Work-life balance is not an issue exclusive to women, particularly mothers, new research shows. Men and people without children can suffer when they feel that their workplace culture is not family-friendly, as well.

When employees think their careers will suffer if they take time away from work for family or personal reasons, they have lower work satisfaction and experience more work-life spillover. In addition, they are more likely to intend to leave their jobs, say researchers.

Coauthor Erin Cech, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, say these negative impacts of this kind of workplace culture have the potential to affect all workers. This underscores the need to overhaul work structures that threaten to penalize all workers for attempting to balance their work and home lives—whether or not those lives include children, she says.


‘Ideal worker norm’

The study focused on understanding the “ideal worker norm”—a belief many employers have that individuals should be single-mindedly devoted to them, available to work full-time until retirement, and have few interruptions from family.


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