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Workplace opportunities and stresses are both increasing
Date:12/13/2007

Teamworking and other modern employment practices can put as much strain on a womans family relationships as working an extra 120 hours a year, an extensive study of the British workforce funded by the Economic and Social Research Council suggests.

The research finds that while British employers have maintained long-term career relationships with employees in spite of competitive market pressures, they have devised ways of extracting more effort and higher performance. These practices include team-based forms of work organization, individual performance-related pay, and policies that emphasize the development of individual potential.

Such human resource management practices are thought to be good for staff morale as well as an essential ingredient of successful modern business performance. Yet, finds the research, the pressure to perform which they generate has a knock-on effect on employees families.

Womens family relationships are more adversely affected by such employment practices than mens. In addition, both women and men are more likely to become anxious about childcare arrangements when placed under pressure by workplace practices. Women are also less likely to get help at home from male partners if the men have jobs in which they face the pressures of modern human resource management.

A significant new source of stress in the modern workplace is ICT surveillance. The research shows that more than half 52 per cent of all British employees report that a computerised system keeps a log or record of their work. This picture is confirmed by employers, with managements of one in five workplaces reporting that all employees are now covered by computer-based monitoring systems.

The spread of ICT surveillance has led to a sharp increase in work strain, reflected by feelings of exhaustion, anxiety and work-related worry. There is an overall 7.5 per cent rise in strain among employees whose work is checked by I
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Contact: Alexandra Saxon
alexandra.saxon@esrc.ac.uk
01-793-413-032
Economic & Social Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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