Workplace inflexibility costs employers good staff

A long hours working culture in the UK is leading to increased levels of stress resulting in irritability, exhaustion and depression among working parents, research claims.

Nearly half (45%) of the 646 parents interviewed by the charity Working Families had no opportunities for flexible working.

The report, Time, Health and the Family: What Working Families Want, found that most parents thought that it was their responsibility to improve their work-life balance. Their solution was usually to look for another job that offered more flexibility.

The report also found that morale and productivity fell as a result of working long hours.

Respondents said the most important thing an employer could do to improve work-life balance was to encourage a change in business culture so that flexible working becomes more acceptable.

One of the authors of the report, Cary L Cooper of Lancaster University, said the message to employers from this research was that time is up on long hours working.

“They need to look closely at the culture in their organisations or risk losing the parents who work for them.

Far from leading to an effective workforce, working long hours leads to high levels of stress, ill health and decreased morale and productivity,” he said.

“Merely having flexible working policies is not sufficient if the dominant culture does not support their meaningful use.”

For details of the research go to Working Families>>

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