Kelly D. Chandler, Ph.D.: How Work-Life Conflict Affects the Family Relationships | All Together #33

In this episode, host Gabriella Joustra is joined by Kelly D. Chandler, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in Human Development and Family Sciences at the College of Health, Oregon State University

Work-family conflict arises when the demands and responsibilities of work and family roles are incompatible, pulling individuals in different directions. Recognizing and addressing work-family conflict requires individuals to balance their work and family roles, set boundaries, and prioritize self-care to mitigate the negative impacts on their well-being. 

Meet Kelly D. Chandler, Ph.D.

Kelly D. Chandler, Ph.D., is an associate professor of human development and family sciences at the College of Health, Oregon State University. Kelly applies a work-family justice lens to study how working conditions, workplace culture, and work-family policies affect employees’ and their families’ health and daily lives. She also examines the implications of work for family processes, including emotional transmission, family routines, and parental socialization.

About the episode

Work-family conflict is not just a personal issue but a significant stressor that affects physical and mental health and even mortality rates. It has a ripple effect, impacting family dynamics, relationships, and the well-being of all family members. For instance, a parent’s work stress can lead to irritability or withdrawal at home, affecting their interactions and connections with their partner and children.

Work-family balance is often portrayed as ideal where work and family demands are perfectly aligned. However, this notion is somewhat misleading and unattainable for most. A more realistic approach is striving for work-family fit, focusing on congruence between work and family roles, abilities, and resources to meet demands in both areas.

Kelly shared strategies for individuals on how to deal with work-family balance:

  • Establish a Healthy Routine: Prioritize exercise and sleep to maintain your well-being.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Engaging in meditation can help reduce work-family conflict.
  • Manage Expectations: Set realistic goals for what you can achieve in both work and family.
  • Create Boundaries: Limit work encroachment into family time by setting clear limits on work availability.
  • Communication: Keep open lines of communication with family members about work pressures and seek their support and understanding.

Kelly also shared that family members should share caregiving and household responsibilities to ease one another’s burden. The family should make the most of their available time by engaging in meaningful family activities. They should regularly discuss work and family experiences, challenges, and achievements to foster closer relationships.

Employers play a crucial role in addressing work-family conflict. This includes offering flexible working arrangements, fostering a supportive work culture, and providing resources to help employees manage their work and family commitments more effectively.

In conclusion

Managing work-family conflict is a complex challenge that requires a multifaceted approach. It requires more than individual effort; it demands societal and policy changes. This includes advocating for family-friendly workplace policies, challenging traditional gender roles, and recognizing diverse families’ unique challenges. With this, family members can work towards a more supportive environment that allows everyone to thrive personally and professionally.

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