Work life balance - any improve for business?


Essay, 2004

12 Pages, Grade: Good


Excerpt


Contents

1. Introduction and Objectives

2. Definition and Description of Work-life Balance

3. Historic Context

4. Work-life Balance – Any Improvement for Business?
4.1. Benefits of Work-Life Balance
4.2. Best Practices of Work-Life Balance
4.3. Challenges of Work-Life Balance

5. Summary and Conclusion

6. Bibliography

1. Introduction and Objectives

The role of work and the workplace have changed throughout the world due to economic conditions and social demands. Global competition, renewed interest in personal lives and family values and an ageing workforce are factors which contribute to the serious consideration of equilibrium between work and life (Lockwood, 2003). The challenge of work-life balance is rising to the top of many employees’ and employers’ consciousness.

Employees are placing more value on quality of working life and seeking for greater flexibility so that they can manage work commitments along personal life. Employers, on the contrary, need in today’s economic climate a workforce that is stable and committed but also more adaptable and flexible to meet business challenges.

Finding the right balance between work responsibilities and the demands on personal lives is conclusively becoming a significant issue (Loghran, 2002).

Therefore, at the core of human resource strategy lays the need to consider work-life balance for employees. One of the vehicles to help provide attainment of personal and professional goals are work-life programmes.

But why should organisations follow this work-life trend? Is it a critical business issue or simply the “right thing to do”? Which potential business improvement does work-life programmes offer to organisations?

The aim of this report is to analyse the benefits for employers when implementing work-life balance programmes. Therefore, the concept of work-life balance will be defined and the potential business benefits will be analysed. Based on this analysis, this report will show that organisations can gain a competitive advantage when offering work-life initiatives.

2. Definition and Description of Work-life Balance

In a society filled with conflicting responsibilities and commitments, work-life balance has become a predominant issue in the workplace (Lockwood, 2003).

According to The Work Foundation, the term work-life balance is about individuals having a measure of control over when, where and how they work, leading them to be able to enjoy an optimal quality of life (The Work Foundation, 2003).

In this report, work-life balance is defined as establishing a successful balance between working obligations and personal commitments.

The believe is that employees, who have more direct decision over their work and their working time, feel less stressed and are more satisfied and loyal (Dovle and Reeves, 2001). Work-life balance is achieved when an individual’s right to a fulfilled life inside and outside paid work is accepted and respected as the norm, to the mutual benefit of the individual, business and society (The Work Foundation, 2003).

But balancing work with the various responsibilities and activities outside work is difficult. There are many demands on workforce outside the workplace including caring for dependent relatives or studying for qualifications, which require time and effort. Conflicting priorities and lack of time can inevitably influence the employees: they can end up over tired, lacking in concentration or suffering from ill health. To handle with these conflicting demands, individuals need to be informed about how they balance work and life (Loghran, 2002).

Life in the context of work-life balance means everything outside paid work. The phrase is not without problems as it is clear that work is in life, and there are few clear boundaries between paid work and the rest of life anymore. Integration between work and life is happening and so the phrase is not entirely accurate in that sense. The phrase work-life balance suggests there is an ideal balance that everyone should have. In reality the ideal balance varies from individual to individual, and at different times of life.

3. Historic Context

The concept of work-life balance has its origin in the North American human resource management. The term work-life balance was coined in 1986, although its usage in everyday language was sporadic for a number of years (Lockwood, 2003). In fact, work-life balance programmes existed as early as the 1930s. Before the Second World War, the W.K. Kellog Company created four six-hour shifts to replace the traditional daily eight-hour shifts, and the new shifts resulted in increased employee morale and efficiency (Lockwood, 2003).

In the 1980s and 1990s, due to the growth in the economy, more companies offered additional benefits to employees. When they started to consider work-life issues, there was an intuitive sense that it was an important trend for employers to do, although there was no real data to back up this feeling.

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Excerpt out of 12 pages

Details

Title
Work life balance - any improve for business?
College
University of East London
Grade
Good
Author
Year
2004
Pages
12
Catalog Number
V32160
ISBN (eBook)
9783638329491
ISBN (Book)
9783638748810
File size
565 KB
Language
English
Keywords
Work
Quote paper
Fatma Torun (Author), 2004, Work life balance - any improve for business?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/32160

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