A new study shows that treating employees poorly can negatively affect their kids’ development in all kinds of ways
It should come as no surprise that our jobs are often more than just jobs—they’re where we spend at least half of our waking hours each day, and they provide the livelihood we need to provide for our families. Having a positive, supportive workplace can make your life a lot less stressful. But having a crappy job or boss? That has effects outside of the workplace—including on your kids, according to a new study.
The study followed more than 370 low-wage, working-class families over more than 10 years, from pregnancy through their first few years as parents. Researchers observed the families at home, conducted interviews with family members, and collected assessment reports from parents and teachers. What they found was that parents who had more autonomy at their jobs and supportive coworkers and bosses were warmer and more engaged with their kids. This, in turn, meant that their kids had higher levels of attachment to their parents, as well as better emotional regulation, social skills, and academic achievement.
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On the other hand, when parents had a job or boss that didn’t trust or support them, they reported feeling highly stressed, even if they were top performers. They were less engaged with their kids, who were then more likely to have worse reading and math skills, less developed social skills, and behavioral problems.
Related: This Study Shows the Stress Working Parents Face Could Actually Cost Them Their Jobs
“So what does this mean for employers?” the study’s authors asked. “From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, it’s clear that if work impacts employees’ children, employers have a responsibility to ensure that the impact is as positive as possible. And from a business standpoint, it’s also in companies’ best financial interests to pay attention to the effects of work on their employees’ families. After all, when workers face challenges with their partners or kids, this stress inevitably spills over into the workplace, leading to lower productivity, more sick days and personal time off, and an unhappier, less motivated workforce.”
In other words, providing employees with trusting, supportive environments is good for them, their families, and the business. Seems like a no-brainer, right?