I made a presentation to the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences (AABSS) Conference (February 26, 2018, Las Vegas, Nevada). It is a juried national conference, all proposals undergo blind peer-review prior to acceptance.
The presentation summarizes the published research literature regarding the relationship between work-and-home life for full-time employees. The author highlights scholarship relating to Work-to-Family Interference (WFI) and Work-to-Family Enhancement (WFE), specifically focusing on the positive impact that the workplace can have on home-life. The research literature shows that how employees feel about their jobs influences the moods they bring home and multiple studies have shown that work-related contributors (including job stress, role conflict, ambiguity, overwhelming work load, income deficiency, co-worker conflict) can all have an adverse spillover effect on one’s home-life. Additionally, stress at work can adversely impact a marriage, causing spouses to show anger or withdraw. While research has consistently demonstrated the negative work-to-home spillover effect, there is a growing body of research that has begun examining the reverse and employees who experience positive work environments are more likely to initiate marital positivity, interacting with the partner in a cheerful, optimistic, and uncritical manner.
“Good Afternoon. I’m Andy Stenhouse and I am a missionary to the workplace.”
They looked briefly confused until I quickly followed up. “I’m on a mission to enhance the personal lives of employees, by enhancing the workplace.”
I began to explain.
For years, employees have been told to leave their personal lives at the door when they arrive to work. Of course, that is impossible. When an employee shows up for work, the entire person arrives, including demands from his or her personal life. Pre-occupation with children, partners, home-life demands are on employees’ minds throughout the entire workday. They cannot leave their personal lives at the door. It is part of who they are. When people show up for work, the whole person shows up. When people go home, the whole person goes home. Work-life and home-life are not two separate lives. Work-life integration has replaced work-life balance.
Many employees and employers understand the pragmatics of meeting both professional and personal demands throughout each day. The necessity of running personal errands and/or caring for loved ones does not disappear between the hours of eight and five. Conversely, technology has disrupted the eight-hour work day, making employer and employee available twenty-four-seven. The often-imaginary line between home-life and work-life, has become even more elusive.
The spillover of worklife into homelife is sometimes less obvious. Stress-related interference stemming from contributing variables such as isolation at work, conflict with supervisors and coworkers, insufficient pay, and person-job-fit dissonance. However, when these variables are reversed, the spillover of work to home can be positive. Research is beginning to examine these and other contributing variables in order to explore the enhancing impact they may have when reported positive.
GOOD FOR FAMILY, GOOD FOR BUSINESS
Since most generally agree that (a) full-time employees spend more waking hours at work than they do at home; (b) positive home-life experiences can enhance employee performance; (c) positive work experiences can enhance employee performance; (d) positive work experiences can enhance employee home-life; we, therefore, believe it is possible to treat job-related problems so that the home-life of employees can be positively impacted, in addition to the employee’s work-life. It is good for family. It is good for business.
I went on to present the literature review and answer questions. The discussion was encouraging and provoking as people shared their own personal experiences that seemed to emotionally resonate with the findings of the research.
When people are treated better at work, they go home and treat family members better.
I have been to many conferences and am pleased to report that every workshop I attended was interesting and well worth the time spent. In addition to interesting workshops, I also had wonderful company in the evenings. I was fortunate to bring my wife along with me. Our room on the 24th floor of the Flamingo was pleasantly quiet and our view, particularly at night, was amazing. (We didn’t try the “High Roller” Ferris Wheel.) But we did take a drive Wednesday afternoon.
While we both agree that Las Vegas is not a town either one of us are particularly fond of, there are some beautiful places to see outside of the city. Once the conference was over, we drove out to Red Rock Canyon just in time to see some snow fall. It was a great way to end the conference.