Pressure at work is damaging our relationships, say Dumfries and Galloway charity Relationships Scotland, who are now calling for employers to offer flexible working and relationship support.
A spokesman for the charity said: “Research released today by Relationships Scotland and Relate has lifted the lid on the immense pressure felt by many employees to prioritise work ahead of their relationships. Scottish workers are feeling the effects of this, 40 per cent of those polled believe their bosses think that the hardest workers put their work ahead of their family life. Across the UK, one in three employees say their boss thinks the ideal employee is available 24 hours a day.
“The Labour of Love or Love vs Labour report shows that employees struggling to balance work and family are more likely to become ill, perform less well and resign; but those satisfied with work and work-life balance are more likely to perform better and be more productive. The report calls for employers to aspire to offer flexible working arrangements as default and to provide free relationship support as part of Employee Assistance Programmes. The research reveals that Relationship Counsellors believe work-life balance is the third biggest strain on couple relationships - after affairs and not understanding each other, and ahead of money worries and sex drive.
“As well as the impact of work pressures on relationships at home, the report also looks at workplace relationships with colleagues and bosses. Worryingly, the study reveals an undercurrent of bullying, with 12 per cent of employees saying that their boss behaves in an intimidating way towards them. But the good news is that 63 per cent of employees say they have a good relationship with their boss and three quarters of employees 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 Relationships Scotland and Relate. Over 5000 UK adults were surveyed as part of The Way We Are Now study, providing a unique window into the current state of the nation’s relationships.”
John Dougan, Manager of Relationships Scotland Dumfries and Galloway, added: “What we see in the counselling and mediation room supports the findings of this research: the influence of work spilling over at home is usually more detrimental to our relationships than the influence of stress from home at work. This research shows that when our work and family life are in conflict, both can suffer. Employers should consider organising work in ways that do not undermine employees’ relationships, in particular we would like to see more flexible working opportunities for both mums and dads.”