Only a third of UK families claim to have a healthy ‘work family balance’

The majority of UK workers spend almost three times longer in work-related activities than with family.
The majority of UK workers spend almost three times longer in work-related activities than with family.

According to a new report from the Centre for the Modern Family, nearly half of UK workers say their ‘work family balance’ is skewed towards work, with the majority of UK employees spending almost three times longer in work-related activities than with family.

Of those with a work-heavy balance, one in four feel resentful towards their employer and are unhappy in their job, and a quarter say they have to let their family down on events or planned activities.

“The concept of ‘work family balance’ is not new, but the pace of recent technological advancement has created a constant connection between workers and the workplace, as we face a growing expectation to always be switched on – whether in our place of work, at home with our families, or travelling between the two,” said Anita Frew, Chair of the Centre for the Modern Family.

Missing out 

More than half of those with a work-heavy balance and dependent children feel they miss out on seeing their children grow up.

On the other hand, almost half of those who feel their life is skewed towards family say that being able to make time for loved ones ensures that they are happier and more focused at work.

Increased flexibility at work came through as the greatest way to help address the ‘work family balance’ issue, with 60 percent of UK workers convinced that flexible working hours would help to create a better ‘work family balance’.

Almost half say that the ability to travel easily to and from work would help, whilst 47 percent say that being able to work from home could play a key role. However, employers aren’t providing enough support.


30 percent of employers would not consider offering flexible shift patterns and 34 percent say they would not consider offering the option to work part-time from home

Only one in 10 employers say they actively encourage employees to log off at home, yet 41 percent say they are unable to provide more flexibility due to concerns over productivity.

“It’s time to rethink traditional ways of working and move towards a more agile approach. This will not only help employees forge a better work family balance, but to improve productivity, returning benefit to employers. We need to show businesses and government that the nation’s ‘work family balance’ has see-sawed too far in the direction of work. Together, a new, relevant approach must be found to help restore our equilibrium,” Frew concluded.

About Rebecca Clarke

Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.
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