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The art of balancing work and relationships can be a struggle

By Kace O'Neill | |5 minute read
The Art Of Balancing Work And Relationships Can Be A Struggle

Work on its own can be a stressful venture, but when it’s intertwined with trying to manage personal relationships, it can create a difficult juggling act that can threaten a healthy work/life balance.

New data has shown that the juggling act of balancing personal relationships and work is causing strain on employees. The study surveyed 1,000 American workers to learn more about their feelings about balancing work and relationships.

Key findings from the report:

  • Seventy-four per cent of people believe succeeding at work and family is challenging.
  • Seventy-six per cent feel their employers support their efforts to balance work and relationships.
  • Sixty-three per cent of married people wish their employer offered relationship benefits such as couples counselling.
  • Seventy-three per cent report feeling happier at work when they are in a healthy relationship.
  • Ninety-four per cent of finance professionals report struggling to focus at work when they’re in conflict with their partner.
  • Thirty-three per cent of engaged couples report work puts a strain on their relationship.
  • Younger professionals are more likely to consider leaving a job that strains their relationship.
  • Half of single people report their career makes it difficult to find a partner.
  • Nearly a third of divorced people report work played a role in their divorce.

Of course, it’s no secret that work-related endeavours can have an effect on personal relationships between partners, friends, and families. However, with such a large number of workers acknowledging the difficulty of succeeding in both their relationships and work, it does highlight an interesting roadblock for the work/life balance that a majority of employees yearn for.

Both avenues cause stress to one another. For example, 80 per cent of respondents stated that they weren’t productive at work while in a conflict with their partner, showing the difficulty of leaving home issues at home.

Employers have a good reason to help their employees find a strong work/life balance. Conflict at home can impact an employee’s ability to focus at work, especially in technical careers. This was common among all industries.

  • Banking and finance: 94 per cent
  • Information services/data processing: 93 per cent
  • Education: 88 per cent
  • Healthcare: 81 per cent
  • Professional services: 81 per cent
  • Hotel/hospitality: 81 per cent
  • Other: 77 per cent
  • Manufacturing: 75 per cent
  • Military: 75 per cent
  • Food and beverage: 71 per cent
  • Utilities/energy: 67 per cent
  • Retail sales: 64 per cent
  • Entertainment media/publishing: 60 per cent

It can often come down to the priorities of the individual. To be successful at work requires the employee to satisfy their employer’s expectations and be a team player, which, of course, requires meeting deadlines and being punctual. When trying to advance in your career, this can mean sacrificing other aspects of your life, which often sadly includes spending time with your loved ones.

Relationships also have expectations, such as communication, quality time, respect, and trust, which take time to develop and have to be maintained. If work becomes the priority for the individual, maintaining those relationship expectations can be difficult, and it’s rare to have that perfect 50-50 split between the two.

This reigns true through the data, as 33 per cent of engaged couples say work causes strain on their relationship. Benu Lahiry, a licenced marriage and family therapist (LMFT), stated: “Today, as more individuals embrace dual careers, couples are finding themselves navigating relationships built around two careers rather than one.”

“With many individuals prioritising personal and career growth before marriage, the integration of these busy professional lives can inevitably strain and challenge their relationship dynamics.”

The report offered small tips that can assist workers with finding that balance, with the basis of it being around communication.

  1. Set boundaries at work (and stick to them).
  2. Ask for help from your employer.
  3. Communicate.
  4. Make decisions together with your partner.
  5. Prioritise quality time.
Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill is a Graduate Journalist for HR Leader. Kace studied Media Communications and Maori studies at the University of Otago, he has a passion for sports and storytelling.