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While many employers take the view that they have no part to play in employees’ personal lives, new research undertaken by the relationships research charity OnePlusOne and the work-life balance charity Working Families, suggests that they should, as people’s lives at home and at work have a significant impact on each other.
The key finding of the ‘Happy Homes Productive Workplaces’ report, based on a survey of over 2000 employees, is that high levels of relationship quality are associated with higher work engagement, and vice versa. This goes against the common assumption that work and home are almost inevitably in conflict.
Beyond making the case for flexible working the research produces new findings and challenges some stereotypes:
• There is a cycle effect – where work pressures affect relationship quality and relationship quality affects work engagement.
• The impact of work stress on home life is stronger than the impact of home stress on work engagement.
• Women are more engaged at work than men
• Parents are no less engaged at work than non-parents
“This research shows that when work has a negative impact on employees’ personal lives, it creates a feedback-loop that also reduces their engagement at work. It also busts the myth that family responsibilities mean reduced work performance,” said Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families.
“There is no difference in Work Engagement between parents and non-parents, and women are more engaged than men. So it is vital for employers to be alert to signs of stress, presenteeism, and long-working hours, and ensure that work is well organised," she added. "The better you support all your people at home, the better they will perform for you at work.”