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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
February 13, 2011

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Overworking can be kiss of death for relationships

The personal relationships of almost one in three people in the UK have suffered because of work pressures, according to a recent poll carried out by IOSH.

In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, the Institution questioned 2000 people to explore how a poor work-life balance can drive a wedge between partners. Of the 29 per cent who said they had been in a relationship adversely affected by a poor work-life balance, the two main problems were long working hours and high workloads.

Dr Luise Vassie, executive director of policy at IOSH, said: “The struggle to achieve a good work-life balance is an ever-growing issue in today’s society. It seems that too many of us are letting work take hold of our lives – and our home life is often suffering as a result.

“Of course, people are working harder than ever, but as our results show, too many are seeing their relationships outside of work suffer as a consequence. And this isn’t solely a problem for the employee; an unhappy worker is often an unproductive one.

Overall, some 60 per cent of survey respondents said their work-life balance was either very poor, poor, or could be better. Just 16 per cent said their employer had a well-being programme in place.

Said Luise Vassie: “An employee with a good work-life balance is more productive, more motivated, and less likely to quit. That’s why a good well-being programme makes perfect business sense.”

Prof Cary Cooper, an expert in the field of working-life quality, said: “IOSH’s poll ties in with the fact that the UK has the longest working hours in Europe. One of the main issues that lead to a poor work-life balance is bad management. There are managers out there who create a culture where people feel they cannot leave – they have to come early or stay late.

“Employers need to be open to flexible working hours to allow home-life and work-life to have a healthy balance. Saying that, it’s also down to the individual to make sure they organise their lives well and manage their workloads, avoiding working long hours.

“If people are experiencing a poor work-life balance they are not investing time with their partner, spouse, kids, friends or even families – and that is what causes a breakdown in these relationships.”

IOSH’s poll is part of its ongoing campaign to encourage companies to introduce well-being programmes or policies into the workplace.

View further information from IOSH on creating a well-being policy.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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