Shining the light on work-life balance

Wed 08 March, 2017
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Prof Gail Kinman’s research into work-life balance has found that businesses need to do more to help their employees switch off when they are not at work.

A professor of Occupational Health Psychology, Prof Kinman is also the Director of the Research Centre for Applied Psychology and is an expert in work-related stress and work-life balance.

She recently presented findings from a survey to the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference, which revealed that out of the 400 organisations surveyed, less than half of them provided their employees with guidance on how to switch off.

Prof Kinman said: “Our findings clearly show that organisations are not helping their staff accommodate to the changing world of work which is likely to have a negative impact on their wellbeing, their work-life balance and their effectiveness.

“Many individuals we surveyed clearly feel under great pressure not to switch off, leading to intense pressure, poorer performance and worry about what the immediate future holds.”

Her research also examines how employees can cope with emotionally demanding jobs more effectively. She has worked with prison officers, nurses, teachers and social workers.

Along with her colleague Dr Louise Grant, Prof Kinman was recently commissioned by Research in Practice to write a briefing that gives practical guidance to strategic managers of the children and families’ workforce, allowing them to support their employees through such emotionally stressful work and help them build resilience.

“By nature social workers and family support workers are dedicated to caring for others, but often forget to take care of themselves. The importance of considering their own emotional wellbeing needs to be drummed into them from the very beginning,” said Prof Kinman.

Prof Kinman recently gave a very well received public lecture on stress at the Physiological Society in London. She has also has written about her research in several publications, including The Guardian, The Independent, Times Higher Education and BBC Focus.

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