A recent survey has found that Kiwi families are under strain from mounting work commitments which are affecting family life. Parents who took part in the Hyundai Family Time Study – a survey which looked at Kiwis’ attitudes on their family life – say they are finding they are too tired to play with their kids, regularly miss important occasions like birthdays and want to be home for dinner more often.
Longer hours mean less family time
The results found that work pressure had a significant impact on family time, with more than a sixth (17%) of those surveyed admitting that work commitments result in tension between themselves and their partner.
Respondents said relationships and family time were compromised due to the additional hours many of us put in at the office, with more than 1 in 8 working more than 50 hours per week. Nearly half (48%) of the interviewees said they worked between 40-49 hours per week.
In addition to longer hours at the office, work travel also took up a huge chunk of family time. A sixth of all working Kiwis spent nights away from home for work at least once a month, with seven percent away from home at least once a week.
Parents surveyed said excess work commitments and working weekends were a real problem when it came to prioritising family time. Nearly 6 out of 10 say work commitments are having a real impact on the quality of their family life. For some, this requirement is manageable (37%), while for others (22%) it is less manageable in their domestic life. Working too many hours also had an impact on parents’ ability to make it home to say goodnight and tuck their children into bed, make it home in time for dinner with their family, or attend their children’s sports and events.
How we’re spending the time we do have
When time was made available to spend with the family, road trips in the family car were the most commonly preferred activity; with more than three quarters (76%) of parents recognising this. This was more common than staying at holiday homes or baches, going bush walking, being on the water or camping.
Going on a road trip in the family car was also one of the top five ‘best family moments’ after Christmas Day and birthdays, but on par with summer holidays and family dinners. Christmas Day was rated the best family moment by 75% of those surveyed. Birthdays followed, then family dinners, barbecues and picnics were the preference of 60% of New Zealanders, and road trips around New Zealand in the family car followed at 57%.
How to reduce work pressure
Sometimes you really are needed at work for extra hours; but how much is too much? This will have to be a decision for you, your partner, and your workplace to make, but remember that your health and wellbeing – and that of your family members – should be a top priority. Here are our top tips to help you reduce work pressure:
- When you’re at home and work is finished, turn off your work cellphone and laptop and ignore them until it’s time to start work again the next day.
- Learn to say ‘no’. If you’re not doing it for a promotion or because you need the money, is it really worth working those extra late nights and weekends? If you can say ‘no’ without having a negative affect on your job, then you may save yourself a lot of stress and open up more time for your family.
- Delegate when you can. If you’re in a position where you can hand smaller tasks to other staff members, do it. We have a tendency to do everything ourselves if we can, but giving some of your lesser responsibilities to others may even help upskill them.
- Prioritise. Does you really need to finish off that report at 5.00pm or can you leave it until tomorrow? Do the things that are important and need doing right now, and leave the less important things for later.
- Find another job that will give you a better work/lifestyle balance. This may be an extreme approach, but if you can find an alternative job with standard business hours, it would mean that you could spend more time with your kids while they’re growing up which could really be worth the change.
To find out how you could win your share of family time thanks to the Hyundai Family Time Project and to learn more about the campaign, visit www.familytimeproject.co.nz.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Michal Marcol