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Pressures of work damaging relationships with family, survey finds

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Call for employers to offer flexible working arrangements to ease stress on staff

Work pressures are damaging family relationships, according to a new report.

The survey, for counselling services Relationships Scotland and Relate, found 40% of people believed employers think that the hardest workers put their work ahead of their family life.

One in three said their boss thinks the ideal employee is available 24 hours a day, while 30% feel managers put pressure on them to work when they are ill.

The report shows that employees struggling to balance work and family are more likely to become unwell, perform less well and even resign from their job.

This report reminds us again of the need to value and prioritise the relationships that we have with those around us

Those satisfied with their work-life balance, meanwhile, were likely to perform better and be more productive.

The research found work pressures was the third biggest strain on relationships, after affairs and not understanding each other, and ahead of money worries and sex drive.

Employers are now being called on to offer flexible working arrangements as default and to provide free relationship support for under-pressure workers.

Stuart Valentine, chief executive of Relationships Scotland, said: “For many people, almost half of our waking life is spent at work, or travelling to and from work, and there is an inescapable link between our overall wellbeing and happiness and the quality of our working life.

“This report reminds us again of the need to value and prioritise the relationships that we have with those around us. By doing so, we can become happier, more satisfied and indeed more productive people.”

Jonathan Tait, 38, from Edinburgh, recently changed career from the music industry so he and his wife could have children.

Now six months into his traineeship as a solicitor, he and his wife share childcare for their two young children.

Mr Tait said: “A lot of my time was spent travelling, dealing with day to day workload, attending different sites, meeting with colleagues, as well as dealing with my own consultancy clients.

“Now, although I am still active in the music business to an extent, I’m able to build a proper family routine. My wife and I concentrated on building our careers and had always planned to have our children a little later and now is the time to reap the rewards.”

The report also looked at workplace relationships with colleagues and bosses, revealing one in eight workers felt their boss behaved in an intimidating manner towards them.

However, 63% of employees say they have a good relationship with their boss and three quarters reported good relationships with colleagues.