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Family life takes back seat under workplace pressures

C+D Salary Survey 2013 Work commitments put ‘worrying’ pressure on personal lives, Salary Survey finds


Pharmacists' family lives are suffering due to work commitments in a trend industry leaders have described as "worrying", the C+D Salary Survey 2013 has revealed. The majority of the 1,458 readers responding to the survey said their jobs impacted on family life to some extent – with some reporting they had been unable to start a family due to work commitments. The problem appeared to be most serious among contractors, 60 per cent of whom said work got in the way of their personal lives "a lot". The figure fell to 30 per cent among locums and 26 per cent among employees. Roughly half of employees and locums said work affected their home lives "a little". Unsurprisingly, few pharmacists reported a healthy work-life balance. Locums were the happiest group, with 18 per cent rating it as completely healthy, but only 10 per cent of employees and 7 per cent of contractors enjoyed the same balance.  

The majority of the 1,548 respondents to the C+D Salary Survey 2013 said their jobs impacted on their family life to some extent

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Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott branded C+D's findings "worrying" even when taking into account the pressures of a tough economy and overstretched NHS.

RPS English Pharmacy Board member and contractor Sid Dajani identified with the bleak picture painted by pharmacy owners. He reported rarely closing his pharmacy on time – causing his life outside work to suffer. "The lack of resources means we can't hire more staff and, even when we do go home, it's hard to switch off. It's bloody hard and it's getting worse," he told C+D.

Mr Dajani said his personal relationships had suffered due to work commitments. "We are ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs," he argued. "That means we run out of energy and rely on the goodwill of friends and family to put up with us when we are running late." Donna Obstfeld, managing director of HR company DOHR, said she was not surprised pharmacy owners had the most trouble achieving a balance between life and work. "I don't really know of any industry where business owners do not find their family life impacted by work," she explained. Ms Obstfeld said many contractors struggled to deal with HR, finance, marketing, IT and stocks during their working days. "Many of these duties are done in an evening at home, and will have an impact on family life," she told C+D. But the Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) argued that employees also faced increasingly demanding professional lives. The current oversupply of pharmacists enabled employers to make "unreasonable" demands, reported PDA Union general secretary John Murphy. "Pharmacists are applying themselves to working long hours without breaks or in conditions that are not conducive to safe practice for fear of being labelled non-performing, non-team players or ‘lacking leadership' by their manager," he told C+D. "Many are unwilling to complain because they do not want to ‘rock the boat' or be labelled as a troublemaker."

Your shout

● "I do not know if I have time to start a family. I am now 38 and still can't see a time when I will be able to have a family and for it to fit around work." ● "I have been accommodated with childcare-friendly hours where possible" ● "I have a term-time contract, but have been told I will be asked regularly if I still require it" ● "I have a continual battle, as my [employers] expect me to do my job and my family expects me to put them first" ● "I haven't had a family due to spending all my time working away from home" ● "I am always exhausted after a working day and often feel unsociable" Source: C+D Salary Survey 2013

Charity Pharmacist Support said it received calls from pharmacists who felt the pressure of working long hours with few breaks. Four in five respondents to its survey in November last year said they felt stressed "often" or "all the time", it told C+D. Of these, 80 per cent said the source of stress was solely work or "more work than home".

Do you feel your home life suffers because of your work?

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