Negotiating the demands of work and home life is a familiar struggle for working adults. Many of us have felt stressed or tired upon returning home from work, been late to work because of commitments at home, or had to cancel a personal appointment because work was busy. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 56% of working moms and 50% of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance work and family responsibilities. Furthermore, although much attention is focused on working parents in particular, conflict between work and home life occurs for any worker who has demands stemming from providing support to other family members, pets, self-care activities, and other commitments. October is National Work & Family Month , which provides us all with an opportunity to think about how family-friendly policies and work-life benefits can help alleviate the stresses of working and maintaining a healthy life outside work.
Fors Marsh Group joins other employers concerned with the impact of work-family conflict by offering paid parental leave, dependent care flexible spending accounts, flexible schedules, opportunities for community involvement, and wellness programs at work. We also engage in research devoted to understanding the antecedents of work-family conflict and potential protective factors that facilitate worker well-being despite the demands associated with the world of work. One ongoing effort at Fors Marsh Group seeks to develop a comprehensive set of measures to assess employee health and climate on an annual basis. Results from this survey are revealed to staff each year and steps are taken to address the concerns surrounding family, health and work-life balance. Employees have the opportunity to provide comments and suggestions that make our company more family-friendly.
FMG studies have also evaluated the impact of other factors at work and at home, including social support, coping, hours at work or at home, and positive framing, which involves finding an alternative way of viewing an idea or event (for example, a difficult task viewed as a challenge). Whether a study focuses on worker health and well-being generally or specific aspects of work life, it is important to take a constructive focus, thinking about how negative processes can be mitigated or how positive effects can be encouraged. However you observe National Work and Family Month, whether it is with a guest speaker or brainstorming and implementing programs that support work-family balance, think about the part you play in shaping work-family culture at your workplace.
If you have yet to observe National Work and Family Month, visit the National Work & Family website for a wealth of information, tools and resources to use, videos and training.