The Staff Union  works to have a better balance between the work and the life of staff members.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), one of the leading British organisations in the development and management of people, defines work/life balance as follows:

'a state where an individual manages real or potential conflict between different demands on his or her time and energy in a way that satisfies his or her needs for wellbeing and self-fulfilment'.

Staff wellbeing is defined as:

' creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows an employee to flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organisation'.

The business case for work/life balance has been exhaustively made, especially in the corporate world, but a small recap is useful. In the corporate world, increased balance between work and personal life through flexible working arrangements has shown results in improved financial performance and staff productivity, increased sales value and improved quality of production or service because it has generated greater staff engagement and commitment.

The business case for the UN system does not revolve around a financial bottom line or a profit margin as it does in the corporate world. But issues such as client satisfaction, effective business processes, productivity and creativity are very important for the success and impact of the UN and can be measured. In today's world of limited aid budgets and large numbers of active and very effective players in the area of humanitarian aid, development and emergency relief, it is key that the UN remain in the fore of best performers. So improving work life balance should not only be used to increase employee productivity, but also to manage the limited financial and human resources in the most efficient manner and be accountable to clients and donors for providing the best service possible.

Work/Life balance policies fall into three categories:

A. Policies on flexibility of time:

  • flexi-time,
  • compressed work week,
  • part-time work,
  • job sharing,
  • parental leave (maternal, paternal, adoption, for breastfeeding),
  • special leave (compassionate leave, home leave, (un)certified sick leave, and leave with or without pay)
  • compensation for overtime (either in money or in time off).

B. Policies on flexibility of location:

  • telecommuting

C. Policies that support work/life balance in general:

  • rest & recuperation,
  • basic security training,
  • pandemic preparedness,
  • staff support (ombudsperson, counsellor, staff outreach, stress management, workplace- and sexual harassment prevention initiatives, workplace initiatives),
  • career development,
  • support for moving to a new duty station,
  • family events, on- or off-site childcare facilities,
  • allowance for single mothers or breastfeeding mothers travelling with their child,
  • health campaigns,
  • on- or off-site gyms,
  • UN Cares and/or HIV in the Workplace programmes.


©2021 UNOV Staff Union