February 25, 2020
A problem shared may be a problem halved but, according to a new report, many UK office workers can’t discuss work with their nearest and dearest without them switching off. The survey by CWJobs claims couples are more likely to know the PIN to their partner’s phone (40 percent) or who their favourite band is (38 percent) than understand what they do for a living (30 percent). Three quarters of the workers surveyed said their spouse could not explain their job to another person.
Nearly six in ten office workers said they dread trying to explain their job to friends and family. Four in ten reported that their friends and family switch off when they speak about their job, leaving them frustrated (23 percent), annoyed (22 percent) and lonely (17 percent). Seven in ten have “dumbed down” their work when explaining it to partners, family or friends to avoid an argument.
Three in ten respondents said their friends and family care more about the money they make than their actual career. Some said discussing work had even led their relationship to end in breakup or divorce.
Commenting on the report, Dr Julia Yates, Professor of Psychology at The City, University of London, said: “Communicating about our work with our loved ones is valuable for our relationships and for our mental health. But as our roles become more and more specialised, it can prove frustrating as our friends and family don’t readily understand the ins and outs of our jobs, and sometimes don’t seem all that interested. The CWJobs research has uncovered some of the specific challenges that we all face, offering some important insights for those striving for better communication.”
Tech workers “the most misunderstood”
More than three quarters of tech workers said they dread discussing work with their social circle because of the complexity of their role.
The survey was conducted among 2,000 office workers and 500 workers in tech and IT, which the researchers said was the most misunderstood industry. More than three quarters of tech workers said they dread discussing work with their social circle because of the complexity of their role. Eight in ten had been asked by people they know to fix technology they’re unfamiliar with and more than half are asked at least once a week. A further 50 percent said they feel stereotyped by their job, the most common assumption being that their office is full of nerds – just like the IT Crowd.
Mental health benefits of “talking shop”
Those respondents who felt able to talk about work freely and openly cited a range of benefits. About a third said they benefited from a fresh perspective, 30 percent said talking had helped resolve an issue at work and a further quarter said it helps maintain good mental health. Nearly three in ten said that support at home had helped them secure a new job, pay rise or promotion.
“Work-life balance is something we all strive for”, said Dominic Harvey, Commercial Director at CWJobs. “Communicating about your daily work stresses with your family and friends can make you feel heard and alleviate feelings of stress or isolation.”
Image by Gerhard Gellinger