Work-family conflict is increasingly common among U.S. workers, with about 70 percent reporting struggles balancing work and non-work obligations.
A new study by University of Minnesota sociologists Erin L. Kelly, Phyllis Moen, Wen Fan, and interdisciplinary collaborators from across the country, shows that workplaces can change to increase flexibility, provide more support from supervisors, and reduce work-family conflict.
The study, titled, "Changing Work and Work-Family Conflict: Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network," was published by the American Sociological Review online today and is scheduled to appear in the June print edition of the journal. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded the research.
Using a sample of nearly 700 employees from an information technology department of a large Fortune 500 corporation, the research team gave half of the group greater control over when and where they worked, as well as increased supervisor support for their personal lives and family. The other group worked under their normal conditions.
The researchers found that employees whose work environments were modified experienced significant improvements over the six-month study period. Not only did they have a decrease in work-family conflict, but they also experienced an improvement in perceived time adequacy (a feeling that they had enough time to be with their families) and in their sense of schedule control.
"This study gave us the chance to look very carefully at how modifying the workplace can effectively address work-family stresses," Kelly said. "The purpose was to help employees work more effectively and more sanely, so they can get their work done well but also address their personal and family needs."
The study suggests the modified work environment brought greater benefits to employees more vulnerable to work-family conflict, in particular parents and those whose supervisors were less supportive before the workplace initiative. There was no evidence that this intervention increased work hours or perceived job demands.
"This study has major practical value in helping organizations imagine similar ways to resolve their employees' chronic sense of being pulled in two directions by obligations at work and at home," Moen said.
"Work-family conflict can wreak havoc with employees' family lives and also affect their health," said Rosalind King, Ph.D., of the Population Dynamics Branch at the National Institutes of Health. "The researchers have shown that by restructuring work practice to focus on results achieved and providing supervisors with an instructional program to improve their sensitivity to employees' after-work demands, they can reduce that stress and improve employees' family time."
NIH and CDC support for this randomized field trial, the most rigorous research method available, was through the Work, Family & Health Network, a collaboration of eight research organizations studying changes in the work environment that can improve the health of workers, and their families, while benefiting organizations.
For more on Moen and Kelly's studies, visit http://www.flexiblework.umn.edu/publications.shtml.
About the American Sociological Association and the American Sociological Review
The American Sociological Association, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society. The American Sociological Review is the ASA's flagship journal.
The research article described above is available by request for members of the media. For a copy of the full study, contact Daniel Fowler, ASA's Media Relations and Public Affairs Officer, at (202) 527-7885 or email@example.com.
For more information about the study, members of the media can also contact Tessa Eagan, Office of Communication, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, at 612-625-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel Fowler | Eurek Alert!
Memories Influence Choice of Food
22.05.2015 | Universität Basel
Memories Influence The Decision in Choosing Certain Foods
21.05.2015 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...
On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.
RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin and wound infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This "nanosponge-hydrogel" minimized the growth of skin lesions on mice infected with MRSA - without the use of antibiotics. The researchers recently published their findings online in Advanced Materials.
To make the nanosponge-hydrogel, the team mixed nanosponges, which are nanoparticles that absorb dangerous toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli and other...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences
22.05.2015 | Information Technology
22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences