Families feel the strain of having to work in the evenings

Despite a trend towards more flexible working hours, a new work-life balance survey reveals that workloads are increasing and technology is blurring the boundaries between work and home.

The 2020 Modern Family Index, which is published annually by charity Working Families and childcare provider Bright Horizons, reveals that being able to work remotely has increased workloads rather than reduced them.

The Index provides a snapshot into the lives of working families across the UK and received responses from 3,090 working parents, with at least one dependent child aged 18 or younger who lives with them some or all the time.

Despite the fact that many more working parents believe their employer cares about their work-life balance compared to 2015, the survey results suggest that many employers are still ignoring their employees need for fulfilled family lives.

Almost half of the parents polled said that they were able to work from home remotely but this had increased the number of hours they worked. Many reported that they have to check emails outside of working hours, which has a negative impact on family life.

Strategies to unlock disdvantage

Respondents represented a range of household incomes and family structures, equally distributed between the regions and nations of the UK apart from Scotland, where the sample size was deliberately increased to 507 parents.

The median household income for couple families was £38,000. For single parents it was £20,000.

This year's research has been released to coincide with the Government’s plans to legislate to improve support for working families, following its commitments in December’s Queen’s Speech.

Key findings from the Index, based on the survey of working parents, include:

  • 48 of all parents able to work remotely reported that doing so had probably increased the hours they work.
  • 60 per cent of parents working extra hours said that doing so was the only way to deal with their workload. More than half said working extra hours is part of their company’s culture.
  • 44 per cent feel compelled to dip into work in the evenings, such as checking e-mails
  • 47 per cent believe that technology has ‘blurred the boundaries’ between work and home.
  • Parents in ‘work mode’ at home complain of negative impacts on children and relationships.
  • More than a third have faked illness to meet family obligations.

Read the full report here



Keep up to date with Early Years!

Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date with Early Years education, process and events! We promise we won't spam you!