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When work comes home

If you feel bad for taking a call from your boss when you’re in the middle of dinner with the family, or guilty for typing away at an e-mail when you’re meant to be spending time with the kids then you’re not alone. According to researchers, women who respond to work queries at home are far more likely to feel guilty than men…

When we come home after a long day in the office, many of us love to kick back, relax and spend time with the family. But if you get anxious whenever your BlackBerry buzzes with a work-related phonecall or e-mail, it could be because you’re feeling guilty about under-performing at home.

Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that answering emails and phone calls from colleagues causes women psychological distress even when it does not interfere with family life.

Men, on the other hand, are less likely to experience guilt when responding to work-related issues in the home.

Lead researcher Scott Schieman said: "Guilt seems to play a pivotal role in distinguishing women’s work-family experiences from men’s.

"While women have increasingly taken on a central role as economic providers in today’s dual-earner households, strong cultural norms may still shape ideas about family responsibilities.

"These forces may lead some women to question or negatively evaluate their family role performance when they’re trying to navigate work issues at home."

Paul Glavin, who worked on the study, said: "We found that women are able to juggle their work and family lives just as well as men, but they feel more guilty as a result of being contacted. This guilt seems to be at the heart of their distress."

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Image: Stefan Bladh/Scanpix/Press Association Images

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