Trouble at home

Trouble at home
Nearly one in three people in the UK have been in a relationship that has suffered because of work pressures, according to a poll released by a leading health and safety body today (Thursday 10 January 2011).

In the run up to Valentine’s Day, a poll of 2,000 people by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) explored how a poor work-life balance can drive a wedge between you and your partner. Of the 29 per cent who said they had been in a relationship adversely affected by a poor work-life balance, the two main problems were long working hours and high workloads. Dr Luise Vassie, Executive Director of Policy at IOSH, said: "The struggle to achieve a good work-life balance is an ever growing issue in today’s society. It seems that too many of us are letting work take hold of our lives – and our home life is often suffering as a result."

Of course, people are working harder than ever, but as our results show, too many are seeing their relationships outside of work suffer as a consequence. And this isn't solely a problem for the employee. An unhappy worker is often an unproductive one. "Wellbeing programmes are a great way for businesses to make sure their employees achieve a better work-life balance – helping to make their staff more resilient and productive."

Overall, some 60 percent of people surveyed said that said their work-life balance was either very poor, poor or could be better. But, only 16 per cent - one in six - of respondents said their employer had a wellbeing programme in place.Luise added: "An employee with a good work-life balance is more productive, more motivated and less likely to quit. That’s why a good wellbeing programme makes perfect business sense." Leading researcher in the field of quality working life, Professor Cary Cooper, said: "IOSH’s poll ties in with the fact that the UK has the longest working hours in Europe."

One of the main issues that lead to a poor work-life balance is bad management. There are managers out there who create a culture where people feel they cannot leave - they have to come early or stay late. "Employers need to be open to flexible working hours to allow home-life and work-life to have a healthy balance. Saying that, it’s also down to the individual to make sure they organise their lives well and manage their workloads, avoiding working long hours."

"If people are experiencing a poor work-life balance they are not investing time with their partner, spouse, kids, friends or even families – and that is what causes a breakdown in these relationships." IOSH’s poll is part of its ongoing campaign to encourage companies to introduce wellbeing programmes or policies into the workplace. Wellbeing is high on the Government agenda and, in these tough economic times, a wellbeing policy can make the difference for any company – making employees more resilient. Such a policy could include:

Flexible working hours (including working from home) - this can help staff to manage their work-life balance and make sure they remain productive
A longer lunch break for staff once a week to allow the employee to attend a gym or even meet their partner for lunch, for example
Discounts on gym membership, healthy eating options in the canteen and cycle storage.   

14 February 2011

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Created on: 14-Feb-11 11:31


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