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Work life balance is a very broader term and often referred to finding the right equilibrium between the different aspects and roles in a life of a person. Although there are different views and concepts about work/life balance but it is generally coupled with maintaining an overall balance in different aspects of life.
In this study of work/life balance the main objective will be to examin the people's ability to handle concurrently the versatile demands of life. Work/life balance demands the right balance and equal amount of time devoted to official as well as personal life. The theory of this concept is not that simple and requires many developments and additional components to be incorporated. Generally there are three aspects of work/life balance:
Although it is very difficult to maintain all of the above three mentioned equilibrium at a time but in different scenarios different level of equilibrium can be attained. For example a person can attain satisfaction equilibrium by working long hours and earning more money on the opportunity cost of time equilibrium because it he will work for a long duration he wouldn't be able to give proper time to his community, family and friends.
Similarly if a person is not interested in his off-work activities then after giving a proper time to these activities (Time Equilibrium) he wouldn't be able to achieve his desired satisfaction level.
WHY WORK/LIFE BALANCE SO IMPORTANT?
During the last decade technological revolution has stormed all aspects of life and there were different debates about the future of work. Different scenarios predicted a rising trend in un-employment and economic insecurity. Industrial restructuring and emergence of latest technology no only affected the importance of workforce but it was also felt that employees will be treated as superfluous overheads.
Over the past few decades, there has been substantial increase in work which is felt due to a very stiff competition in global markets and ever increasing pressure and demands from the organizations that expects more and more from their employees yet offers a very little security and compensations in return. For many employees today including both male and female their lives are becoming more complex and difficult with an increased burden of family and other personal responsibilities and interests. Therefore, in an effort to retain employees and maximize their performance, it is increasingly important for organizations to recognize this balance.
This increased pressure has affected the life of worker in many ways. It is not only harming the social norms but also causing many physical and psychological diseases such as heart problem, weak immune system, stiff muscles, exhaustion and jumpiness etc. Increased working hours means there will be very less time to be spend with family and community. If an employee is not mentally satisfied or balanced, he will not be able to perform his duties with due diligence and care.
Now, however, things have taken altogether a different turn. Employees' quality of work-life is becoming a burning issue all over the world. For a growing number of employers, human resource challenges are their biggest concern. Leading employers are recognizing that positive work-life outcomes for employees - from achieving work-life balance to the satisfactions of challenging work and career development - are key ingredients of a successful business strategy. In practice, improving the quality of work life remains a tough challenge. Naturally, many managers see the important links between the quality of work life and organizational performance. Yet they face barriers to progress. So it is necessary to update the case for taking action to improve the quality of jobs and work environments.
A happy and well balanced employee will not only perform his daily operation with utmost care but will also be able to avoid different complex social problems. Work/life programs will not only help to boost employees' morale, reduce absenteeism, preventing the outflow of valuable information of the organization in difficult economic situations but will also reduce the cost and affect the overall performance of the company. It is very important for the human resource professional to understand the critical issues of work/life balance. Be it employees whose family members and/or friends are called to serve their country, single mothers who are trying to raise their children and make a living.
OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH:
To understand the concept of work/life balance.
To understand the importance of a good and happy relationship between employer and employee.
To evaluate the importance of work/life balance from the perspective of both the employer and employees.
To define the role of employer in maintaining work/life balance.
To find out the solutions of different problems arising in maintaining work/life balance in an organization.
IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD AND SPIRITED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE:
The success story of any successful organization lies in a good and happy relationship between the management and its employee because the implementation stage of any strategy or policy involves the bottom line of the organization that is workers. It is very necessary to understand the importance of a satisfied workforce because they are the people directly involved in daily operations (Production) and contributing towards maximizing the profitability of the organization. It is the responsibility of the higher management to make sure the participation of workers in decision making up to a certain level. A system of feedback regarding new strategies and policies must be established within organization.
A happy relationship between employer and employee will not only help to boost employees' morale, reduce absenteeism, preventing the outflow of valuable information of the organization in difficult economic situations but will also reduce the cost and affect the overall performance of the company. It is very important for the human resource professional to understand the critical issues of work/life balance. It will not only establish a supportive and friendly image of organization but will also be helpful in achieving the ultimate goals of the organization that is profit and turnover maximization.
IMPORTANCE OF WORK/LIFE BALANCE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF EMPLOYER:
A balanced culture/environment in any organization will not only be helpful for employees in different ways but it will also provide many tangible benefits to the business. Implementing work/life balance provides an excellent opportunity to consult with staff to review the job design and develop innovative and supportive work practices. This sort of consultation will ensure the needs of individuals are met and a more agile workplace is achieved. It will also lead to a greater level of employee commitment to the success of the business. By minimizing the employee's turnover in organization you will not only boost your repute as a good employer but it will also help to achieve the quality standard of products out prevent the outflow of valuable inside information to other organizations because if a skilled worker will leave the organization it will take a hell lot of time any money to replace him with some other suitable person.
IMPORTANCE OF WORK/LIFE BALANCE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF EMPLOYEE:
The For human being, home is a shadow of heaven on earth where he goes and takes rest but due to imbalance structure between work and life it has become an additional place of work with plenty of office tasks and assignment. Any human being will be able to perform his duties and tasks deliberately only when he/she has a right balance in between his/her official and personal life.
A balanced and happy employee is more likely to perform better at work and can provide many tangible benefits for a business. There are new ways to make work 'work' that benefit both employers and employees. In fact, research shows that flexibility is a critical component of workplace effectiveness and that employees who work in flexible and effective work places are more likely to:
Be engaged in their jobs and committed to helping the company succeed.
Plan on staying with their employers.
Be satisfied with their job, which translates to good customer service.
Exhibit better mental health and wellbeing.
ROLE OF EMPLOYER IN MAINTAINING WORK/LIFE BALANCE:
One of the greatest debate is who bears the biggest responsibility in maintain equilibrium between official and personal life of a person? But according to the given circumstances the major burden definitely falls on the employer and those who are the part of senior management because these are the people who demand as much as work from their employees and tries to minimize the cost on the verge of the work force. Things have changed a lot now because different research works have showed the physical and mental health effects of heavy work load which ultimately affects the productivity and profitability of the company in the long run.
Now it is usually made sure that an appropriate work-life balance exists in organizational culture which means employee will be at less risk for many serious health conditions that result from overwork and stress. Overworked employees not only exposed to many serious physical and mental diseases but also face many problems and issues in their social and family lives. This is a very alarming situation because those employees who spent the most of their time at work are usually error prone.
On the other hand those employees who spend most of their time at off-work activities will usually be un-productive and not reliable. Such individuals are found in every office and they are major concern for the management.
So it is the responsibility of the business owners to address the problems of these individuals. Management should encourage these individual to contribute more towards productivity. If an employee spend four hours working at home and solve twice as many problems as trapping them in the office for eight hours, he should be encouraged by the management.
Employer can offer different workshops and information to employees about work-life balance, and should make sure that the policies regarding these issues must be followed strictly. Different technology tools must also be introduced to employees, which help them in creating the right balance between their lives.
Sometime it is difficult for small business owners to implement these policies and rules due to the high cost, time consumption or some other reason then the burden of responsibility falls on the employees to maintain the right balance in their lives and they should consult their HR managers in this regard.
BARRIERS TOWARD IMPLEMENTING WORK/LIFE BALANCE:
Sometime the culture of an organization enforces long working hours and requires high organizational commitment.
A secluded, antagonistic and un-supportive environment of an organization also creates a hurdle toward implementing the right balance.
Unnecessary interference and attitude of high rank management.
Inadequate knowledge about importance of work life balance.
Communication gap at different level of hierarchy.
HOW WE CAN ENCOURAGE WORK/LIFE BALANCE IN EMPLOYEES:
Here are some techniques that companies can use to keep their work forces healthy and productive.
Management support is very important in order to maintain a balance in organizational environment. By maintaining a good balance top rank officers can set an example for lower rank workers and should encourage them for this purpose.
It is very important to identify that what are the most important tasks so that employees can schedule these tasks on their priority basis.
Questionnaires must be circulated inside organization on regular basis so that the company can understand the problems of its employees and make proper policies to counter them.
Different seminars and workshop must be conducted on regular basis because it will enable employees to understand the importance of work/life and manage their work load.
The concept of job sharing must be introduced in organizational culture and employer must be encouraged to share their responsibilities with each other because it will not only reduce the stress from the employee but also will improve the quality of work because of brainstorming.
Different telecommunication tools can also be used to improve the balance such as video conferencing because via use of such tools, an employee can perform his professional duties while caring someone at home.
Senior managers and administrators should make sure that the employees are utilizing their annual leaves properly and policy such as use-it or loose-it must be introduced.
There must be limitations on workers to take the office work at home and management should discourage it.
"Bring-your-kids-to-work day" is a way to get employees' families involved in their work lives. The opportunity to share a day of work with children is a benefit that many employees appreciate.
To develop an initial understanding of the concepts of Employees Satisfaction and loyalty, we have to give attention to the historical view of this concept; this chapter will be focusing on history of work/life balance concept, research on work/life balance and role of HRM departments in maintaining a balanced environment in organizational structure.
HISTORY OF WORK/LIFE BALANCE
During the 1960s and 1970s, the concept of work/life balance was a new one and was basically used for those working mothers who usually struggle to cop up the requirements of their jobs as well as raising their children. However during the 1980s the importance of work life balance acknowledged all over the world and many multinational companies introduced the policies and measures to secure the rights of the workers and tried to maintain a right balance in their culture. By the end of the decade, work-life balance was seen as more than just a women's issue and male workers also raised their voices.
By the mid of the 1990s work-life balance became a fundamental issue for individuals and it became a necessary part of the strategies of all the organizations all over the world. This growing awareness of the central importance of the issue resulted in major growth in attempted work-life solutions during this decade and many new studies and ideas emerged.
As for today the situation has changed drastically and many changes have been made in labour law regarding the protection of rights of the workers and these changes in laws also have a significant affect on HRM policies and strategies of the organizations.
ROLE OF HRM DEPARTMENT IN MAINTAINING WORK/LIFE BALANCE:
HRM play an important role in the defining the strategies and policies and then implementing them to maintain a healthy work life balance in any organization. They should make sure that regular workshops and seminars are being conducted to highlight the importance of work/life balance in their organizations. They will have to play a key role in maintaining the right balance as they are the change agents. The dual purpose training can play a vital role and prove to be a successful tool for HR managers because it emphasized the concept of a successful on-work and off-work balance.
HR managers can adopt
The main objective of this research is to create an understanding of the importance of work/life balance in the lives of employees as well as in the progress of the organization.
The data collected through a questionnaire circulated and interview conducted in different organizations will form the base of this research work. The above mentioned questionnaire will consist of different questions relating to the work/life balance and it will target a group of 20 workers selected through random sampling representing the population as a whole.
For the purpose of reference and other historical information different books, journals, articles and websites will be consulted.
Time frame for completion of research is as under:
Data Collection (Primary & Secondary)
Drafting & Composing