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Working from home has benefits for families

Research from the Bankwest Curtin Economic Centre (BCEC) has found working from home has overall strong benefits for families.

Associate professor Mike Dockery, principal lead research fellow at BCEC spearheaded the study and examined how working patterns affected family relationships. The results were based on family functioning indicators. These included how satisfied employees were with their relationships with their partner and their children, and the division of household duties and chores.

From the results, Dockery said he found overall “working from home helps family functioning” and generates little disruption to family life. It was also found working from home helps improve employees’ relationships with their children. But researchers cautioned these results do not mean working from home would suit every family.

“Each family is different when it comes to finding the balance between work and family that works best for them, Dockery said. “This may explain why more Australians are not taking up the option to work from home.”

There were some negative effects of working from home the study found, as results showed women often became less satisfied with the division of household tasks when their male employee partner works substantial hours at home. The study showed when men work longer hours at home, they do not increase their contribution to housework as much as their partner would like.

Findings also showed the increasing prevalence of families with partners both working full-time has contributed to a rising trend in work-family conflict. Research showed couples are most happy when one partner works full-time and the other part-time, with childcare and household responsibilities shared more evenly.

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