New research has highlighted the pressure felt by UK employees to prioritise work ahead of relationships. One in three workers (33%) say their boss thinks work should come before family life, and a third (33%) also say their employer thinks the ideal employee should be available 24 hours a day.
The new report from Relate and Relationships Scotland, concludes that overworked employees’ relationships suffer as the build-up of stress at work takes its toll. The Labour of Love or Love vs Labour report calls for employers to offer flexible working arrangements and to provide free relationship support as part of Employee Assistance Programmes. According to Relate, employees struggling to balance work and family are more likely to become ill, perform less well and resign.
Sir Cary Cooper CBE, Manchester University’s Professor and President of Relate said, “as this study highlights, work-life balance in this country is shockingly poor and this is hugely damaging for our relationships and overall wellbeing – as well as for productivity. Employers need to take more responsibility for the pressure that stress and lack of work-life balance can put on relationships at home.”
The research also found that:
- 33% of employees say their employer thinks work should be the top priority in their lives.
- 30% of employees say they feel pressured to work by their manager even when they are ill.
- 21% of employees say attending to care responsibilities is frowned upon at work.
- 27% of employees say they work longer hours than they would choose and this is damaging their physical or mental wellbeing.
- 25% of employees agree that stress at home adversely affects them at work.
- 43% of employees say they would like their employer to offer relationship support.
- Relationship counsellors believe work-life balance is the third biggest strain on couple relationships
As well as the impact of work pressures on relationships at home, the report also looks at workplace relationships with colleagues and bosses. The study revealed a suggestion of bullying, with 12 per cent of employees saying that their boss behaves in an intimidating way towards them. With this in mind, 63 per cent of employees did say that they have a good relationship with their boss and three quarters of employees (75%) reported good relationships with colleagues.
Labour of Love or Love vs Labour is the first in a series of reports from a major piece of research by Relate and Relationships Scotland. Over 5000 UK adults were surveyed as part of The Way We Are Now study.
To read the report in full, please visit https://www.relate.org.uk/policy-campaigns/publications/labour-love-or-love-vs-labour