Give Yourself a Present: Leave Your Stress at Work When You Go Home

Do you take your work home with you? Because if you do, that’s not okay.

I’m not talking about the occasional project you need to finish up, or the email you just need to get through. No, I mean the much more insidious effect of bringing your work problems home.

Research reported on MSNBC discussed how bad bosses affect far more than your work life:

While the employees with bad bosses didn’t report problems with their families, their spouses often did. Bad bosses led to more blow-ups between husbands and wives and to families that didn’t communicate well and weren’t close.

What’s happening, Carlson said, is that employees think they’re leaving their problems behind in the office, but they’re really just playing them out at home…”

Spouses get work problems brought home

The concerning element here is the employees thinks they’re leaving their problems at work. Spouses beg to differ – and are taking the brunt of the impact.

There’s a tendency for people to think they can tough it out for the sake of the family, Carlson said. But this study, she said, ‘shows the importance of trying to remove yourself from a situation like this because it’s not just hurting you, it’s hurting your [spouse] and your kids.’”

And remember, this doesn’t just affect your family at home. Other research shows your spouse takes this negative emotion into his or her own workplace as well.

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Bosses, I ask of you – don’t be a holiday Grinch. Read through some of my older articles on what employees need from you to better their work experience. Their kids and spouses (and spouses’ bosses) will thank you.

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at


1 Comment on “Give Yourself a Present: Leave Your Stress at Work When You Go Home

  1. Bringing work stress home is a major problem for people and it spills over into all aspects of their personal lives if left unchecked. I think the first few seconds you have when you arrive at home is super critical to how the rest of your evening goes. Great article.

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