Work-life balance harmed most by ‘bad bosses,’ survey finds
Bad bosses, described as overbearing, demanding and mean, hurt employees' work-life balance the most, according to a new survey from Workfront.
Eighty-nine percent of respondents said it's important that their employer or clients not contact them during their off hours. Still, it's happening anyway, through emails, phone calls and text messages. And 60 percent of employees pointed to the people they work for as the biggest threat of interrupting their family time with work-related issues.
Lew Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute in Princeton, said smartphones and other devices have made it easier for employees to conduct work on the go, but some bosses are taking advantage of the technology and "chewing away" at workers' home lives.
"We used to have a work-life balance," Maltby said. "Once upon a time, Dad went to work in the morning, and he came for dinner and spent the evening with his family."
Not every boss is to blame, though, he said. Sometimes, they're answering to the same "off the clock" demands from members of management even higher on the food chain.
More than 50 percent of employees in the survey said technology has ruined the typical family dinner. Nearly two-in-five missed important life events, such as weddings and children's activities, due to work.
Jessica Methot, assistant professor of human resource management at Rutgers University, suggested it falls on both bosses and employees to handle the issue of establishing boundaries between work and play.
"It could be that bosses have just unrealistic expectations of what employees should be doing outside of work time," she said. "But it also falls on the employees. We find that it's difficult for anyone to disconnect."
In some cases, workers may just have to test the waters; go without answering an email or two at night, and see if there are any consequences the next day.
Bosses, meanwhile, can make it easier on everyone by making it known what's expected beyond the 9 to 5 workday.