One in five have missed a child's life event because of work

Research has found poor work/life balance is harming parents’ relationships with their children

More than half (51%) of UK workers’ personal lives are negatively affected by work, according to research from job app Coople.

The survey of 2,000 employed people in the UK found that one in five (20%) parents say their work schedule has caused them to miss an important moment in their child’s life, such as a birthday party (8%) or a key school event (12%).

Nearly three in 10 (28%) of those that admitted to missing an important matter have done so more than five times during their working life. One in 10 (10%) said they have missed their child’s event once, 26% said they have done so twice, 29% three times, and 7% admitted they have done so four times.

The research found that poor work/life balance has been detrimental to parents’ relationships with their children, with 11% saying working late and not ‘switching off’ has distanced them.

Rob Worrall, director of HR EMEA at FTI Consulting, warned that some staff feel there is still a stigma around workplace flexibility. “We need to encourage a culture of openness, and employees need to feel respected when they choose to attend obligations outside of work,” he told HR magazine.

He added: “When people feel supported at work they will want to support you back. It's a two-way street.”

Regarding important life events missed by parents, Jacques de la Bouillerie, MD of Coople, said: “These are once-in-a-lifetime occasions so companies should be doing their best to make sure staff are getting sufficient time off to spend with their family, friends and partners,” he said.

“Hopefully this research will serve as a wake-up call to businesses across the UK to recognise and prioritise the importance of their employees' personal wellbeing, and to put the right structures in place to create a better work/life balance”.