For many years, researchers have focused on the negative outcomes, such as stress and health problems, that can be associated with employees balancing work and family demands. However, within work-family research, one area that has become more popular over the past several years is work-family facilitation, which examines how work and family demands, rather than competing with one another, can actually be beneficial and make an individual more effective in both the work and family domains.
RESEARCHING WORK-FAMILY FACILITATION
The authors of a recent paper (Culbertson et al., 2012) examined the impact of work engagement on work-family facilitation. Collecting data on a daily basis over the course of two weeks from over 50 individuals, the researchers found that both work engagement and work-family facilitation appear to vary considerably from day to day. More importantly, the researchers also found that daily work engagement had a positive relationship with family life, such that employees who were more engaged with their work tended to have more positive experiences both at work and at home.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
One of the main findings of this study is the notion that work engagement may be best conceptualized as a state-like concept, as opposed to a more permanent trait-like concept; this finding suggests that organizations can influence work engagement through workplace policies and interventions. This capability for organizations to influence engagement is especially important in light of this study’s other main finding; namely, that engagement appears to enhance work-family facilitation. So, through improving engagement, organizations may be able to positively impact work-family facilitation for their employees as well, thus providing a number of benefits to everyone involved.
Culbertson, S., Mills, M., & Fullager, C. (2012). Work engagement and work-family facilitation: Making homes happier through positive affective spillover. Human Relations, 65, 1155-1177.