How working life offers new challenges and opportunities


Many Businesses and organisations are run very differently today. Today's business changes have altered contemporary life to bring new opportunities and challenges to individuals in society.

Working life has had new additions and it is important to organisations that individuals adapt to these changes to fit into changing environments. In order for this to work and happen, individuals have to be newly flexible and have a different attitude towards work.

Primary Sector

The primary sector of the economy is defined as extracts from the earth. This produce includes mainly raw materials and food. Examples that are associated with this sector are mining, farming, quarrying, fishing etc. It may also be broadly explained as the 'first stage' of production. This sector requires a very specific skill set in these areas and because output is significant and the tasks undertaken in this sector are specific and require training. It tends to be highly labour intensive.

Secondary Sector

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The secondary sector of the economy manufactures processes and construction to create the finished product. This would include jobs such as textile production, energy utilities, engineering jobs etc. In this field of work the labour turnover is relatively high this could be due to low wages or the working conditions of the environment; the type of work in this sector can be repetitive and monotonous with little motivation for workers, however this could lead to people leaving and finding a new job that is better suited to their skills.

Tertiary Sector

The Tertiary sectors of economy service industry such as retail and wholesalers, restaurants, clerical services, banking etc. This is very popular sector and is most countries it is growing rapidly for example it is the largest sector in the UK. There tends to be many employment opportunities in the service industry which can make it attractive to those seeking work.

Today's society has changed in many ways including how individuals engage in searching for a job or choosing a career. More people particularly younger people are interested in higher education, thus allowing them to achieve acknowledged qualifications and a competitive edge over others applying for the same job. It also provides a stepping stone towards a professional career or one which is regarded as a 'higher status' career. This scheme helps because it gives the individual a sense of direction into what kind of path or career they aspire to be a part of.

Charles Handy's Shamrock Organisation

A concept brought forward by Charles Handy is focused on the development of employment of modern society.

Charles Handy argued and stated that employees want to develop their own skills and intelligence rather than using new technology or carrying on with the same job (machines or manual labour)

Charles Handy suggests that contract workers are more popular for a business to survive.

Research shows that individuals have a wide variety of personal skills and want to develop those skills instead of sticking with the same job long term.

Core Staff

The first leaf relates to the qualified professionals such as technicians and mangers. People in this sector have a detailed knowledge of the business; they have a high status in business. They are rewarded with high salaries and good benefits.

In return they worker harder than most and can even work longer hours and are very much committed.

Significant Temporary Workforce

This contracted leaf consists of people who are external employees. This could include catering, computing and mailing services. They are rewarded with a fee basis instead of salaries. Their contribution is measured in results rather than the time or hours they have worked.


The third leaf represents part time or temporary workers. They must build a strong relationship with the organisation; this will then show their worthiness.

When looking at temp workers it is very easy to see when big organisations are looking for temporary staff. E.g. Asda or Morrisons when its Christmas holidays. Staffs are needed at this busy period. There are also Temp agencies now recruiting to organisations.

In today's economic crisis, employees can not get to comfortable. E.g. Mini Cooper got rid of temp staff to cut costs. (850 employees lost their jobs February 2009).

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Individuals look to work temporary because it may suit their lifestyle instead of working the 9-5. E.g. Saving up around Christmas may inspire people to look for temporary jobs around that period.

Due to the current economic climate people suffer from job insecurity, redundancy and job losses, it is now much more of and advantage to have qualifications because it allows you to become an asset to the company because you have already been taught therefore less training is required.

Downsizing has been a very common problem within large and small organisations. This has affected individuals to become stressed, angry, less motivated. Even loyal work colleagues have been dismissed.

Most Organisations are downsizing today, this result to workers in the future selling there services and advice on very short term contracts. This has major impacts on workers asking questions:

Can organisations commit?

What is the health of the organisation?

Will women now become the main money makers as they have a more flexible approach to work?

Between the 1970's and 1980's it was era known as 'Enterprise of Culture' this period of time became increasingly better on economics side of business. But as business was moving forwards and faster, workers began to feel strain and stress this was work related and this became a very common factor with everyday working people.

By the late 1990's the recession was have dominating affects on organisations. To get out of this economic mess, organisations began to downsize, delay or flatten sectors within the company. This had a very negative impact as they were many job losses and many different changes in patterns of work and in life.

This also means that there was huge pressure on workers as they would fear for job security. Workers would now be working harder and faster because of fear and job loss. There was also an increase in the level of females in the workforce.

Three types of organisational transactions increased attention; mergers and acquisitions, restructuring and privatizations. Organisations believed this would help them to survive and this would increase the productivity levels within the organisation.

Even though organisations were downsizing, global competition was increasing, there were many new changes such as technology changes in business, and they were now different processes of doing business these affected workers in many job losses.

The major reason to downsize was a strategic approach as well as structural. Some of the main advantages to downsize are that they lower overheads, decreased bureaucracy; there would be smoother and faster decisions made and a general greater efficiency (Kets de Vries and Balazs, 1997).

Global job loss is predicted to continue on organisations, retrenchment and restructuring will continue (Haugen and Meisentieimer, 1991).

Job Security is mostly considered and to stress and pain and this has increased potentially with the work force. Studies have shown that stress and pain is related with the work load given.

Job Security comes from crucial and critical decisions organisations have to make. This can be to merge and expand or to downsize and delay projects. This again has massive strains on workers feeling stressed and a physiological strain.

Because workers are strained at work their attitudes to work life can have a negative impact on their children in terms of their aspirations and beliefs.

Because there is a relationship between the levels of job security that the individual needs it puts strain on what the individual desires.

As organisations look to more new flexible workers, it is suggested that women are preferred due to their flexibility hours. E.g. 5 times as many women are working part time than men.

The difference between part time and full time are the hours worked, (part-time being less hours). Part time workers seem to have clear relationship between the employee and employer and can be the core within the organisation. They can be their when needed and may only like to work with fewer clients and fewer restrictions. For organisations to employee part timers, they need to keep them motivated and driven. Even though part time employees are only slightly disadvantaged compared to the benefits, training and career opportunities. Even though part time workers are only there for a restricted or seasonal basis (e.g. summer jobs) they collectively occupy 20 percent of jobs and perform 10 percent of the hours worked in an organisation (Hakim, 1996). E.g. being on a 6 month contract with an organisation could lead to an employ feeling stress and stain and this could affect the organisation as a whole.

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Technology has also undergone major advancements and we are much more capital intensive as opposed to labour intensive meaning that machinery and equipment can do the same jobs as workers and possibly much more cheaply and efficiently. Organisations have to be prepared to employ someone who knows how to use the machine or train current employees. This has proved to be costly for organisations, but can give them competitive advantage and more than return the cost in the long-term.

Organisations also provide incentives such as bonuses to individuals who perform, this gives them motivation to maintain their work levels or encourage others to improve therefore increasing productivity levels. When looking to recruit employees, internal recruitment may be more appealing to the firm which also provides opportunities and job satisfaction to staff. This also allows the organisation to retain employees because losing them after training them would be a waste of money and valuable time. Internal recruitment can also be much cheaper and beneficial to the firm in terms of the individual understanding the work ethic and also the need for training is reduced.

Gender and Unemployment

There is very little evidence that both genders relate to the same problems and dealings of stress. There are gender difference between the men and women, men are represented in more managerial positions and roles and women tend to be in clerical and service jobs. Research shows that men are higher occupational level and more than twice as women in the lower group (Spielberger and Reteisers, 1994).

Jack and Mitch (1985) show evidence that women get more stressed than men, this meaning in a psychological way. Nelson and Quick (1995) concluded this research by it could be because women get paid lower salaries or dealing with factors such as sexual harassment.

Kessler and McLeod (1984) suggest that there is a greater involvement of family needs and home needs gives more stress to women. This shows that gender does play a vital role within an organisation and how the workplace operates.

Gender differences within the organisation play a vital role with regards to being unemployed. Unemployed women are affected more because they have the more traditional role of being a housewife or looking after their children.

Shamir (1985) shows a sample of the unemployed. It came to the evaluation that men have more psychological difficulties providing for there families, while women identified more with home, children and the community not as much on there careers.

Types of Flexible working

Part Time

Contracted to work less hours

Flexi time

Freedom to work outside of contract hours

Compressed working hours

Fewer working days to fit in hours required

Staggered hours

Different start and finish times to suit the employee

Job sharing

Split between two finish contract hours

Shift swapping

Swapping shifts and workers

Self roasting

Pick your own shift suited to your own times

Zero hours

Only work the hours you need

Home Tele working

Working from home

One popular flexible working time is working from home. This can be decided by an organisation to cut costs or simply there is no office space. This could help the individual a whole amount if they have responsibilities at home e.g. children. There is also a downside to organisation as they have to have a clear communication process between the employee and employer so that everyone involved is working and aiming towards the same goals.

Flexible Firms

Regardless if the economy is up or down, firms and organisations still need to retain and recruit the best and good workers. Research has shown that flexible times are attracted to professionals.

Reduce cost, raise morale this approach is being used as careers have had an effect on workers healthy work life. If a firm wants to save money and keep good workers it needs to have a flexible workplace.

Benefits to an organisation

Reduces turnover

Savings in the long term and short term (e.g. loses of clients, training time etc)

More satisfied workers

Individual benefits

No stress but it increases morale

Work expectations are greater and higher

Greater productivity, satisfaction, loyal and pride





Meaning/ Sense of Direction



Leadership Skills



Sense of purpose

Motivate and Drive

Builds Relationships

Committed Workers


The fear of losing their job

In today's society it's important to have a strong lasting brand name. Organisations have tried to be more ethical and greener. They can try doing this by packaging products differently, using fair trade products and using renewable fuels. This thinking saves money and gives a sustainable brand image which appeals to today's consumers and current market trends.

Work Life Balance

Organisations have understood that to get the most out of their employers they must contribute to them. Making them productive and creative. Life is a process and finding the right balance for you.

This can be very difficult as employees because your staffs are all very different from one another.

Employees must balance life and work to get results.

The right balance for you today is not necessarily going to be the right balance for you tomorrow. E.g. getting married or having etc.

Individuals all have different responsibilities, commitments and priorities in life.

Employers have offered a range of different programmes and schemes to get employees better involved or to come for problems they are having. E.g. The NHS has understands the demands of their staff and have agreed to support staff, in a fair consistent way. These include flexible working, carer breaks, carer leave, and other options to cope with stress outside of work.

To create a good balance an individual as to have a sense of achievement and happiness. With this comes a sense of pride, satisfaction, loyalty, happiness etc.

If you work and work all day there is a chance of being successful but being happy is another thing.