Work-Life Balance in the Recession and Beyond

What happens to work-life balance in a time of economic recession and austerity measures? Do economic pressures overshadow social and individual concerns and if so, are policies and practices to support work-life balance threatened, or will austerity drive innovative and positive changes?

The aims of this seminar series are to:

  • understand the work-life challenges for employees, employers and policy-makers posed by economic recession and austerity measures;
  • provide a forum for a range of stakeholders, from academia, business, the public and voluntary sectors, to discuss how to meet these challenges;
  • contribute to current policy debates on work-life balance, and on the quality of working life, happiness, social justice, equalities, and care-giving.

Seminars, which will take place at a variety of venues, will examine the implications of the economic environment for gender equality, health and well-being, care and care-giving, employment relations and workplace innovations. They will also explore the impacts of economic recession and austerity measures on individuals, families, organizations and the wider community. Contributors will highlight experiences in the UK and in other national contexts as well as innovative workplace and policy initiatives.

An underlying theme of the series is the question of how to meet a triple agenda of:
  • enhancing employee work-life balance
  • sustaining or enhancing organisational effectiveness, and
  • contributing to social justice.

News (June 2014)

On 19th June 2014 the organisers of the seminar series co-ordinated a symposium at the Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN) conference in New York (download the presentations here). The WFRN is an international membership organization of interdisciplinary work and family researchers. The WFRN also welcomes the participation of policy makers and practitioners as it seeks to promote knowledge and understanding of work and family issues among the community of global stakeholders. Their website can be accessed at

News (November 2014)

On 7th November 2014 Jeanne Fagnani gave a presentation on behalf of the organisers of the seminar series at the 6th European Conference on personal and household services in Brussels, which this year was devoted the the topic of work-life balance “Personal and Household Services and work-life balance: what economic and social contribution for our future?”

News (January 2015)

A new ESRC funded project is underway at the University of Kent. Work Autonomy, Flexibility and Work-Life Balance (WAF project) aims to examine how work autonomy and working-time flexibility (flexi-time) is being used and provided, and how it can be used to benefit worker’s work-life balance rather than to lead to spill-overs and blurring of work and family life.

Carers UK and Employers for Carers are currently conducting a short online survey (closing date 27 February 2015) about caring and isolation in the workplace. Gathering evidence from working carers is a vital part of campaigning and building better support for carers both in and out of the workplace and the findings will be published (with recommendations for employers and other parties) at the next Employers for Carers members’ event at the end of March.

A call for papers has been issued for the 6th International Carers Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 4-6 September 2015, which is being co-hosted by Carers UK. The event will be attended by researchers, policy makers and practitioners and will provide an opportunity to discuss emerging policy and practice across the globe.

News (February 2015)

British Psychological Society, Research Seminar Series: “Exploring the ‘always on culture’: implications of technology use across the working life span for well-being, work-life balance and work outcomes”. 

Dr Christine Grant, Professor Gail Kinman, Dr Almuth MacDowell, Dr Cristina Quinones and Svenja Schlachter will be hosting a series of three seminars on information communication technology (ICT) use through the life span and its implications for work-life balance. The first seminar is 27th March 2015. Details can be downloaded here.