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Build Your Career Work-Life Balance

Work, Not Family, More Often Gets Blamed for Work-Life Imbalance


When it's time to start pointing the finger at who's to blame for a lack of work-life balance, you can guess who's getting the short end of the stick.

Workers struggling to balance both their professional and personal lives overwhelming name work as the problem.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed blamed work, not family, for conflict, according to a new study by Elizabeth Poposki, assistant professor of psychology in the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Twenty-two percent blamed only their family role. Five percent blamed external factors other than work or family for the conflict, and only six percent blamed themselves for the conflict. Only three percent of those surveyed blamed both work and family for conflict between the two.

Individuals who attributed conflict to external sources rather than blaming the conflict on themselves were more likely to experience anger and frustration following the conflict, according to Poposki.

She should be of particular concern to employers because anger and frustration on the job are related to many negative workplace outcomes such as employee theft . Preventing such emotions may benefit both employees and employers, Poposki said.

One way for employers to manage the problem, she suggested, is to schedule events in advance. Last-minute office meetings were highlighted by those she surveyed as blame targets.

The research will appear in the journal "Group & Organization Management."