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Managing A Work Life Balance Social Work Essay

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Work-life balance is a broad concept which is closely related and derived from the research of job satisfaction. There are both intrinsic and extrinsic factors which affected perceptions of job satisfaction within individuals. Intrinsic factors referred to job characteristics specifically. However, the extrinsic factors referred to the social and cultural norms the individual holding the job operated by. Hence, Work-life balance was considered one of the inputs of this extrinsic factor.

Hackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model

Work/life balance is the ability to do great work and get all of your other priorities accomplished, too. That means giving people the freedom to choose when and where to do their work so they can best balance every aspect of their life.

The point is, people are working. Work/life balance isn't about doing less work. It's about having the freedom to choose when and where…….

Introduction:-

Why is it important to develop a work-life balance?

The answer lies in how we deal with that old adversary stress. Maintaining a work-life balance is essential in handling stress. Balance is the key to dealing with stress and a chaotic life.

Balance provides us with necessary time to ourselves, enhances our relationships with our families, friends and gives us opportunities to relax. Balance brings our lives into focus, sharpens our perceptions and gives us time to discover ourselves.

Balancing time spent at work and time spent at home doing other activities should be equally balanced. We all need a breather from work and from time to time we require a break from home life. Balance gives us the means to bring our lives into harmony.

Relationships with family, friends and partners suffer when there is an imbalance between work and life. Not only do relationships suffer when there is an imbalance but our work performance suffers as well. If we give our all to one we neglect the other. This creates chaos and stress in our lives. Stress is the byproduct of imbalance and steps should be taken to reduce or avoid stress by balancing work and life.

How can we develop a work-life balance?

In order to develop balance between work and life we must start with giving equal time and attention to both. Never take your work home with you and leave your home life and all of its problems at home. When you are at work be wholly and completely at work and when at home be completely committed to caring about family matters only. This will reduce unnecessary stress on yourself, family and coworkers.

Work Life Balance

Work Life Balance Day was initiated by the National Framework Committee for Work Life Balance Policies in 2001. The Committee seeks to encourage and support employers to put in place a range of flexible working arrangements which help employees to combine employment with the other commitments in their lives. The Committee established a Panel of Consultants who will advise employers on putting in place a Work Life Balance Policy and associated arrangements.

Work Life Balance initiatives can be advantageous to both employers and employees:

For employers, Work Life Balance options can make an organization more attractive to recruitment candidates, as well as supporting the retention of current employees. When recruiting, employers can attract individuals from a wider pool of candidates, providing the organization with the best prospect for selecting high quality employees;

For employees, Work Life Balance options can allow them to remain in, or re-enter, employment while meeting commitments in other parts of their lives (family, education etc).

16 Ways to Encourage Work/Life Balance in Employees

By David Hakala on April 16, 2008

As a recession looms and companies slash their payrolls, it is more important than ever to keep remaining employees productive and happy. One issue that employers constantly wrestle with is work/life balance, the allocation of employees' time and energy between work and family, health activities, hobbies and all of life's nonwork requirements.

Studies have shown that too much work can lead to a variety of stress-related illnesses that sap workers' vitality, making them more prone to errors on the job, absenteeism, burnout and turnover. The tendency for work to dominate employees' lives is increased when layoffs and hiring freezes leave fewer workers with more to do. The remaining workers are often the hardest to replace because they are the best. It behooves companies to encourage employees to sustain healthy work/life balances. Here are some tips that companies can use to keep their work forces healthy and productive.

On-the-Job Training:-

Management

ManagementHYPERLINK "http://www.hrworld.com/management/" support for work/life balance is critical, and it must come from the top. Too often, the perception that hard work is the only way to rise in a company keeps employees at the grindstone, working themselves into illness.

Survey of employee

Surveys of employee's work/life issues can help a company understand workers' needs and design appropriate policies to meet them. Studies have shown that respect for work/life balance needs is high on employees' lists.

Set priorities for all work

When priorities are unclear, employees tend to overwork because they think that everything must get done at once. Setting priorities allows workers to schedule tasks over a reasonable period of time.

Train line managers to recognize signs of overwork.

Supervisors can spot increasing error rates, absenteeism and signs of stress-related burnout more easily than anyone else in the organization. Workers who show these signs of a poor work/life balance can be referred to employee-assistance programs.

Seminars on work/life balance

It can help employees understand its importance and find ways to achieve it. Such seminars teach employees how to better manage their workloads, eliminate unproductive work habits, get sufficient exercise and negotiate more flexible work conditions that meet their needs.

Make Work More Flexible

Flextime

It is one of the most useful tools in helping workers achieve a good work/life balance. Companies should identify which jobs lend themselves to flexible work scheduling and implement formal policies for coordinating flexible schedules with an employee's supervisors and coworkers.

Telecommuting

It is a way for employees to work from home while taking care of a sick or dependent family member. It also cuts down on stress and unproductive time due to a commute. Studies have shown that telecommuters can be 30 percent more productive than their office-bound counterparts. Many companies are implementing formal telecommuting programs on an as-needed or permanent basis. Telecommuting can be a terrific recruitment tools as well.

Job sharing

It can keep two valuable employees busy while reducing work-related stress. In a job-sharing arrangement, two workers work part-time and share the workload of one job. Careful coordination between the two workers, their supervisor and their co-workers is necessary to make job sharing work.

Allow for Time off from Work

Encourage the use of vacation and sick-leave time. Supervisors should advise employees to use their vacation and sick-leave benefits when signs of burnout or illness arise. Companies can implement use-it-or-lose- it policies to encourage employees to take time off when it is necessary.

Leave policy:

A formal leave policy for employees with dependents recognizes and encourages the need to care for sick children or elderly parents.

Paid childbirth or adoption leave gives women and men the flexibility to keep their jobs while attending to a new addition to the family. This option is almost always cheaper than the alternatives of burnt-out employees or those who leave the company.

Limit how often employees take work home. The line between work and home lives tends to blur when employees regularly take work home. This practice should be monitored by management personnel, who should also develop plans for making sure that work gets done at the office instead of at home.Some companies allow employees to take leave for community service. These firms recognize that employees obtain life satisfaction from projects or work outside of their regular jobs.

Bringing Life to Work

Bring-your-kids-to-work day

It 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.

Sponsoring employees

It family-oriented activities is another way to combine work and life. Sporting events, excursions to amusement parks, fishing trips and other family-oriented jaunts are good opportunities to help employees strike a work/life balance.

Companies need to promote their work/life-balance policies year-round - not just in employee orientations and handbooks. Frequent, positive communication of these benefits reinforces management's commitment to help workers achieve work/life balances and gives employees the feeling that it is OK to live a little.

Balancing Life and Personal Commitments

Work-Life Balance does not mean an equal balance. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is and should be more fluid than that.

We want to make sure you have the resources, services and tools you need to get the balance that is right for you and to help you in your personal and professional endeavors.

WORK LIFE BALANCE: Benefits to the organization

Measured increases in individual productivity, accountability and commitment

Better teamwork and communication

Improved morale

Less negative organizational stress

WORK LIFE BALANCE: Benefits to the individual

More value and balance in your daily life

Better understanding of what your best individual work life balance.

Increased productivity

Improved relationships both on and off the job

Reduced stress

Balancing Work and Life

Your department and colleagues can contribute to your work-life balance

Managers play an important role in helping faculty and staff achieves the right work-life balance. When you create and promote a work atmosphere that makes it easier for your team to achieve a better work-life balance, you have happier, healthier employees who are more productive and satisfied in their work and a less stressful work environment overall for your team. Being flexible and understanding the needs of each of your employees will help you to build a more positive and successful work environment.

Tips for helping your team achieve a better work-life balance

Consider flexible schedules, alternate work arrangements or job sharing where appropriate and be supportive of these arrangements (they shouldn't have a negative impact on career growth and success)

Be flexible, considerate, and respectful of personal or family responsibilities

Allow for time to pursue professional development and community service opportunities

Promote a positive work environment through your leadership and support of employees

Promote a "disconnect from work" atmosphere when employees have scheduled time off (no cell phones or lap tops) where possible

You can contribute to your own work-life balance

It is important that you, as an individual, find ways to create the right work-life balance for yourself. The best work-life balance for you may be different than that of your coworkers or your manager. For some, working long hours creates value and balance in their lives. For others, it is not a routine they can productively or enjoyable maintain. The best work-life balance also changes for each individual over time and is usually different for someone just starting in their career than someone who is retiring. A good work-life balance for someone who has no children may be different than that of someone with children, and many people are caregivers to older family members as well. Your best work-life balance will change, and while we strive to help create an environment that allows you to integrate your personal and professional lives, you must find ways to create the right balance for your self.

Suggestions for getting a better work-life balance that is right for you:

Define and create your own work-life balance

Be accountable for balancing your personal and professional commitments

Help your manager understand the right balance for your life and help to work out an arrangement that supports your needs

Strive for meaningful achievements and enjoyments in work, family, friends, and self each day

Work life balance

what are the benefits and barriers associated with the achievement of a work - life balance for employees and employers?

The importance of the achievement of a work-life balance and the issues which can be faced when initiatives to achieve such a balance are implemented One issue surrounding the concept is that 'work life balance' is often loosely defined as simply referring to the balance between an individuals time spent at work and on home life. In fact employees are usually monitored on various factors including their attention whilst at work. 'Central to definitions of work-life balance then is the notion that the modern employment relationship is a negotiation to establish the boundaries around the attention and presence required,' creating the need for employees to consciously incorporate practices into their lives to integrate the work and non-work aspects. Work-life balance can be defined as 'a reconciliation of paid employment and life.'

It has suggested by McKee and colleagues that a series of historical shifts has shaped, to some degree, the debate about work-life balance. Broadly speaking they suggested these were the absence of fathers from home through war, imprisonment or long working shifts, the entry of large numbers of women into the workforce; the changing composition and structure of the family; expanding male unemployment; the increase in singe working parents; the intensification of working hours; an ageing population and the growing number of cared for groups; and the growth of equal opportunities. (McKee and colleagues) It is accepted that the feminization of the work force increases the need for family friendly policies, however studies are said largely to have narrowly focused on the experiences of women with the double burden of employment and domestic and child care tasks, at the expense of a broader concept (Ransom, 2007). It also must be noted that the...

Work-Life Balance b/w personal and professional life

When an individual maintains a balance between his personal and professional life, the phenomenon is called Work-Life Balance. This expression holds worth a lot because it is very important to have a balance between personal and professional life. Work life balance is at the forefront of the world of work. Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy for continuous improvement, along with the role of information technology (IT) helps and guides the management people, to get the maximum output with the help of available resources.

The balance between personal and professional life vary from person to person and the organization where he or she is working. When an individual does not maintain a balance and works too much in the organizational setting, this may cause him some medical, psychological and behavioral consequences, as a result his or her productivity will also be low. Studies have shown that work life stress is harmful to the employees. Late sitting and working too much can cause imbalance in an individual's personal and professional life; however there are some techniques to manage the work life stress e.g. time management, task management, relaxation, flexible working hours, working from home and exercise etc. Work life balance improves individual's health, job satisfaction, commitment, involvement and reduces absenteeism and presenteeism (state of physical presence but not productive). Despite of the progress in the betterment of maintaining work life balance, there is still more to be done.

One important factor is the degree to which work life balance are generally applicable across the whole hierarchy of the organization. Those lower down the organizational hierarchy are sometimes not entitled for some benefits or uninformed about relevant company policies. Work life balance can assist employers and employee to be healthy and productive in their personal and professional life.

"Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices." - Betsy Jacobson.

For some people spending more time in the organization is more important than the time they spend at home. However, there are people who give priority to the personal and family life. In this technological era, some organizations also offer flexible working hours. One can carry laptop, PDA, black berry and is connected with suppliers, venders through internet 24 hours a day. The moment he gets any query, he responds to it. There are some work-alcoholics who take their laptops and PDAs to the vacation and face the annoyance of their wives while checking the emails.

People are more interested in looking for a job that gives them flexibility at work. Necessary arrangements for work life balance are required by all workers at different times in their lives because balance is instrumental in quality initiatives by preparing an individual to deal with the change. An individual can give his best only in a conducive environment e.g. students want to study and work at the same time; parents want to have time with their children and the older worker approaching retirement to have the opportunity to stay in the workforce on reduced hours. Mostly the employers and the employees agree that organizational objectives are more important, so it is the obligation of the employer to help people in work life balance.

CONCLUSION

Work life balance does not just happen; it is your own personal strategy of the manner in which you make a conscious choice to put balance in your life. Work life balance means different things to different people. It is a personal decision on how you want to balance your time between work and your personal life. It is a decision on balancing and maintaining a focus on what is most important to you. No two people share the exact work life balance preferences. Examine what is important in your life and what is your highest priority. Examine what your personal life goals are related to your job and your personal life. Personal life goals should reflect the value and principles that you focus your life on. None of the priorities are set in cement and there should always be room to make changes because your priorities and goals can change. Whenever you are experiencing competing priorities, stop and take a close look at your situation. Look at what is being expected for you to accomplish and make an accurate estimate of what you can accomplish and what you cannot accomplish.  This should be a honest accounting of yourself and your priorities. Avoid setting yourself up to fail because you are trying to accomplish more than you can effectively balance in your life. If you over extend yourself your work life balance will be out of control.

"Work/life balance is not a 'nice to have' when we're in a boom time. It can have a fundamental impact on the corporate performance at all times. Companies who focus on and measure staff wellbeing are in fact being very prudent. They're making as big a contribution to their bottom line as those who are looking at ways to increase sales or cut costs


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