2018 Modern Families Index
From a report by Working Families and Bright Horizons
A significant proportion of UK’s working parents are struggling to cope with the strain of long work hours – and deliberately stalling and downshifting their careers to reverse the negative impact it is having on family life, according to the recently published 2018 Modern Families Index.
According to the study, many parents feel obliged to work far over their contracted hours due to increasingly intense workloads or because they feel it is expected of them.
30%-40% of parents are putting in extra hours and 10% are working 20% or more hours more each week than contracted for.
Nearly half (47%) of respondents acknowledge that work affects their ability to spend time together as a family. Britain’s long hours culture is also having a profound impact on personal wellbeing, and is listed as a direct cause of tension at home.
For nearly two in five parents, work prevents them from being able to say goodnight to their children often or all the time; and for more than two in five parents, work prevents them being able to help their children with their homework.
More than a quarter of parents reported that their work leads to arguments with their partner.
Working overtime was also linked to eating less healthily for 38% of respondents and doing limited exercise for 42%.
Unsurprisingly, working parents are left feeling overwhelmed by the increasing demands of the modern workplace – a third said they feel burnt out all or most of the time, with more than half identifying work as their main cause of burnout.
However, parents are taking significant action to address this. When asked, as part of the study, what they have already changed in their working life for family reasons:
Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) reported they have deliberately stalled their careers;
More than 1 in 10 (11%) have refused a new job and;
1 in 10 have rejected a promotion because of the limited work life balance opportunities.
The right to request flexible working – introduced to enable those in work to better balance the demands of work and home life – hasn’t made the difference envisaged for many parents because they are unable to access it (46% of parents, the majority of whom would like to, did not work flexibly; and fewer than half – 44% – felt that flexible working was a genuine option for mothers and fathers in their workplace).
Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families, said, “For mothers and for fathers, becoming a parent looks like a bad career move. Because the norm for people who want to get ahead is still to show up early, leave late and be on email out of hours – and parents have less time to give, putting them at a disadvantage. Parents are responding to the pressures on them by acting – deliberately stalling and downshifting their careers."
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From a report by Working Families and Bright Horiz, 28/02/2018