Manawatu/Wanganui (52 per cent 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
“Considering over a third of business operators told us they went into their own business to have greater flexibility,
and 16 per cent wanted more time to spend with family, a good work/life balance is a key measure of their success,” says
“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 per cent 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 Mr 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 per cent reporting they are satisfied, followed by the manufacturing
industry on 40 per cent, and retail and hospitality on 42 per cent.
“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 Mr 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 per cent of ‘Generation Y’ business operators (those aged between 18 and 34) reported they were satisfied
with their work/life balance, compared to 38 per cent for ‘Gen X’ (35 – 49 years), 52 per cent 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 Scott 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
For MYOB product information, research results, business tips, discussions, client service and more visit the MYOB website
, or its blog
*All survey statistics presented are net figures – with the percentage of total dissatisfied respondents subtracted from
those reporting they are satisfied with their work/life balance.