Welcome. This is the first blog from the Lancaster University Future Reserves Research team. Our research is looking specifically at how reservists cope with the competing responsibilities of military service, family life and civilian employment. We have recently finished an important phase in our project, of reviewing research that has already been carried out on the interactions between the Army Reserves and Regulars, between reservists and their civilian employment and the interactions reservists have with their family. The majority of studies focusing on the Reserves have been conducted in the US, with other notable research being carried out in Australia, Canada and the UK. There were several reoccurring themes:
- Being in the Reserves is reported to challenge the work/life balance. The greatest difficulties seem to be when a Reservist is mobilised and this was reported to be the greatest concern for family and civilian employers.
- Challenges at the time of mobilisation. Although mobilisation could lead to positive personal outcomes such as the ability to remain calm in a stressful situation and resulting levels of confidence, Reservists also reported being concerned about not being able to address family or civilian work issues. Mobilisation meant family and work colleagues were required to cover roles and initial difficulties were reported to ease over time. Spouses reported family and military support, social networks and regular communication with the mobilised partner as key factors in dealing with practical and emotional stressors such as childcare and concern for the Reservists safety.
- Reintegration was also reported as a challenge for Reservists, their families and civilian employment.
Our Lancaster team are interested in your experiences of being a British Army Reservist, including the positive and negative interactions between your army employment, civilian employment and your home life. In particular, we want to:
- understand your reasons for joining the Reserves;
- identify any barriers to becoming and remaining a reservist you might have experienced; and
- identify potential resources that may help to minimise potential conflicts and enhance your positive experiences of enrichment across roles.
Our next blog will update you on our own research so far,
Matthew Hall and the Lancaster University Research Team
Ministry of Defence (2011). Future Reserves 2020. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/28394/futurereserves_2020.pdf