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A Study On Work Life Balance: A Real Challenge

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Abstract

Work-Life Balance is a very important strategy for every organisation, group and individual for happy-living. Maintaining a balance between work and personal life is a necessity. A proper understanding of work-life balance can amount to more efficiency and productivity, better relationship among peers and superior-subordinate structure.

Reaching out to a balance is a challenge to every employee, and understanding and helping the employee is a tough task to every organisation. However, companies have to consider this and develop strategies to retain good employees while setting their growth path. This study attempts to provide the necessity of work-life balance, the impact of it and suggest measures to strike a balance.

Introduction

Work-Life Balance (WLB) is an experience of intertwining the employees’ work lives and family lives for a happy balanced living. It is a unique feature of individual’s life that decides the satisfaction levels among the multiple roles in personal and professional life. It is not a comparable version of two individuals.

It is affected by number of factors such as individual’s nature, age, education, income level emotions, family structure, religion, culture and philosophies adopted, type of society in which live, social/societal groups to which one belongs including friend circle, material/spiritual life one lives, financial blessings, service orientations, etc.

Literature Review

Leinster and Brody (1998) claim that WLB is one of the most important issues daunting the organisations. Calas and Smircich (1989) argue that casual approach, challenges and assumptions not fully tested lead to work/life imbalance. Kofodimos, J. (1993) establishes when efficiency becomes central value in work, it may be problematic and spoil other important aspects of life. Landau and Arthur (1992) say that situational factors such as selfishness, earnings, domination and spouse support make difference in making balanced life.

Khan(1990) argues that people are naturally confused about their choice of life whether in work or at home, in isolation or in group. White, Michael, et al. (2003) studied high performance practices, and working hours on WLB found conflicts among them and negative spillovers. Perrons, Diane (2003) states that a marked gender disparity exists in the patterns of ownership, earnings, flexible working patterns, long hours and home-working affecting WLB.

Shanafelt, Tait D. (2012) says that though medicine is a meaningful profession in life, the doctors suffer from emotional burnout that may risk quality of care, and promote early retirement, broken relationships, alcohol use, etc. Ogilvy, J. (1995) articulates that living without goal will give a sense of life. A single goal in life is a mechanism/tool for life rather than a gift.

Caproni, Paula J. (1997) opines that one has to learn to live happily rather than attempting to balance. Large numbers of studies are conducted over decades but humans are evolving every day, and their profiles, way of life, role plays, challenges to be faced are changing beyond our imagination. Hence the work/life balance is an issue of every day.

Objectives of the study

  1. To understand the need for WLB.
  2. To analyze the governing factors affecting WLB.
  3. To evaluate the impact of WLB.
  4. To explore the techniques/measures of WLB.

Research methodology

This research output is the outcome of an overview of studies conducted on the areas of WLB. This is conceptually a qualitative research work, and follows the experiential approach. The researcher uses secondary data for its analysis.

Significance of the study

Living happy life matching with a right work is the expectation of everyone. But for most of the people, it is a nightmare. They struggle with many hardships and find much difficulty in settling the personal and professional living. Most of them could not even think why they suffer and could not strike a balance. Making people aware of the fundamentals for balancing their work and life is a necessity. This study will help them to understand the propriety of WLB.

Scope of the study

WLB involves designing and implementing conscious changes in human minds to set a balance between their personal and professional life. This study covers the significance of WLB, factors governing it, impact of WLB and techniques required for it.

Need for WLB

Traditional and modern business challenges, competition, unpredictable environment compel businessmen to become unusual in their approaches in management leading to stress and imbalance in employees. A proper view of WLB can reduce the imbalance in living and can ensure improved life. It can reduce displeasures and empower employees to face challenges. The major issue comes in taking time to do everything that we desire in an efficient way at work as well as at home.

Avoiding unwanted things and focusing on urgent and important matters is advocated by some. But the real challenge comes while we try to select. Delegation could be a solution, but what to delegate and what not, is a challenge. Getting up early is a solution, but sleeping early is a challenge especially in places like Mumbai where the day ends at 12.00 night to most of the people. Time and energy are the limited resources. All have only 24 hours.

If the productivity is to be increased in any organisation, employee has to be free-minded, and for which a peaceful family atmosphere is very essential. But a happy family is largely person-oriented which cannot be assured by the company in which he/she works.

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Organizational expectations and philosophies are changing. Employee/machine, customer/ supplier, profit/service orientations are changing. Various facets of employment compel governments to remodel its dictations which consequently affect the business dimensions which in turn finally count on the employees. Families: nuclear/joint, with/without children, their education and growth, income issues, cultural compulsions, mismatching spouses, health issues of self and others will revolve around the employees affecting work.

Materialism and spiritualism concepts of ideology in life, wealth maximization, old age security fear, need for money, and feeling of lack of support from anyone are the unavoidable challenges of employees. Hence, they have to learn how to balance their life with work. By working for long hours and at odd times, workers do damage to their families.

Techniques of WLB

1. Scientific HR policies

Unbiased, well established HR policies on selection, training, placement, promotion, demotion, transfer, retirement and settlements can create stable employees. Such policies should be consistent and followed throughout the organisation.

2. Motivational practices

Management should create an effective motivational culture with monetary and other incentives, provide labour-saving devices and childcare arrangements. A balanced, consistent & impartial reward system helps to have a WLB.

3. Counseling and mentoring facilities

Much of the problems come due to one’s lack of awareness and organized thinking on issues of self. If proper counseling is done, the confusions in employees can be settled to set a balance. A proper mentoring program can develop specific skills and knowledge in employees, to be value-based and confident in career-building by recharging them continuously.

4. Autonomy, empowerment and trust

There is no area, whether home or work, without problems. The power to manage is the needy thing for everyone. ‘Unpredictability and less than expected’ need to be accepted. Employees should be empowered to perform their job fearlessly. The managers have to trust the character and quality of their subordinates to create a balanced life. MBO could be a boosting factor for more involvement and freedom.

5. Committed management

Support from top management, constructive leadership, proper planning and control mechanism and making available required resources can help to build a WLB. Employees should be given necessary leave to get refreshed periodically and to learn new programmes to enrich their skills.

6. Flexible work options

According to convenience/requirement, as possible, employees can be permitted to rearrange their working hours within the span of time available. They can be facilitated to work from home, work on part-time dividing the full-time work among 2-3 people, work for more hours in less number of days, etc. This can create a quality WLB.

7. Health and wellness programmes

Programmes like yoga, meditation, stress-bursters, time management should be conducted for employees regularly to achieve WLB. A good canteen with nutritional food at subsidized rate is also a requirement.

8. Stress reduction training and spiritual enhancement

‘Only-money’ motive will lead to imbalance. Nowadays, employees, particularly youngsters, are overambitious, avoid food and sleep, and spoil their life. Rigorous mind-training is necessary to promote self-awareness and self-management techniques with values. Most of the things that we worry about today will be forgotten after a year. Every employee should be made to realize this through mind-enriching programmes time-to-time.

9. Knowledge sharing for unity and mutual support

Employees, if rightly motivated, can share their own success stories in balancing and solutions adopted by them for their own issues. They should be offered required facilities for learning and discussion.

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS

Life is a beautiful thing to live. It is not a thing to be managed. It is a joyful exercise. It does not work with plans always. It is true that all factors said and done work upon life, but they can’t be fixed because joys and sorrows in life, failures and successes in work cannot be predicted. Everything is situational. Two children born to two similar parents are remarkably different. For the similar amount and type of job, one gets 2lakhs per month and another gets Rs.20000. Hence, we have to learn to enjoy in contingencies to be happy. At the same time, companies cannot neglect this concept which affects largely the employees’ work efficiency.

Ultimately life will go as it is. One has to learn how to be with it. Company wants employee’s more productive time with it. Family wants him/her to be more with it. Both are right and the employee has to manage both effectively by striking a balance. Awareness of the past, understanding the present and speculating the future spiritually may get oneself on track. Though the employee has to strive for this largely, organized support from both family and company is essential. Otherwise there will be dilly-dallying at every moment, the impact of which will be painful to both family and the company.

References

  1. Calas, M., and Smircich, L. (1989), “Using the F-word: Feminist Theories and the Social Consequences of Organisational Research”, Academy of Management, Washington, DC, August.
  2. Caproni, Paula J. (1997), “Work/Life Balance – You Can’t Get There From Here”, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol.33 No.1, March, pp46-56.
  3. Khan, W. (1990), “Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work”, Academy of Management Journal, 33(4), pp.692-724.
  4. Kofodimos, J. (1993), “Balancing Act: How Managers can Integrate Successful Careers and Fulfilling Personal Lives”, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.
  5. Landau, J., and Arthur M. B. (1992), “The relationship of Marital Status, Spouse’s Career status, and Gender to Salary Level”, Sex Roles, A Journal of Research,Springer, pp.665-681
  6. Leinster, C., and Brody, L. (1998), “The Young Exec as Superdad”, Fortune, April 25, pp.233-236
  7. Ogilvy, J. (1995), “Living without a goal”, New York:Currency/Doubleday.
  8. Perrons, Diane (2003), “The New Economy and the Work–Life Balance: Conceptual Explorations and a Case Study of New Media”, Gender, Work and Organization. Vol. 10 No. 1 January, Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  9. Shanafelt, Tait D. (2012), “Burnout and Satisfaction With Work-Life Balance Among US Physicians Relative to the General US Population”, http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1351351&resultclick=1
  10. White, Michael., Hill, Stephen., McGovern, Patrick., Mills, Colin., and Smeaton, Deborah (2003), “High-performance Management Practices, Working Hours and Work–Life Balance”, http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1111%2F1467-8543.00268?r3_referer=wol& tracking_action=preview_click&show_checkout=1&purchase_referrer=onlinelibrary.wiley.com

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A Study On Work Life Balance: A Real Challenge. (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-study-on-work-life-balance-a-real-challenge/
“A Study On Work Life Balance: A Real Challenge.” Edubirdie, 21 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/a-study-on-work-life-balance-a-real-challenge/
A Study On Work Life Balance: A Real Challenge. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-study-on-work-life-balance-a-real-challenge/> [Accessed 31 Jan. 2023].
A Study On Work Life Balance: A Real Challenge [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 21 [cited 2023 Jan 31]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-study-on-work-life-balance-a-real-challenge/
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