A major Canadian study by Carleton University's Linda Duxbury and Christopher Higgins at Western University, their third on work-life balance in two decades, has found that work demands have risen, flexible work arrangement are rare and career mobility is an issue.
“Stress levels have gone up and life satisfaction has gone down,’’ said Duxbury. “Email use has gone up, as have work demands. There are more employees balancing work, elder care and childcare. But despite the talk, many companies have not made progress in the area of work-life balance and employee well-being.
“The bottom line is that many of the employees in our sample were having real difficulties balancing competing work and family demands.’’
The study examined work-life experiences of 25,000 Canadians who were employed full time in 71 public, private and not-for-profit organizations across all provinces and territories between June 2011 and June 2012. Two-thirds of survey respondents had incomes of $60,000 or more a year and two-thirds were parents.
Previous studies were conducted in 1991 and 2001.
“It is fascinating to see what has changed over time and what hasn’t,’’ said Duxbury.
Among the findings:
There are a lot of things that employers can do to help minimize the stress of workers, said Duxbury, including offering more flexibility in terms of when or where people do their work.
“The use of alternative work arrangements such as flex-time has actually declined since 2001,’’ she said, “while hours of work has increased. Absenteeism is up and employee mental health has declined.’’
Women are also still working a “double shift,’’ expending more energy at home than male counterparts and almost the same amount of energy at work. They are also more likely than men to devote a lot of energy to the parent and home maintenance roles.
A full copy of the 2012 work-life report and summaries can be found here:
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