1. Get the Job
  2. Get Ahead
  3. Office Life
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Home Office
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
Build Your Career Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance Makes Work Safer


Achieving work-life balance may be more important to your job than previously thought, according to new research. In fact, it appears to have a significant impact on how safe you are at work, new research shows.

The University of Georgia (UGA) study found that actions taken or not taken at the organizational level, such as instilling policies that make employees feel like they are safe, can either set the stage for injuries or help prevent them.

Based on data from the 2002 General Social Survey and the Quality of Work Life module from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the research shows that the risk of injury climbs 37 percent for employees whose work interferes with family life or whose family demands affect job performance.

"We used to think work was one thing and family was another, but now there is a realization that work-life balance affects performance and productivity," said Dave DeJoy, a University of Georgia professor of health promotion and behavior and one of the study’s authors. "The results don't really tell us much about why, though."

While DeJoy hypothesizes it's due to things such as fatigue, distraction and stress, he said more research must be done to determine the exact reasons behind the added risk of injuries.

[The Great Myth of Work-Life Balance]

The study also shows that perception can be reality. The research showed that employees who perceive their workplace as safe decrease their likelihood of injury by 32 percent.

While some occupations clearly carry a higher risk of injury, DeJoy said the study examined a diverse sample of occupations and worker groups — from offices to factories — to reach their conclusions.

"It shows that these factors are important across the board," DeJoy told BusinessNewsDaily. "A message to employers is that these factors are important, even if a business isn't considered to be high-risk."

The research also shows businesses that workplace injuries are likely to be prompted by something up the line at the organizational level, DeJoy said.

Knowing this, he said managers shouldn't always be so quick to blame the injured employee for the situation.

"You need to look at yourself and ask, 'What am I doing at the organizational level to contribute to this problem?'" DeJoy said.

The study, co-authored by Todd Smith, a recent graduate of the Health Promotion and Behavior doctoral program in the UGA College of Public Health, will be published in the March issue of the Journal of Safety Research.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years working as a newspaper reporter and now works as a freelance business and technology reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.