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Only one in 10 employers encourage their staff to switch off when they get home after work and most would not consider offering flexible shift patterns, according to a new report.

A study by finance firm Scottish Widows showed that fewer than a third of firms gave employees the option of working part-time from home. Two out of five of the 500 business leaders surveyed said they could not provide more flexibility because they were worried about the impact on productivity.

A separate poll of 2,000 adults found that two out of five said their lives were skewed towards work, often feeling resentful towards their employer and unhappy in their job.

People are spending over nine hours a day working, compared with three and a half hours with their family, said the report. Many of those questioned said they were missing out on putting their children to bed or spending time with them before going to work.

Anita Frew, who chairs Scottish Widows’ think tank, the Centre for the Modern Family, said: “The concept of work family balance is not new, but the pace of recent technological advancement has created a constant connection between workers and the workplace, as we face a growing expectation to always be switched on – whether in our place of work, at home with our families, or travelling between the two.

“UK workers are clearly struggling to find a happy equilibrium between work and family life, with working parents feeling the strain most acutely. At the same time, it is clear that employers could be doing more to support their workers to juggle the pressures of work and family.

“It’s time to rethink traditional ways of working and move towards a more agile approach. This will not only help employees forge a better work family balance, but to improve productivity, returning benefit to employers.

“We need to show businesses and government that the nation’s work family balance has see-sawed too far in the direction of work. Together, a new, relevant approach must be found to help restore our equilibrium.”

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