The concept of work-life has become a major problem that almost all employers and employees are facing. The term ‘work-life’ is usually used to describe incorporation of work and personal life responsibilities and is normally defined as how the certified employees fit in the duties in the workplace accompanied with their domestic commitments and self-demands.
Work-life issues have become a progressively more all-encompassing concern for employers and employees. Over the past years, this concept has become vital to both employees and employers. According to a research done by Boston College (2010), over the past twenty-five years, a large number of women have been in the workplace, and it has become a norm that what happens in the family affects their work performance. It has been also confirmed that what happens in the workplace affects people’s personal lives as well.
One of the problems that people are currently facing is lack of access to work-life initiatives and programs. Most workers are forced to make complex choices between work demands and caring for their family members. Another problem facing work-life is emerging of new issues that may sound a clarion call for the next generation of work-life professionals. Any person or association in charge of addressing strategic workforce administration issues will need to take all these concerns into account. Basically, work-life has its own complications that need to be solved for the balance between family life and work. The implementation of work-life initiatives and programs is the only way to fight this problem. Whatever happens in the workplace should not interfere with one’s family commitments; otherwise, the interference should be minimal. On the other hand, the working process should not interfere with family matters either. Therefore, work-life is an issue that needs to be addressed comprehensively.
Work-Life Benefits for Employees and Employers
Generally, it is very rare to find work-life initiatives that would meet all the needs of both employees and employers. In order for work-life benefits to be realized, there are goals that should be met. These goals promote personal knowledge and maturity. Moreover, they offer people influence and control over what they do and how they can do it. They also make work motivating and significant to different people as a source of personal satisfaction and a means to realize the rewards.
Through quality work-life programs, many benefits have been realized. This is because they support the enhancement of workers’ skills, decline in the number of working traumas, and development of more supportive labor-management relations. One of the benefits of work-life programs is that they improve productivity of employees. It has been proven that employees who have good work-life benefits work harder. Effective work-life benefits give confidence to employees and encourage them to work more and better. This is because they are assured of the benefits at the end of the day. This assurance motivates them and hence ends up improving the performance of the organization. As a result, work-life benefits play an important role in the production of the organization. Thus, employers should always make sure that their employees can benefit from work-life programs and initiatives.
Furthermore, good work-life benefits help employees and their employers to manage their workload. For instance, some employees may prefer flexible work schedules, that is, predictable working hours for a given amount of work. Flexible schedules enhance the production of human resources. Work-life benefits also help employers to manage employees efficiently. With good work-life benefits, employees work under very little supervision, which leads to better performance and outputs.
The impact of social policy on an individual’s work-life conflicts is still open to doubt. Consequently, there are diverse impacts of family policies on work-life conflicts among men and women. Over the past years, it has been proven that family policies do impact work-life conflicts for both men and women, but this is mostly done circuitously, though the impact that social policy has on job demands and personal resources differs. In addition, the biggest problem that people face in today’s daily life and even perhaps will face in the future is balancing between work and family.
Bearing in mind that many people face dual burdens of family and household duties and paid employment, they are likely to face work-family conflicts caused by pressing demands in both family life and work. Due to the importance of dealing with this predicament, an increasing number of studies (Michel et al., 2011) have examined in which country and context people are more prone to work-life conflicts. However, the reports were almost similar in that the impact of social policy on individuals’ work-life conflicts was still found to be unconvincing.
Moreover, gender differences found in work-life conflicts and general contexts and an assortment of work distinctiveness impact men and women differently. According to the gender role theory, men are given different roles from women through social norms. Basically, these roles affect how one perceives work-life conflicts in attending both family and workplace duties. Work-life conflicts have brought about negative impacts in the workplace as well as at home. Unsettled minds are less productive in comparison to settled ones. Most families drag behind in terms of development due to work-life conflicts, as there is always a feeling of superiority between the two genders. The only way to get to the bottom of such conflicts is by solving family matters first to avoid their impacts on the workplace in the best way possible.
Work-Life Initiatives and Programs
Work-life balance has become a fundamental issue internationally for a large number of both employers and employees. Working people need to keep a balance between work and their personal life-related issues irrespective of their gender. This is because with the increase in workload and work intensity, more working time is needed. This has made employees continuously face conflicts between their work and personal life demands.
To balance work-life conflicts, people need to try their best to make light of the conflict between work and their personal life demands for a better state of work-life balance. Work-life balance varies from one person to another, while each person tries to harmonize the coexistence of their career, family, health, social, financial, and other essential aspects of life. Work-life balance can be achieved to a hefty extent with the support of the employing organization, though it is an independently defined state of well-being.
Recently, all over the world, employers have been providing work-life balance opportunities and facilities such as telecommuting, annualized working hours, job sharing, reduced working hours, flexible working time, financial coaching for planning funds for children’s education, and, finally, retirement planning. These are among the initiatives implemented to counter work-life conflicts in the workplace and in homes. Growing organizational possessions get devoted in many contexts to work-life initiatives and programs that aim to adapt employment settings to the workforce’s altering work-life wants and to act in response to the government’s set of laws for nurturing labor force gender amalgamation and shielding working families. Another strategy deployed by most organizations is to be aware of the inimitable needs of various groups as well as recognizing an individual’s differences within these groups. Doing so will enable them to understand better the challenges of augmented miscellany in the organization’s labor force.
Individuals need to play different roles simultaneously or even often switch from one role to another, since both work and non-work are interdependent (Europeans Journal of Social Sciences, 2010). Work roles are professional duties assigned to employees by their employers, while non-work includes domestic duties that need to be performed for the family. Therefore, work-life integration is usually defined as how the certified employees fit in the duties in the workplace accompanied with the domestic commitments and self-demands.
Work-life issues have become a more all-encompassing concern for employers and employees. Due to continued changes in the composition of working families, women have found their place in traditionally male-dominated occupations. This has made employers develop innovative practices that allow workers to find a greater balance between their work and their commitments. These practices are as a result of changes in human resources policies. First of all, they may include changes in employees’ benefits such as new programs implemented which contain paid parental leave, domestic partner benefits, and resource and referral programs. Secondly, there are additional employee services such as on-site child care, employee health, and caretaker services which offer greater expediency for employees. This lessens the need for employees to create their own solutions to some work-life challenges. Also, the job reorganization initiative provides surrogate work schedules and loosen necessities in recreational positions. Despite the implementation of many practices, their impact on the work-life environment is yet ambiguous. It is not difficult to visualize in the current challenging economic climate that exists. Due to many reasons, it has been hard for organizations to check whether new work-life policies and programs have in fact turned out to be part of a new managing prototype.
In general, different studies carried out since 2008 have brought about various results. Work-life is normally defined by how the certified employees fit in the duties in the workplace accompanied with domestic commitments and self-demands. This indicates that the relationship between employees themselves and their employers is vital for the progress of an organization. Employees enjoying good work-life benefits tend to produce better results, while those deprived of work-life benefits appear to produce poor results. In this case, work-life, also known as workforce effectiveness, is more powerful than it has ever been.
However, it is necessary to understand that the ability to communicate value suggestions to management teams is more decisive than ever in light of the ongoing global strategies. Regardless of the industry people work in or a specific area of focus, the main goal is to clearly articulate offerings and value propositions to respective organizations in a manner that recognizes the many challenges businesses face. In addition, workers are further supported in availing flexible working options such as telecommunications, annualized working hours, job sharing, abridged working hours, flexible work timing, condensed work weeks, and part-time work for a part of the year.
However, some organizations are exploiting flexible working options such as condensed working hours as a cost-cutting tool and an alternative to authentically attempting to improve employee work-life balance. Such flexible working options should not be forced on employees just for the sake of cost-cutting; instead, they should be kept optional. Forcing certain policies on workers negatively influences the organization. This is because imposing some policies demoralizes them, which leads to the downfall of the organization and yields poor results in terms of production.
Generally, we have learnt that work-life is normally seen as a benchmark among high-performing organizations that brings in economic reimbursement and the reputation of being widely recognized as the best place to work. Organizations that provide good work-life benefits to their employees feel the need for enrollment and retention of valuable workforce, reduced non-attendance, and job fulfillment.
To promote both employees and employers’ benefits, it is necessary to develop and keep up a culture that enables and supports a desired work-life balance. This makes work-life a very important issue to discuss to prevent workplace activities from affecting one’s family commitments and vice versa. Good work-life benefits should be implemented by an organization that aims to retain employees and encourage them to work for the organization as long as possible. As seen above, to maximize productivity of employees, the provision of a good working environment is very important. Such an environment is likely to motivate employees to work knowing that their family needs are catered for, and more so they have job security.
From the points mentioned above, it is clear that if an employer takes care of work-life needs of their employees during the present hard times, then they eventually become beneficiaries from the better workplace output of employees with improved work-life benefits.
The formation of proper work-life benefits by different organizations will not only enable resolution of work-life conflicts, but will also be integral to the establishment of flexible workplaces favorable to inspiration and retention of their workers. From the research, it is true to say that such strategies will enable employers and their employees to handle the emerging challenges associated with the balance between work and life.