Women are more engaged at work than men and there is no difference between parents and non-parents regarding work commitment, a new study on the impact of work on the home and vice versa has shown.
The ‘Happy Homes Productive Workplaces’ report also shows that work stress is more damaging to relationships at home than home stress is to work engagement. The study by the OnePlus One relationships research charity and Working Families suggests employers should recognise how the two spheres impact on each other and how reducing work stress can create a virtuous circle, bolstering home relationships which can help employees through difficult times in the workplace.
The research is based on a survey of over 2,000 employees and shows 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, says the research.
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.
Penny Mansfield, Director of OnePlusOne says “Employers are not responsible for creating happy homes, but as this research shows happy homes are a hidden asset and worth investing in. How? At the very least, employers need to organise and manage work in ways that don’t put employees’ relationships in jeopardy. But the smart approach would be to recognise that the quality of employees’ relationships is not only protective for employees at times of high work stress, but also a competence that can enhance work and customer relationships, the ability to attract and retain creative and committed employees and improve business performance.”
Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families said: “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. 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. The better you support all your people at home, the better they will perform for you at work.”
OnePlusOne and Working Families say they want to bring about a culture change and encourage employers to support staff well-being and strengthen their family relationships. The next stage of the Happy Homes Productive Workplaces project is to collate the business case for employers supporting employee relationships, and to develop and trial policies and procedures for employers to put in place.