Labour of Love, or Love vs Labour – just what is the state of the nation’s relationships?

Ross McCulloch, head of Communications at Relationship Scotland
Ross McCulloch, head of Communications at Relationship Scotland
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Research released by Relationships Scotland and Relate has lifted the lid on the immense pressure felt by many employees to prioritise work ahead of their relationships.

Scottish workers are feeling the effects of this, 40 per cent of those polled believe their bosses think that the hardest workers put their work ahead of their family life. Across the UK, one in three employees say their boss thinks the ideal employee is available 24 hours a day.

The Labour of Love or Love vs Labour report shows that employees struggling to balance work and family are more likely to become ill, perform less well and resign; but those satisfied with work and work-life balance are more likely to perform better and be more productive. The report calls for employers to aspire to offer flexible working arrangements as default and to provide free relationship support as part of Employee Assistance Programmes.

Jonathan Tait, 38 from Edinburgh, recently changed career from the music industry in order to start having children with his wife. Now, six months into his traineeship as a solicitor at Ennova Law, Jonathan and his wife share child care for their two young children Jessica and EIlliot:

“A lot of my time was spent travelling, dealing with day to day workload, attending different sites, meeting with colleagues, as well as dealing with my own consultancy clients.

“Now, although I am still active in the music business to an extent, I’m able to build a proper family routine. My wife and I concentrated on building our careers and had always planned to have our children a little later and now is the time to reap the rewards.”

The research reveals that Relationship counsellors believe work-life balance is the third biggest strain on couple relationships- after affairs and not understanding each other, and ahead of money worries and sex drive.

Stuart Valentine, chief executive of Relationships Scotland, said: “For many people, almost half of our waking life is spent at work, or travelling to and from work, and there is an inescapable link between our overall wellbeing and happiness and the quality of our working life. This report reminds us again of the need to value and prioritise the relationships that we have with those around us. By doing so, we can become happier, more satisfied and indeed more productive people. This in turn can only help nourish the organisations and communities within which we spend so much of our lives.”

As well as the impact of work pressures on relationships at home, the report also looks at workplace relationships with colleagues and bosses. Worryingly, the study reveals an undercurrent of bullying, with 12% of employees saying that their boss behaves in an intimidating way towards them. But the good news is that 63% of employees say they have a good relationship with their boss and three quarters of employees reported good relationships with colleagues.

Labour of Love or Love vs Labour is the first in a series of reports from a major piece of research by Relationships Scotland and Relate. Over 5000 UK adults were surveyed as part of The Way We Are Now study, providing a unique window into the current state of the nation’s relationships.

Ross McCulloch, Head of Communications, Relationships Scotland