Division of Occupational Psychology

Work-Life Balance

Overview

It is the group’s mission to ensure that evidence-based research and strategies for successfully managing the work/non-work interface in a healthy and sustainable manner are promoted widely for the benefit of individuals, organisations and wider society.

The members are drawn from various fields within research and practice.

The group was founded in 2009 by Dr Almuth McDowall, the 2014 past chair of the Division, and Professor Gail Kinman. “We will know that we have done our job well when there is no need to talk about work-life balance anymore!” was a comment made by founding member Professor Sue Lewis in one of our inaugural meetings. Nonetheless, while we have worked hard to move the field forward, there is still much to be done.

Working group members

Our group consists of academics and practitioners in organisations as well as private practice.

Core members include:

  • Almuth McDowall - Co-convenor
  • Gail Kinman - Co-convenor
  • Deirdre Anderson
  • Alexandra Beauregard
  • Rob Briner
  • Caroline Gatrell
  • Roxane Gervais (and newsletter editor)
  • Christine Grant
  • Rebecca Jones
  • Jurate Kairyte (and post-graduate network organiser)
  • Sue Lewis
  • Anna Meller
  • Nicky Payne
  • Cristina Quinones-Garcia
  • Svenja Schlachter.
  • Stephen Wood
  • Siobhan Wray

What we do for you

The term “work-life balance” covers a range of issues acknowledging that work not only has the potential to impact negatively on other life domains (work-life conflict), but can also facilitate and enrich non-working life.

• Work-life balance is a fundamental part of 21st century occupational psychology. We promote a triple agenda for the benefit of employers, individuals and wider society.

• We aim to ensure that work-life balance is a core element of organisational practice, facilitated by state-of-the-art evidence and underpinned by sensitivity to diversity.

• We bring together experts in the field to debate relevant topics, further research and practice, and disseminate best practice to all stakeholders to ensure linkage between academia and practice.

In order to synthesise the rich but dispersed evidence on how work-life balance can be improved, our group has produced three fact sheets:

We also have good links with the Special Group in Coaching Psychology

Since 2012, the Work Life Balance (WLB) working group has produced a newsletter, edited by Roxane Gervais, that provides members with insight into research findings and current trends in the field, both in the UK and internationally.  Previous editions are available to download.  This publication has been very successful and has recently been adopted by the BPS as an official publication and re-named ‘The Work-Life Balance Bulletin'.

Get involved! Contact [email protected]

Current activities

Our group is one of the most active in terms of contributing to the popular press and our input is regularly sought by journalists, as work-life balance issues continues to interest the wider public. We continue to speak on the radio about topics such as the work-life balance challenges for self-employed, portfolio workers and particular occupational groups, the impact of zero hours contracts on work-life balance, whether this issue concerns working mums more than working fathers. The implications of flexible working and the benefits and drawbacks of technology for work-life balance has become a key area of interest in the media.  We regularly contribute to articles on work-life balance issues in the popular press such as London Metro, Grazia Magazine, Stylist, Good Housekeeping, the Huffington Post, the Sunday Times Magazine, the Guardian, the Times, the Independent and others. Our members also make regular contributions to BBC and other online news. It is our aim to bring the science of psychology to a broad audience and keep reinforcing the message that work-life balance is a ‘must’ – not an ‘add on’.

See some of our media coverage below

The Guardian: Work-life balance, flexible working can make you ill experts say

TES: Flexible working does't have to mean part time hours

Working mums: Future of work report 

HR Zone: E resilience, why should HR care? 

HR Magazine: The always on workplace, risks and opportunities and how to make it work

Employee Benefits: Dr Christine Grant - employers can provide training and education to help staff switch off

Our plans for 2017

This year, we plan to make further inroads into getting UK research on the map internationally. Research from other countries and contexts including the US which dominates the journals, does not translate well to the UK, given that the legislation and conditions for employment well as the demographics of the workforce differ.

• Continuing to run workshops on topical issues, such as flexible working, at the DOP Conferences.

• Continuing to highlight topical issues at high profile conferences.

• An event is planned for 6th October to mark National Work-life Week. The event will be held at the BPS London HQ. More information will be provided shortly. 

• Developing evidence-based factsheets on e-resilience.

• Conducting research on e-courtesy and e-empathy.

• And much, much more!

Past activities

We have held successful conferences and seminars on topics including diversity and difference, organisational factors and work-life balance in the recession. Our post-graduate network has also organised several conferences and training events that have been particularly well received. We have forged strong links with researchers and practitioners in other countries.

• 2016: Learning a Living event on Work life balance - An evidence based approach for practitioners.

• 2016: Transdisciplinary conference on the Always-on Culture at Birkbeck, University of London. Funded by the Balance Network/ESPRC. An article reporting on this event was published by the Psychologist. More information about the Switched on Culture Research Group can be found at alwaysonculture

• 2016: Symposium on the Always-on Culture at the DOP Annual Conference, Nottingham.

• 2016: Symposium at the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology (EAOHP) conference, Athens.

• 2016: Symposium at the Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) International Conference, Sheffield.

• 2016: Contributed to the DOP stream at the Health and Wellbeing at Work event at the NEC, Birmingham.

• 2015/16: ‘Exploring the Always-on Culture’: Implications of technology use across the working lifespan. BPS Funded Seminars. Find out more at alwaysonculture

• 2015: ‘Work-life Balance and Wellbeing in Recession and Austerity’, and ‘The Future of Work-life Balance’. ESRC Funded Seminar Series. Members of the Working group edited and contributed to this book based on this seminar series - Work Life Balance in Times of Recession, Austerity and Beyond  

• 2015: ‘Work life Balance: What about fathers?’ event for National Work Life Week 21- 25 September 2015. An article covering this event can be found here  

• 2015: Formal links made with the International Work and Family Researchers Network - find out more (PDF)

• 2014: Chapter in Corporate Wellbeing Academic Insight Report published by HRZone.

• 2014: Invited seminar on work-life balance at European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology (EAOHP) conference, London.

• 2013: Published a series of factsheets. These can be downloaded from the link above. 

• 2013: Launched the Work-life Balance Working Group Newsletter, published quarterly.

Working with external organisations - WFRN

Update on collaboration with the Work and Family Researchers Network (PDF)