Jobless spouse can affect partner’s performance

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WASHINGTON - Stresses of an unemployed spouse can hurt the job performance of the partner but ignoring the stresses of a spouse’s job search does not bode well for the employed counterpart’s job productivity or home life, a new research says.

The research examined daily stresses felt by married couples in which one of them was jobless, and it affected each spouse, the Journal of Applied Psychology reports.

Associate Professor Maw-Der Foo of University of Colorado Boulder’s School of Business and Zhaoli Song of the National University of Singapore co-authored the paper which studied employee workplace issues, including those bearing on interpersonal relationships, according to a Colorado statement.

“If you feel bad at home there is going to be spillover at work where you will also feel lousy. Going into the study we thought that marital support might help alleviate the stress of unemployment on the family unit, but it didn’t turn out to be the case,” said Foo.

One of the take-home messages from the study and others Foo has conducted on the workplace is that organizations need to be more sensitive and supportive when their employees have family members — particularly a spouse — who are unemployed.

“Organizations can implement family-friendly policies to help their employees fulfil their family roles, which in turn may increase the employee’s productivity,” he said.

However, in difficult economic times, many organizations may elect to limit some services for their employees, such as couples counselling, due to their cost.

Filed under: Society

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