The work-life-family balance is in distress once more, a new report finds.
Research from the Scottish Widows’ think tank, the Centre for the Modern Family has found that just a third of UK families claim to have a healthy ‘work family balance’.
Those of us in work spend almost three times longer working than with family, and one in four feel they are constantly on call for work, even when at home.
The research found that 36 per cent of us report a healthy ‘work family balance’, while 28 per cent of those who claim to have work-heavy lives feel that their productivity is lower at work.
The report highlights the impact that always being on call can have on working parents. More than a third of workers with dependent children claim that their ‘work family balance’ is skewed towards work.
42 per cent of those surveyed say that they or their partner miss putting the children to bed or do not see them before leaving for work in the morning. Almost half do not have time to prepare or eat meals with the family .
The report fuond that increased flexibility at work was the most popular way to help address the ‘work family balance’ issue. 60 per cent of UK workers are convinced that flexible working hours would be beneficial to them. Almost half say that the ability to travel easily to and from work would help. Despite this, only 34 per cent of employees work in an environment where flexible shift patterns are offered.
Anita Frew, chair of the Centre for the Modern Family said: “The concept of ‘work family balance’ is not new, but the pace of recent technological advancement has created a constant connection between workers and the workplace, as we face a growing expectation to always be switched on – whether in our place of work, at home with our families, or travelling between the two.
“UK workers are clearly struggling to find a happy equilibrium between work and family life, with working parents feeling the strain most acutely. At the same time, it is clear that employers could be doing more to support their workers to juggle the pressures of work and family.
“It’s time to rethink traditional ways of working and move towards a more agile approach. This will not only help employees forge a better work family balance, but to improve productivity, returning benefit to employers. We need to show businesses and government that the nation’s ‘work family balance’ has see-sawed too far in the direction of work. Together, a new, relevant approach must be found to help restore our equilibrium.”
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