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The impact of work on relationships

The amount of time someone spends at work can affect their romantic and family relationships, a new study suggests.

Researchers in the US surveyed 1,214 working adults and found that 85 per cent of respondents believed they had missed quality time with their significant other because of work. Similarly, 85 per cent also claimed that work had made them miss time with their children.

Almost a third of workers – 30 per cent – had less than 15 hours a week of “quality family time” per week whereas only 19 per cent managed more than 40 hours.

The work-life balance often caused friction in romantic relationships as well, as 36 per cent of those surveyed claimed to have had arguments on the matter with their partner. The same percentage also claimed that such disagreements lasted for a day or more.

As many as seven in ten people reported that they have missed family events because of work commitments. On average, respondents missed over three events a year. These included a child’s activity, which 35 per cent of respondents claimed to have missed, birthdays and visiting family. Ten per cent of those surveyed claimed they had even missed funerals because of their job.

The survey found that people who planned their time off in advance were happier in their job, their financial situation and their overall outlook on life than those who forgo time off.

Study author Dr Lotte Bailyn is a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She said that the results indicated “a conflicting identity” among working adults as they are “supposed to be the good family person, but also this ideal worker”.

The study was commissioned by campaign group Project: Time Off. They promote the idea that personal time away from work is “essential to strengthening families and improving personal health”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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