Personal guide to managing work-life balance

By Staff Writer

Workplaces can help staff cope more effectively with work-family conflict by providing a range of strategies that recognise individual differences rather than a ‘one-size, fits all’ approach.

A Queensland study of more than 300 adults from a range of occupations showed core personality traits heavily influence the type of coping strategies useful for dealing with work-family conflict. Griffith University, School of Psychology, PhD candidate Laura Rasmussen said people with personality traits such as conscientiousness and extroversion had the internal mechanisms to cope better when work and family demands clashed.

She said conscientious individuals were more likely to use problem focussed strategies such as time management.

“However people with high levels of neuroticism focus more on their emotional response to stress and may therefore need more external help from their managers or supervisors,” Ms Rasmussen said.

The study found extroverted people relied on their friendliness and sociability to engage necessary support from friends, family and peers. They may also be more positive and active in managing conflicting roles and responsibilities than other individuals.

People who were open to new experiences were more likely to find creative solutions to reducing work-family conflict, such as using relaxation strategies. Other people with high levels of agreeableness were more likely to work cooperatively with peers in problem solving and managing their role.

“While we can’t change our personality, we can recognise what levels of these traits we have and how we typically react to situations. Then we can set up support mechanisms to help cope better with work-family conflict," she said.


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