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This report is about flexible working practices and work-life balance. The report will be looking at flexible working in general, difficulties in performance, as how the working environment is and what changes applied in it.
It is also going to be looking at areas of resistance, people in the organisations, current working arrangements, and industry sector behaviour as well as looking at the shorter and longer term benefits of it.
The expression Flexible working can be used in different type of ways in contented with work. This can be flexible arrangements like, term-time, part-time, full-time, job-share or flexitime working, patterns of working or the flexibility of the labour market.
Flexible working can also be made to employees on an official or unofficial basis
According to the latest Workplace Employee Relations Survey (WERS) many organisations are offering staffs the chance to different ways of flexible working and managers are starting to show more understanding of staff responsibly outside work and many managers also believe that is the employee's responsibility to balance their work and family.
What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance is employees struggling to find working agreement to go well with their personal commitments. Some employees suffer from working too hard, long hours and constant worry. Surveys have shown that people with flexible working hours are more engage in their work than others without flexible working patterns.
Policies of flexible working and other work-life balance are now days becoming more of a norm in many workplaces, large organisations or public sectors.
Difficulties in implementation?
If flexible working practices are to work manager should know that performance is only based on outcomes and results and not on presents in the office.
What is the environment like now?
There are many outside factor that can effect what an organisation can do and the people working in it relate to each other. This outside factors that can influence the organisation and its environment is PEST.
Political/ legal is government laws and regulations that can effect organisations, economic
How do you implement change?
There are different ways to implement change in a business; it can be effective communication and flexible working hours. Organizations can start with rising above operational demands, the manager's ability to manage and attitudes toward flexible working can help make change easier.
This can also be done by setting up a structure and making sure everyone is clear of their roles and responsibilities in the organization. Invest in constant communication and understandably expanding, as well as evaluating how your organization contributes to the culture of flexible working. The organisation needs to invest in changing the mindsets of line managers and focus on helping them to manage their people more efficiently.
Areas of resistance?
People in the organization:
People in the organisations are the employees of the organisation and therefore it is important to the well being of those employees comes for most. Many employees working long hours have reported that this have effected them in some sort of negative impact on their health, relationships and job performance.
Having an effective work-life balance strategy is not just about complying with the law, but is also about finding your employee needs and priorities and consider how that met those needs as well as meeting the organisation needs at the same time.
Years ago, people in the UK used to work more than 50 hours per week, and gradually is started to decrease as more women entered the workforce as part-time workers.
In must organisations before working part-time was the most common option of flexible working that the organizations offer, but now there are different types of flexible working, going from variable working hours, job sharing, working from the home, term-time-only working annualised hours etc.
Current working arrangements:
Currently there are different types of working arrangements, going from full-time working, where the employees works 39 hours per week, part-time working, when the employee is working anything less than full-time hours. Then there is term-time working, where employees take unpaid leaves during school holidays, job-sharing, where employees share responsibility for a job, flexitime is when the employee is allow to choose when to start and end work. Compressed hours working is when the employee sometimes works longer sometime shorter hours in a week, annual hours is the kind of work arrangement where the work is defined for the whole year. Then there is working from the home which has been an increasing working arrangement over the past years, and also career breaks have been popular, where the employee is allowed to take unpaid leave up to five years or more.
At the moment all employees have the right to a minimum of 24 days paid annual holiday and limited working hours per week is 48 hours. Unpaid parental leave and time off is offered for employees with children, dependent partners or elderly parents to look after. Women have 52 weeks of maternity leave, paternity leave of 2 weeks for fathers and employees adopting a child have adoption leave as well.
Industry sector behaviours:
In many organisations nowadays employees are encouraged to protect their health, so that they can be able to deal or handle stress more effectively. They industries are offering private healthcares, health screening, exercise services like gyms at workplaces and also reviewing their employee's work-life balance on regular basis.
D) How to convince managers?
There are many reasons why companies make use of flexible working, this can be to help them retain the staff they already have, to meet the needs of some employees that need to balance their working hours. Using flexible working can also help recruit new staff for the company and comply with legislations at the same time.
Although there might be some additional costs to adopting the policies of work-life balance, outweighed by the positive achievements and one of the biggest obstacle to this change is persuading individual line managers to accept more flexible working arrangements. Because most line managers seem to believe that flexible working arrangements will cause problems.
The benefits that come to companies when introducing policies about work-life balance can be higher efficiency and competitiveness. It can also increase flexibility and customer service to cover for absence or holidays. Employees might be more motivated, committed and feel valued by the organisation.
A survey has found that workers on flexible working contracts happens to be more emotionally engaged and more satisfied with their work, also more likely to talk positive about the business and less likely to quit than others without flexible working contracts.
Think about the business case:
The businesses should develop strategies for work-life balance, which is much about the process of making changes. Having a work-life strategy will not only benefit the employees but it will also benefit the businesses.
Look for the shorter and longer term benefits:
One might ask itself what the benefits of flexible working is and the answer is there are many benefits, going from short to long terms.
The labour market is very tight at the moment there for retaining employees and the ability to be able to recruit is very important to organisations. Therefore many organisations offer flexible working and most organisations gain, because of an increasing need for companies to be able to deliver services to customers at any time.
Studies have shown that many people including managerial and professional workers take work home almost every day, technology and new flexible working arrangements has enabled many to be continuously accessible. The benefits do not only favor women, but also many fathers, partners are dependants. This will reduces broken relationships and also create stronger and more stable families which will lead to less crime and anti-social behaviour in the future, and everyone will benefit from that.
Consider international environment:
Other developed countries have more paid leaves than UK workers, but unlike other EU countries where people working tend to work in hotels and restaurants, where as in the UK people working long hours tend to work in manufacturing or sometime managers tend to also work long hours.
Has the report has discuses weekly working hours in the UK are decreasing yearly, both from full-time to part-time.
More and more people have to juggle responsibilities at home and in the workplace.
many people find that work demands get in the way of their non-work commitments.