Source: E-mail dt. 21.7.2011
Work Life Balance in Employees
(to reduce stress and restore harmony)
Assistant Professor, Nehru College of Engineering and Research Centre,
Pampady, Kerala, India.
We all have a number of roles that we hold throughout life until the life cycle ends. Work-life conflict occurs when time and energy demands imposed by our many roles become unsuited with one another; participation in one role is made increasingly difficult by participation in another especially at this era when the responsibility and accountability has increased, when the status of female has become equal to men especially in professional life
Work-Life Balance does not mean an equal balance. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is and should be more than that.
The best individual work-life balance will vary over time, often on a daily basis. The right balance for today will be different tomorrow. i.e. when a person is single will be different when he or she marries, or when children are born; when starting new career versus when retiring.
Achievement and Enjoyment are the front and back of the coin of value in life as the coin cannot have one side. It means Pride, Satisfaction, Happiness, Celebration, Love, A Sense of Well Being, all the Joys of Living, Achievement and Enjoyment includes Work, Family, Friends and Self.
Work-life balance involves the efforts of a number of partners: the employee, the organization for which the employee works, the family with whom the employee lives, and the society in which all are embedded. It involves mutual understanding and respect between all of these players and balance can be thought of as a set of reciprocal relationships with a set of highly inter-reliant partners.
Life will deliver the value and balance we desire …when we are achieving and enjoying something every single day…in all the important areas that make up our lives. As a result, a good working definition of Work-Life Balance is:
Work life balance is a person’s control over the conditions in their workplace .Its accomplished when an individual feels dually satisfied about their personal life and their paid occupation .It mutually benefits the individual, business, society when a person’s personal life is balanced with her or his own job.
Importance of Work Life Balance
The work life balance strategy offers a variety of means to reduce stress level and increase job satisfaction in the employee while enhancing business benefits to the employer .This includes
Attracts new employees
Helps to retain staff
Builds diversity in skills and personnel,
Reduces sickness and absenteeism,
Enhances working relationships between colleagues,
Encourages employees to show more initiative and teamwork,
Increases levels of production and satisfaction,
Decreases stress and burn-out.
Greater number of women employees are entering the workplace, and struggling for maintaining a balance between her organizational roles and culture specific roles. When discussing in an employee development perspective role stresses can be given more consideration and its factors.
Just after the completion of professional qualifications the applicants are getting jobs. The pay and perks are encouraging. But the work life is highly complicated and highly demanding. There are many pulls and pressures during the work life. There are too many commitments and deadlines and there are too much of unpredictable peaks and troughs during the course of the working time. All these things make the work as a hectic activity and a strenuous one.
This topic is really focused on creating balance between who we are and what we do. We are multi-faceted human beings. To live our life to the fullest of our potential we have to create balance in the multiple facets of our lives
Work Life Balance - The Past and Present Scenario
In recent years, a growing body of research has examined the interconnections between work and family (Burke & Greenglass, 1987; Eckenrode & Gore, 1990; Edwards & Rothbard, 2000; Zedeck, 1992). This research has been stimulated by contemporary societal changes that have an impact on work and family roles, such as the influx of women into the workforce, the increased prevalence of dual-earner couples, movement away from traditional gender-based family roles, and evidence debunking the myth that work and family are separate (Burke & Greenglass, 1987; Lambert, 1990; Voydanoff, 1987). The research has shed light on how structural and social aspects of work and family are related to perceived conflict between those two domains; how perceived conflict is related to satisfaction, well-being, and functioning in both domains; and how work and family relationships are influenced by individual differences, coping resources, and the availability of social support (Burke & Greenglass, 1987; Eckenrode & Gore, 1990; Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985; Voydanoff, 1987).
The 1990’s were a decade of change. Work-life conflict has increased markedly (particularly role overload), suggesting that a greater proportion of workers are experiencing greater challenges in balancing their role of employee, parent, spouse, elder care etc. Workers have become more stressed, physical and mental health has declined, and so has satisfaction with life. Employee’s attitudes towards their jobs and employers have also changed over the decade. On the whole, jobs have become more stressful and less satisfying, and employees are less committed to their employer and are more likely to be absent from work due to ill health. Employees are also devoting a greater amount of time to work at the office, often extending their work day by bringing work home .All three aspects of work-life conflict – role overload, work to family and family to work interference – have increased, and no demographic group appears to have been left unscathed.
Parenthood remains more difficult for women than men
Despite increased awareness and attention to gender issues, motherhood continues to be more stressful than fatherhood, and mothers continue to experience greater conflict between their work and family than do fathers.
High levels of workload
The high levels of role overload and work to family interference affect organization’s recruitment and retention efforts, often affecting their “bottom line.”
Role overload increases when role demands accumulate
The greater number of roles an employee has, the more likely they are to report high levels of role overload.
Conflict in the demands of role
Those groups who are at greatest risk for high work to family interference differ from those most at risk for high role overload.
Employers continue to hold predominantly positive attitudes towards work-life balance and to perceive its benefits for employees and workplaces alike, although it is clear that most employers feel that the implementation of flexible working practices is not always easy, and should not be expected by employees where it would cause disruption to the business
Work-life balance arrangements has with two or more flexible working time, maternity leave and benefits, paternity leave, parental Leave and other special leave, employer support for working parents, awareness of changes to legislation are all the changes brought to reduce stress and make the work life balance arrangements being taken up by employees.