REMAINING PROFESSIONAL: Bringing up personal problems that do not matter to your work could add to your stress.  PICTURE: GALLO IMAGES/THINKSTOCK

MORE than two-thirds of professionals participating in a global survey — including South Africans — believe they can balance a successful career and a full life outside work.

At least 52% said they have turned down a job offer that would have affected their existing work-life balance. In South Africa the figure was 67%.

The Accenture survey shows employers in at least five sectors of the economy how their employees define success. The survey indicates that a work-life balance supercedes money and recognition.

More than 4,000 men and women in 33 countries including South Africa, India, Italy and Germany participated in the survey which was conducted in November. Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company with clients in the financial services, resources, retail manufacturing, health and public services, and communications and media sectors.

Accenture SA human resources director Nicky Moses said it was important for companies to realise employees required flexibility in their work schedules and that the measure of performance should focus on outcomes and not on how many hours an employee spent in the office. She said the survey showed the extend to which the workplace had changed and acted as a reminder to employers that they should treat their employees as whole beings and not as mere workers.

More than three quarters (78%) of the participants agreed that technology enabled them to be more flexible with their schedules, with 80% saying having flexibility in their work schedule was extremely or very important to the work-life balance.

However, many felt that technology brought work into their personal lives with the vast majority (70%) saying they checked their e-mail occasionally during holidays, 44% caught up on some work during their "paid off time", and 35% worked on matters that required no distractions.

Only 40% of respondents described themselves as "workaholics". However, 44% said it was very important to have sufficient time to disconnect from work and 31% said it was extremely important. Only 3% said it was not important at all.

According to the study, 26% of respondents said missing a flight for a holiday was far worse than losing their smartphones, catching a cold or missing a flight for work.