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In the news ... Employees who are engaged in their work have happier home life

Invigorated and dedicated employees carry over their positive work experiences for a happier home life.

Kansas State University 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 K-State research group included Clive Fullagar, professor of psychology; Satoris Culbertson, assistant professor of psychology; and Maura Mills, graduate student in psychology, Manhattan. They presented the research at the annual conference for Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology in New Orleans. 

"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.

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.

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.

Kansas State University 09 09

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