Work-life balance improves and returns to pre-crisis levels in Spain, study shows

21 Jun 2018

    • Improvements in work-life balance were seen in the social and business fields, where progress was made regarding diversity in the workplace and management of work-life balance
    • The Work-Life Balance Barometer - efr Index, ran in partnership with Cepsa, rose by 3.2 points between 2015 and 2017
    • Despite these data, peoples' perception of the evolution of work-life balance continues to be negative

Fundación Másfamilia, in partnership with Cepsa, today presented the results of the second edition of the Work-Life Balance Barometer for Spain - efr Index, a study carried out to identify and assess the current situation regarding the balance of personal, family and work life in our country. To do this over 90 social and business indicators related to work-life balance were analyzed in order to produce a global index allowing us to analyze its evolution from 2015 to 2017.

The main conclusion of this second edition was that work-life balance in Spain is improving and has been restored to pre-crisis levels. In a global analysis over time, from 2008 to 2017, a widespread recovery was seen in both the efr Index and its respective sub-indices.

To this end, the data evaluated by Fundación Másfamilia revealed an increase of 3.2 points compared to last year's Barometer.

According to the data of the Barometer-efr Index, improvements have been seen at both a social and business level. With regards to the social aspect, there was a significant increase in all indicators, with equal opportunities standing out especially with an improvement of more than 12 points due to an increase of women studying technical degrees and the ratio of hours men and women devote to housework.

In the business field there were also improvements, although not as significant as in the previous edition. There was a rise in indicators such as management of work-life balance and diversity in the workplace (with an increase of five points in both cases); however there was a slight decrease in others such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate reputation or competitiveness and productivity.

Despite the fact that the global analysis of social and business indicators revealed a positive result, peoples’ perception of the evolution of work-life balance in Spain during the 2015-2017 period continued to be negative. Indeed, the peoples’ perception indicator dropped in this edition by over 20 points.

With regard to the situation in Spain compared to other European Union countries the conclusions are the same and a significant fall was seen, placing our country far behind the European average in this regard.

The event was opened by Secretary of State for Social Services, María Pilar Díaz López. She said: “Work-life balance represents a cultural change and a way in understanding time and the breakdown in non-working tasks between men and women, a change that places everybody’s time as a right for every individual.” To this end, she highlighted the work of initiatives like the Barometer - efr Index. “We must commit to providing social and business structures that develop a better future. This is a job for everyone to consolidate a society where we find a balance between our work and professional lives through initiatives like this that promote a change in the work and social model towards more rational and human hours that suit the needs of all people, men and women.”

“The overall progress reflected by the results of the barometer indicate that we are going in the right direction. Companies in our country have made significant steps to make progress in achieving work-life balance, but the data on social perception indicate that there is still a long way to go. At Fundación Másfamilia we reiterate our commitment to reversing this situation, and to making the positive effects of work-life balance already perceived in efr companies also transcend to society as a whole,” said Roberto Martínez, Chairman of Iniciativa efr and Fundación Másfamilia.

Carlos Morán, Head of Human Resources and Organization at Cepsa, said: “With the improvement of the barometer data, we can see that work-family balance measures do work, which encourages us to continue working along these lines, as we are convinced that investing in work-life balance means investing in satisfaction, motivation, engagement, reputation, and therefore, in efficiency at all levels within organizations.”

How the Work-Life Balance Barometer – efr Index is built
Continuing with the methodology started last year, all the variants of the 91 indicators included in the Work-Life Balance Barometer - efr Index are introduced with the same procedures for calculation and analysis as in the previous edition. As such we have been able to determine the aggregated evolution of these with a view to making all the necessary comparisons.

The full report regarding design, construction and evolution of the efr Index, sub-indexes, supra-indicators and indicators can be viewed on the website This report contains all the data regarding the evolution of each of these, as well as the different criteria adopted for the calculation, evolution and weighting. These criteria have been subjected to a process of external verification carried out by AENOR, during the month of June 2018.

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Participants at the presentation of the II Work-life balance Barometer for Spain
  • Participants at the presentation of the II Work-life balance Barometer for Spain
  • EFR