Parents have a better work/life balance than the childless, new research shows.
Massey University's Professor Jarrod Haar surveyed more than 1300 parents and non-parents.
The results were unexpected - 52 per cent of parents reported being happy with how they balance work with the rest of their lives, but only 42 per cent of the childless felt the same way.
Prof Haar says parents are better at drawing a line and leaving the office at the end of the day.
"It's easy to flag going to the gym and stay at your desk, but you can't decide to not pick the kids up from daycare."
Prof Haar says everyone has multiple roles they are trying to balance.
"It might be work and sports or, if you're religious, your church - and that can be just as draining and hard to juggle as someone who has young kids."
It is perception that counts, he says.
"You could have 100 things on and think ‘Woohoo, I'm really achieving here'. Or you could have two things on and think ‘Oh, I can't handle this'. It's about your perceived ability to cope."
A good work/life balance was equally important to both groups in the study and led to greater job and life satisfaction and better mental heath.
Prof Haar says company policies such as flexible start and finish times can benefit everyone.
Policies aimed just at parents can make other employees feel discriminated against, he says.
"It's a reminder to managers not to categorise people as parents or non-parents and then assume the non-parents don't have anything important going on.
"Accommodating the needs of parents is a good thing, but you can be single and childless and still lead a busy, stressful life."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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