Life balance

All practices can be found in detail in Life balance: work, care, rest, and personal time (Local and Regional Time Agenda, topic 1, March 2022)

Adapting our rhythms

Adapting our rhythms

“Adapting our rhythms” is a system to adapt working conditions in the MEL to external events that impact the work environment.

This policy allows employees to telework or modify their working hours (shift, reduction) during foreseeable external events, for example, the 2018 strike (25 days between April and June 2018) and match days during the European Football Championship of 2016. This system is being reproduced to account for exceptional weather conditions (frost, heatwave,
snow, pollution peaks) and events affecting travel.

Eurometropolis of Lille

Balancing personal and professional life

Balancing personal and professional life

The main objective is to improve working conditions and make it easier for people to balance work and life. This measure is aimed in particular at women working atypical hours and
bringing up their children alone, who have
difficulties securing childcare and sometimes incur significant costs doing so. This measure is part of ongoing efforts to reduce precarious employment, promote gender equality and reconcile private and professional life.

Two projects have been set up by the Human Resources Department to improve employees’ work-life balance.

  1. Introduction of a benefit for staff working atypical hours (weekends, public holidays, before 8am and after 6pm), subject to means testing. Delivery of pre-financed vouchers covering up to €5 per hour of care for children 12 and under.
  2. Telework trial (regular, occasional or exceptional) from 2015.


Smart working and flexibility in the municipal administration

Smart working and flexibility in the municipal administration

The Municipality of Bolzano has made work-life balance one of the most important objectives of its employee policies. Since 1995, many instruments have been introduced to improve work-life balance, such as flexible working hours, part-time work and child and elderly care leave. During this time, however, it has been observed that it is mainly female employees who change their working hours to cope with family commitments. Part-time work is not an optimal solution because then pensions are also reduced.Smart working, on the other hand, is a good solution for work-life balance that has been very much appreciated during the healthcrisis.

Smart working, which became available in November 2021, can be requested by all employees with work that can be performed away from the office. Employees and their managers agree on new working hours with a maximum of two days a week of smart working. Employees has a daily time slot in which they can be contacted. For the rest of the day they can work when it is most convenient for them.


Fostering co-responsible reconciliation through public procurement

Fostering co-responsible reconciliation through public procurement

The SPASER is the local tool that outlines the community’s main policy orientations in terms of sustainable public purchasing, and the aim of this policy is to include procurement clauses in municipal contracts to encourage awarded suppliers to adopt work-life balance measures. The governance part includes several areas, ranging from the development of sourcing to the technical and political monitoring of its implementation and evaluation, and including communication.

In regards to external communication, local and national dissemination was ensured as soon as the plan was adopted; as regards internal communication, it is essential that the
departments and services take ownership of the plan’s content.

Some participated in its drafting and are driving forces in this area; others are keen to increase their skills so that purchasers, project managers and finance officers can give concrete expression to the principles that structure the plan. In-depth and regular exchanges are held between the local authority’s purchasing department and these departments in order to ensure that everyone can successfully take ownership of its content.


Co-responsibility workshops

Co-responsibility workshops

The policy is part of an effort to raise awareness about care and time use in municipalities. Distinct workshops seek to raise awareness and promote reflection and discussion about care and support for developing and deploying community initiatives and local networks so that society can work towards a new, democratised system of care. These workshops are intended for organisations and entities keen to approach the conceptual and practical framework of care within organisations. The workshop offers chances learn and reflect on care and time use as well as methodologies to spark transformation at organisation level to make care and time use more democratic, taking account of the principles of care within the organisation.Other workshops aim specifically to promote awareness about co-responsibility in care and encourage reflection about the role of men.

The Barcelona Provincial Council offers these workshops to municipalities, which in turn offer them to local organisations and citizens, so we can reach distinct corners of Barcelona province, the majority of them small and medium municipalities.

Barcelona Provincial Council

Barcelona Business Network for new working time arrangements

Barcelona Business Network for New Working Time Arrangements (Xarxa d’Empreses NUST)

The network brings together HR managers and executives from more than 130 organisations and companies in every sector and of every size and experience level: from those with significant experience to those that are just starting to work on this issue. It raises awareness about the benefits of better working time arrangements by enlisting the power of experience and narratives from companies about:

  • Increasing productivity
  • Attracting and retaining the right
  • Promoting gender equality
  • Promoting health and safety
  • Improving work-life balance
  • Improving job satisfaction and commitment to the organisation
  • Support change through learning opportunities. Help managers develop and implement better working time arrangements through:
    • Information exchange
    • Good practices dissemination
    • Workshops Mentoring and peer- to-peer support


Promoting co-responsibility at home

Promoting co-responsibility at home

The Department of Gender Policies organises actions to promote co-responsibility at home. These actions aim to make domestic work more visible and ensure that housework such as cleaning, shopping, ironing, care for children and the elderly, etc. is distributed so that free time is more evenly distributed among women and men. These actions include:

  • “Share to enjoy”, an exhibition shown in several of the city’s libraries and civic centres. In addition, schools, associations and entities can request the exhibition for temporary display.
  • “Get involved at home, you win!”, a workshop activity led by the Educational Guide in collaboration with the Education Service.
  • The city’s various public and subsidised schools can request this workshop, geared towards primary school students, by contacting the Gender Policy Service. Puzzles and calendars are periodically printed in poster format for schools and children’s leisure


Occupying the lunch break

Occupying the lunch break

Based on these objectives, the city of Brive has set up specific cultural activities during lunchtime. The project consisted of organising “small concerts” in the city centre, with duration calibrated to the lunch break, and which could be attended while eating a sandwich.

These concerts can be set up and taken down quickly in halls, with a tailor-made programme that encourages conviviality.



Concilia (free childcare service)

Concilia offers childcare for one- to twelve-year-olds in nine Barcelona locations in the neighbourhoods of the Neighbourhood Plan. It opens outside school hours every day from
Monday to Saturday (week-day afternoons and all day Saturday). Potential users can book the
service online 48 hours in advance, or on site. Families need only register on the app once, providing all the required legal documentation, after which they can request the service as many times as they wish. The Concilia team confirms or rejects each petition by phone. Priority is given to single-parent female families, gender violence survivors, or families without a community network that can support them.



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