Research Explores Work/Life Balance for Faculty, Staff and Student Employees
THINK BALANCING work and family life is an issue only women face? Think again. There was “not much difference” between the responses of male and female UNCG employees when surveyed on the work/life balance in their lives, said Dr. Paige Hall Smith, the director of the Center for Women’s Health and Wellness at UNCG. Smith, along with a cohort of graduate students, has completed a study looking at issues that impact employees’ ability to balance their work obligations with their personal lives at the Triad’s biggest university.
View a slide presentation (pdf) of this study.
Among their findings:
- Incidents of work/family conflict are very common and impact almost every employee group on campus regardless of their position, gender or whether or not they have children.
- Student employees, as well as staff and faculty, suffer from strains that can come from finding the time and energy to manage both work and family life.
- Female employees, on the other hand, are more likely than men to worry about the welfare of their children while they are at the office.
- Managerial support had a considerable impact on employees’ ability to find balance.
The findings are relevant to the campus community and beyond, said Smith, a professor of Public Health Education in the School of Health and Human Sciences.
During the recent economic downturn, many employers — state agencies included — haven’t increased employee pay. Policies like flexible work scheduling and work locations, which UNCG offers, help employees balance their lives with minimal expense for the business. These types of policies ultimately help improve the work environment, Smith said. There’s an overarching question employers need to ask, Smith said: “Do we want a workplace where people have the attitude ‘Thank God I have a job, but I don’t like it here’ or do we want to have a workplace where people want to be?… What kind of workplace do we want to be and how do we want employees to feel about working here?”
Excerpted from an article by Lanita Withers Goins, Staff Writer, University Relations