Parents take responsibility for work-life balance issues

Working parents think they are chiefly responsible for their work-life balance, rather than their employers or the government, according to new research.

Almost half of those interviewed for What Working Families Want said they were mostly responsible for balancing work and home priorities themselves.

Only 18% of the 624 people surveyed by the charity Working Families said their employers should be primarily responsible for making sure that work does not conflict with family life.

Less than 13% of respondents laid the responsibility at the door of the government.

However, the research also showed that resentment towards employers among working parents grew markedly when flexible working was not offered.

While 13% of those surveyed who have the opportunity to work at home said they felt some resentment towards their employers for their unsatisfactory work-life balance, this rose to 31% for those who were offered no flexibility.

The report found that a long-hours work culture was ingrained in the UK and, while most staff did not hold employers responsible, it had serious adverse affects on working parents.

Almost half of respondents (49%) said long hours affect their morale to some extent, while 23% said their morale had dropped seriously.

Productivity is also being hit by long hours. Most (53%) said it damaged their productivity to some extent and 10% said it was affected to a great extent.

Dominic Johnson, director of employee relations and diversity at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which sponsored the survey, said employees should work smarter, not longer.

“This timely report shows just how important this is, by highlighting the corrosive effect of a long-hours culture on parents and carers,” he said.
The most important thing employers can do to help people with work-life balance problems is to change company culture so that a more acceptable work-life balance can be sustained, the survey found.

For more on the business case for looking after working parents, go to

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