Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wanted: A life outside the workplace

Date:
February 21, 2013
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
New research suggests the growing number of workers who are single and without children have trouble finding the time or energy to participate in non-work interests, just like those with spouses and kids.

MSU psychology professor Ann Marie Ryan says people who are single and childless have difficulty finding time to pursue interests outside the office, just like those with spouses and kids.
Credit: Photo by G.L. Kohuth

A memo to employers: Just because your workers live alone doesn't mean they don't have lives beyond the office.

New research at Michigan State University suggests the growing number of workers who are single and without children have trouble finding the time or energy to participate in non-work interests, just like those with spouses and kids.

Workers struggling with work-life balance reported less satisfaction with their lives and jobs and more signs of anxiety and depression.

"People in the study repeatedly said I can take care of my job demands, but then I have no time for working out, volunteering in my community, pursuing friendships or anything else," said Ann Marie Ryan, MSU professor of psychology and study co-author.

Traditionally, companies have focused on helping workers find "work-family" balance. The broader new concept is called "work-life," though for many employers it remains just that -- a concept, said Jessica Keeney, study co-author and recent doctoral graduate in psychology at MSU.

"As organizations strive to implement more inclusive HR policies, they might consider offering benefits such as flexible work arrangements to a wider audience than just parents," said Keeney, who works for APTMetrics, a human resources consulting firm. "Simply relabeling programs from 'work-family' to 'work-life' is not enough; it may also require a shift in organizational culture."

Take, for example, an employee who is single and without children and wants to leave work early to train for a triathlon, Ryan said. Should that employee have any less right to leave early than the one who wants to catch her child's soccer game at 4 p.m.?

"Why is one more valued than the other?" Ryan said. "We have to recognize that non-work roles beyond family also have value."

Childlessness among employees has been increasing in the United States, particularly among female managers, the study notes. Further, a large portion of employees today are single and live alone.

The research encompassed two studies of nearly 5,000 university alumni. Roughly 70 percent of the participants were married or in a domestic partnership and about 44 percent had one or more children living at home. The participants worked in a wide range of industries including health care, business, education and engineering.

The three areas in which work interfered the most for all participants were health (which includes exercising and doctor's appointments); family; and leisure (which includes hobbies, playing sports and reading and watching TV).

Ryan said the findings were similar for both workers with families and those without. Each group reported challenges with maintaining friendships, taking care of their health and finding leisure time -- and this had negative effects above and beyond the challenges of balancing work and family.

The findings were published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior. The other co-authors were MSU doctoral graduates Elizabeth Boyd, Ruchi Sinha and Alyssa Westring.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jessica Keeney, Elizabeth M. Boyd, Ruchi Sinha, Alyssa J. Westring, Ann Marie Ryan. From 'Work-Family' to 'Work-Life': Broadening our Conceptualization and Measurement. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2013.01.005

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Wanted: A life outside the workplace." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130221115801.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2013, February 21). Wanted: A life outside the workplace. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130221115801.htm
Michigan State University. "Wanted: A life outside the workplace." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130221115801.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins