Most working parents 'unhappy with work-life balance'

working parent Image copyright Thinkstock

Most working parents in Scotland are unhappy with the balance between their home and work life, according to a poll by a group of voluntary organisations.

The study suggested only 12% feel their work-life balance is "just right".

Less than a quarter (22%) think they have "the right balance of time and money for their family to thrive".

The poll was carried out by Family Friendly Working Scotland group, which works with the Scottish government.

The organisation said inflexible work arrangements were often to blame, with many parents saying they missed out on special family moments.

These included attending school plays or putting their children to bed.

The poll suggested:

  • Four in 10 working parents would work more flexible hours if they could
  • Nearly a third (31%) would like to go home on time more often
  • More than a fifth (22%) would like to work their agreed hours without pressure to do more
  • Almost half (44%) felt work got in the way of attending school or nursery shows and events often or all the time
  • Just over a third (34%) said it interfered with their ability to help their children with homework often or all the time
  • More than a quarter (26%) said work got in the way of putting their children to bed often or all the time

Family Friendly Working Scotland said its findings showed 27% of working parents in Scotland worked more than two extra unpaid hours each week - the equivalent of an extra 2.5 weeks a year.

Of those, 15% worked more than four extra unpaid hours a week, equating to 25 extra days a year.

The findings were published as Family Friendly Working Scotland launched Nation Work Life week.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption More than a quarter of parents said work sometimes got in the way of putting their children to bed

Nikki Slowey, the organisation's programme director, said it was "disheartening that so few Scottish parents have the right work-life balance".

She said: "Families need both time and money to thrive, yet less than a quarter of parents we surveyed said they have this.

"As parents we want to support our children through the many milestones in their lives, whether that's starting school, starring in their school play or preparing for important exams.

"But balancing this support alongside the demands of work can be very challenging, especially if your employer gives you little or no flexibility, or shows no understanding."

'Better outcomes'

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Ms Slowey added: "I don't think there are enough employers recognising the link between good family-friendly policies or good flexible working and how this is good for business.

"Not enough organisations are making the link that actually when they have a family-friendly workplace their employees are more productive, more engaged, more motivated and that the absenteeism rates reduce, and that they are much more successful at recruiting and retaining staff."

The Scottish government's Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald, said: "This poll shows how difficult it can be for parents in Scotland to achieve the right balance between the time they spend at work and with their family.

"The Scottish government is determined to do all we can to ensure Scotland's workplaces offer flexible working arrangements so parents can achieve a balance that suits their family life, and employers can benefit from improved rates of loyalty and productivity."