Work destroying Kiwi families, says study

01:47, Oct 11 2013
family time
WORKING TO RULE?: Almost 60 per cent of parents participating in the survey said their work commitments had a real impact on their family life.

Mounting work schedules are straining quality family time, with parents missing dinnertime and working through the weekend, a new study says.

Almost 60 per cent of parents said their work commitments had a real impact on their family life.

Thirty-seven per cent said they were just managing, and 22 per cent said it was difficult to manage.

The results of the online survey, commissioned by Hyundai to look at Kiwis' attitudes toward family life, found work pressure had a significant impact on family time.

Some of parents' main concerns were missing their children's sporting and cultural events, not making it home for dinner, and being too tired to play because of their work.

A sixth of working New Zealanders said they were unable to make it home for dinner, and for those who did, 9 per cent had to go straight back to work afterwards.

Nearly three in 10 respondents said they worked on the weekend, and 21 per cent said they were too tired to play with their children at night or in the weekends.

John Cowan, writer and presenter from The Parenting Place, said the figures did not sound as bad as he expected they would actually be.

"For those that don't have internet access, I wouldn't be surprised if they were the lowest earners, working two or more jobs a week, and so it's probably even worse than these figures suggest," he said.

"The guts of it is, we are busy people."

New Zealanders were spending a lot of time at work, more time than in any nation in the OECD, and it did affect how families operated, he said.

To overcome it, parents should use the savvy they use in business and apply it to their family time, Cowan said.

"Make the most of the time that you do have to do things like use technology to text kids, or to chat with them online," he said.

"Use your diary as a defence of your daily life, ring-fence events in your diary, so when events come up you can say you're not available."

Hyundai New Zealand general manager Andy Sinclair said the company had funded family time for some of its staff and customers, and wanted to give some to the public.

Lack of family time was a significant issue for the people they surveyed, and the Family Time Project, which would grant families some time together, was a way of helping, he said.


Fairfax Media