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Healthy Work Environment Extends to Home

New research suggests a positive work environment is associated with a happier home life. The finding challenges the oft-reported strain between career and family.

The Kansas State University study showed invigorated and dedicated employees carry over their positive work experiences for a happier home life.

K-State psychology researchers studied how positive work experiences extend into family life and facilitate family interactions. They found that employees who are engaged in their work, which includes higher levels of vigor, more dedication and absorption in daily activities, have better moods and more satisfaction at home.

The research group included Clive Fullagar, professor of psychology; Satoris Culbertson, assistant professor of psychology; and Maura Mills, graduate student in psychology at K-State.

“Our research indicated that individuals who were engaged in positive experiences at work and who shared those experiences with significant others perceived themselves as better able to deal with issues at home, became better companions and became more effective overall in the home environment,” Culbertson said.

The researchers tracked 67 extension agents for two weeks to determine the relationship between daily work engagement and work-to-family facilitation. The participants responded to two daily surveys, one at the end of their workday and the other immediately before going to bed for the night. They also completed a separate survey prior to the start of the two-week period and another after the daily data collection had ended.

Culbertson said stress at work and stress at home interact in ways that affect outcomes in both domains. The study results suggested that engagement is significantly related to daily mood, and mood also is positively correlated with work-family facilitation. The researchers found that both work engagement and work-to-family facilitation vary considerably from day to day.

“Just because an employee might not be invigorated or dedicated to his or her work on a Monday doesn’t mean he or she won’t be engaged on Tuesday or vice versa,” Culbertson said.

“Additionally, one’s work can facilitate things at home to a different extent depending on the day and what has happened on that particular day.”

The researchers also found that daily work engagement had a positive effect on family life after controlling for workload — heavy or light work hours were not a factor.

Culbertson stressed that engagement refers to positive work involvement rather than more negative forms of job involvement like workaholism and work addiction, which differ in their effects on home lives.

“Work addicts, or workaholics, have been shown to experience higher levels of work-family conflict,” Culbertson said. “On the contrary, our study showed that higher levels of engagement were related to higher levels of work-family facilitation rather than conflict.”

Culbertson said organizations could build on these findings and intervene in the workplace. She said that it is important for organizations to help employees balance their work and personal lives.

Prior research has shown that people who report high levels of work-family conflict tend to also report experiencing lower job satisfaction, poorer health, lower job performance and a greater likelihood of leaving the organization. Thus, helping employees helps the organization, she said.

“Practically, our results indicate that engagement is controlled by situational factors that are manageable by the organization,” Culbertson said.

“Generating high levels of engagement among workers has a positive impact on the work-family interface.”

Source: Kansas State University

Healthy Work Environment Extends to Home

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Healthy Work Environment Extends to Home. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/08/25/healthy-work-environment-extends-to-home/7960.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.