Ayrshire charities to challenge employers

Pressure at work is damaging our relationships, say Ayrshire charities who are calling for employers to offer flexible working and more support.

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% of those polled believe their bosses think that the hardest workers put their work ahead of their family life.

Across the UK, 1 in 3 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.

Rachel Smillie, Manager of Relationships Scotland Couple Counselling Ayrshire, said: “What we see in the counselling 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.

“Supporting staff to effectively balance work and home life benefits both employer and employee.

“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.”

Brian McGlynn, Manager of Relationships Scotland Family Mediation West of Scotland, said: “Parents report the strain of juggling family-life with working life during mediation sessions all too often. For parents who are separated or divorced, this stress can become even more pronounced.

“This research shows that when our work and family life are in conflict, both can suffer.

“We would love to see more employers offering relationship support as an employee benefit.”

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.