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Work life balance has become the hot issue around the world. In the United Kingdom, a high level of support has been given to work life balance. Employers think people can only give best performance when they can strike a balance of work and life. In the United States, more importance has been given to work life balance, it has accounted for more than two-thirds of work characteristics that has been rated by surveyed companies which they think to be “absolutely essential” to attract and retain the talent. (Michaels, Handfield- Jones & Axelrod, 2001)
In Hong Kong, a survey is conducted on work life balance has indicated that more than 80% of employees being interviewed and they have considered work life balance as important to them and only less then 50% of them said that they were able to achieve it.
Over the past decades, balance between work and other factors of life has been made much difficult which happened due to changes in technology, demographic workforce and business environment. It is now become a challenge for modern employees to achieve work life balance without jeopardizing their well being and satisfaction with other aspect of the lives and overall quality of life. Technological advancements, like mobile phones, internet, have enabled people to conduct work anywhere and at anytime, whether they are on holidays or flying on planes. Furthermore the use of computers has changed their lives as people are taking their work to home. Long working hours now becomes a norm in many countries worldwide. Which have indirectly increased the workload, long hour’s culture and job insecurity?
Over the past decades, the employment of women has increased substantially. In some developed economies, women are occupied half or more of workforce (International Labor Office 2007). In 2005, about 88 million women whose ages lie between 20 to 64 were employed in the United States, which was the 50.8% of the total workforce (US Census Bureau, 2005) and 70.9% of the women were participated in labor force in 2005.
Work Life Balance
Work life balance was first used in the late 1970 that actually describes that the individual has a personal life too. Work and life balance is important and it should be manage in way that increases satisfaction. Individual’s personal life in which family, friends, love, play etc comes.
Work life balance is about people manage the difference between work and life. How they manage work and life. Work life balance is important only in the framework of what company does for the individual worker.
The work life balance however is a two pronged approach, it is achievement with enjoyment. If the employee is giving his best input to the organization but not really enjoying the same then happiness then satisfaction can not be achieved.
Work life balance does not mean only balancing the profession and family, it means balancing the mental and status quo and balancing the emotional intelligence. Organizations facilitate their employees via implementing work life balance and training.
There is a life at home and at work and life having space for leisure time. If the employee work life is imbalance then it effect comes on productivity means productivity is declining and efficiency level is also decreasing, the imbalance work life has a negative impact in professional and personal life. Imbalance work life results in absenteeism, turnover, less committed to organization.
Employee retention is seriously important for organizations. Now organizations are focusing on grooming their employees and treating them as human capital of the organization.
That’s why companies most of the companies are implementing work life balance by facilitating part time work, work at home, attend meeting via video conferencing, can do job sharing.
Work life and personal life are two sides of the same coin. According to various work life balance surveys, more then 60% respondents said they are not able to find the balance between them. They have to make difficult decision between work and personal life. But now it is close to equilibrium. Traditionally managing a balance between life and work was considered to be a woman’s issue but increasing work pressure, technological changes and globalization have made this issue for male and female, all professionals working across all countries. Achieving a balance work life is not simple as it seen.
Personal life and work life both are inter-connected and interdependent and doing long hours job, dealing with clients, deadlines in jobs can interfere and affect the personal life of an individual and sometimes it becomes difficult to maintain the relationship. On the other side, personal life can also be demanding such as kids, wife, parents and relatives, giving them time is very important. If not managing then it leads to absenteeism form work, stress level increases and concentration on work diminishes.
The work life balance conflict occurs when burden, obligations and responsibilities and family roles becomes incompatible.
Need and Benefits of Work Life Balance
Today the deadlines of work are getting tighter and it’s really much difficult for an individual to achieve it. Due to these deadlines it becomes difficult to maintain a family life. It is difficult to have engagement of min with the engagement of body. In every individual’s life there are four stakeholders- his or her personality, family, job and the society.
It is very important for an individual person to give equal importance to all stakeholders (personality, family, job and society) and then an individual can term as successful person. When a life is imbalance then happiness, peace and harmony of life vanishes and it has a negative impact on work life too. So it is very important to avoid imbalance of life. The transition of work life imbalance and work life balance has negative and positive impact on organization’s success.
On an individual level work life balance bring phenomenal changes in his life and also have impact on society. A balance work life results in good health, stress level decline due to health levels and can derive more value form work and life and which leads to satisfaction and self actualization.
At the organizational level, balance work life enables productivity and efficiency and employees becomes more creative and derive more satisfaction. Employee better communicate and do better teamwork in a working environment. Work life balance leads to fully enjoying the work and which increases passion for it, which results in employees commitment level increases and thus develops a strong value system.
Advantages of Work Life Balance
Many organizations such as IBM, Merrill Lynch, Pfizer and Accenture have introduced work life programme within their companies to help their employees to achieve effective balance between the work and personal life because they believe that it makes good business sense to provide such programmes to their employees due to financial and non-financial benefits that can be reaped.
Policies and practices of work life balance are good for business; there are many benefits for the business who have implemented it.
The one of the most important advantage of work life balance is that employee feel satisfaction because of managing the work and life.
Organizations implement work life balance in order to attract or retain talented employees.
This work life balance was implemented by organizations to decrease the labor turnover in the organizations.
It increases the productivity in the organizations because of the work life balance.
When people are satisfied with their life as well as work means they have kept the balance between work and personal life, which results in less absenteeism in the organization.
It increases the overall profit in the organization because of balance between work and personal life.
Organizations implemented work life balance then it increases overall profit in any organization as employees are working hard to increase productivity.
Employees are loyal where organizations have implemented work life balance.
An overall more enjoyable workplace as all employees are achieving and enjoying.
Employees give best input to organization as they are happy with their life and work balance.
Work life balance initiates an individual to give his best input to organization and work hard to achieve organizational goals and provides innovative ideas and thus organization rapidly grow in the direction of success.
When an individual has work life balance then he or she can better know how to spend the time.
Employees less miss the time as they have well manage the work and personal life.
Depression is a condition of mental disturbance and when employee’s work life is balance and he or she can perfectly manages everything.
Individual have other things to do in life then work which is as playing, giving time to family means spending time with the family, meeting with friends etc. So work life balance is very important in individual’s life.
There are many responsibilities of an individual such responsibility parents, wife, children and as well as of society so work life balance is very important in respect to managing these multiple responsibilities at a time.
Companies who have implemented work life balance programme, they have reduces the health cost as employee have to work less and that’s the reason they have good health.
According to the Corporate Executive Board’s Research, effective work life balance encourages workers to work harder and discourage them for leaving the job.
The worker can easily meet the need of family, personal obligations and the life responsibility.
Employees are more committed to organizations who have implemented it.
Employer can recruit outstanding or talented employees in the company.
Implementation, Effect and Results of work life balance in Pakistan
Implementation, Effect and Results of work life balance in Pakistan
The Unilever Pakistan Limited
The Unilever Pakistan Limited, formerly Lever Brothers Pakistan Limited was established in 1948. Unilever Pakistan is one of the largest fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company in the Pakistan and has a multinational operational network.
The Unilever Pakistan Limited has implemented work life balance to facilitate their employees to enjoy and improve productivity in the organization.
Unilever, Pakistan has given employees the chance to work flexibly through different schemes which is as part time job, work at home and job sharing.
They have change the way they work in past. But now they avoid travelling to meetings which cost money and it also impacts the environment and takes the people far away from home. That’s why they have introduced effective ways to communicate through new generation video conferencing, virtual meetings, videophones and online collaboration environments.
In the result of work life balance implementation in Unilever, Pakistan; employees are more committed, highly satisfied and loyal to the company and have less turnover.
Procter & Gamble, Pakistan
Procter & Gamble, Pakistan was established in 1991 and is global consumer goods company which is locally operating in a Pakistan that provides premium quality product for their consumers.
Procter and Gamble has implemented work life balance. According to their view, they believe that work life balance is as important as the performance. They have fitness clubs, days-off to work from home programmes. They are giving special consideration to working mothers. In results of implementing the work life in Procter Gamble employees are more productive which translates to success.
Telenor Pakistan is owned by the Telenor Group and is an international provider of voice, data, and content and mobile communication service.
Telenor has implemented work life balance which they believe is critical to their business success. They have provided in-office facilities to their employees such as gyms, game rooms and cafes to get relax at work and enjoy these facilities.
The other organizations who have implemented work life balance in Pakistan are;
BankIslami Pakistan, Pakistan State Oil, Netsol – Pakistan, National Bank of Pakistan, Pfizer Pakistan, Nestlé Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan, Daewoo Pakistan, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, Pakistan Steel Mills, Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan, Gourmet Foods (Pakistan), State Life Insurance Corporation Of Pakistan, PEPCO Pakistan, Qubee (Augere Pakistan), Citibank Pakistan, United Energy Pakistan Limited, OCS Pakistan, Tetra Pak Pakistan, Mobilink Pakistan, PepsiCo, Chartis Insurance Company, Pakistan Water and Power Supply Authority, Roche Pakistan Limited, Publicis Pakistan, Engro Foods, The Coca-Cola Company, World call Telecom, Nokia, Xavor
Work life balance remains an important issue that requires considerable attention from organizations. Nowadays many organizations operates 24/7 schedule and technological advancement has made it easy to connect all the time. Employers have found out that burnt-out employees are nearly useless while satisfied employees are the key to organization’s success in future. To this ends, many organization has implemented work life balance programs to facilitate employees in handling conflicts that may arise between work and life. The work life balance programs incorporated at organizations providing the flexibility and support that help employees manage the complexities of modern life.
Outcomes of imperfect Work life balance
The number of employees suffering from many ailments including hypertension, heart attack, diabetes has grown in recent years, which worst effected by long working hours and stressful working hours.
If the employees spend more time in the workplace rather then spending time with the parents, spouses, children and family, can disturb the relationship as there is no longer time to give for these relations.
To handle the stress in the organizations as well as in the home, employees tend to adopt unethical practices such as smoking, drugs, improper relations etc.
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