Work Life Balance

Work Life Balance

Is it Positive or Negative?

What is Work Life Balance (WLB), does it have a positive or a negative impact on you and your organization? What benefits that show up and appear for the employees and the organization when considering it? Should we know about the factors that affects WLB?

We all preach this to ourselves or to our teams, always asking them to keep family first and we try to show that we care. However, we normally do not apply this balance, rarely we do or we see someone who really do the WLB and when it comes to year end closing, end of month, or the big tender we need to submit we all forget the WLB and think it will be a short time and will pass, and it does not pass. There is always something new that disturbs the balance of our life.

Should we know about the factors that affects WLB

WLB Definition and Dilemma?

WLB Definitions

A State of Equilibrium in which the demands of both a person’s job and Personal life are equal. The Push and Pull between work and family responsibilities (Lockwood, 2003). WLB from an employee perspective is the dilemma of managing work obligations and family responsibilities. WLB from an employer perspective: is the challenge of creating a supportive company culture where employees focus on their jobs while at work. “Lockwood, 2003, Work/Life Balance: Challenges and Solutions. SHRM Research Quarterly.

WLB Definition and Dilemma?

WLB History

In the 60s-70s – WLB was mainly considered an issue for working mothers, trying to balance the demands of their jobs with raising children.

In the 80’s – Structural changes took place.  Policies and procedures were used to support WLB.  Maternity leave, EAP’s, flextime, etc.  Similarly, men began to be concerned with their own work-life balance.

In the 90’s – Studies began to show how employees were making choices about their jobs based on cultures of companies and their own work-life issues. The WLB issue became crucial for everyone (men, women, singles, couples, parents, non-parents, etc.)

In the 21st Century – More challenging than ever – new approaches highlighting different practices addressing WLB issues.

Family Work Conflict (FWC) Vs.  Work Family Conflict (WFC)

The term work life balance (Work Life Balance) was coined in 1986 in response to the growing concerns that work can interrupt upon the quality of family life and vice-versa, thus giving rise to the concepts of “work-family conflict” (WFC) and “family- work conflict” (FWC) and the former is also referred to as “work interferes with family” (WIF) while the latter is also known as “family interferes with work”(FIW).

Work Stressors Vs.  Family Stressors

Three work stressors –quantity of workload, work variability, and frequency of stressful events –related to the presence of WFC. Three family stressors – marital tension, no spouse help, and lack of childcare –link with FWC (Fox & Dwyer, 1999).

Not having a formal structure in place may prove difficult for certain organizations. For instance, employees may have difficulty knowing to whom they should report. That can lead to uncertainty as to who is responsible for what in the organization. Having a structure in place can help with efficiency and provide clarity for everyone at every level. That also means all departments can be more productive, as they are likely to be more focused on energy and time.

Family Work Conflict (FWC) Vs. Work Family Conflict (WFC)

Shocking Numbers

One million workers in USA are absent due to stress. American firms lose more than 5 million workdays annually due to illness (American Institute on Stress). 72% of workers surveyed experienced three or more stress related illness (Northwestern National Life Insurance Company). 90% of working people reported that they are concerned they do not spend enough time with their families

Negative Impact of WLB

It was reported that the imbalance of work life obligations has very negative impact on employees including low morale, poor productivity and decreasing job satisfaction. Also, high levels of stress, emotional exhaustion and burnouts were reported leading absenteeism, violence, tardiness and work avoidance (Lockwood, 2003).

Positive Impact of WLB

Employees rated work life balance issues as the 16th factor that keeps them with the company (Lockwood, 2003). A study by Thompson, Beauvais, and Lyness at the City University of New York has “considered the links between an organization’s work / life culture and the extent to which employees’ intention to stay with the company”.

Johnson and Johnson reported 50% decline in absenteeism among employees who used the company’s flexible work options and family leave policies (Lockwood, 2003).

Factors Affecting WLB

  1. Individual Factors
    1. Personality
    2. Wellbeing
    3. Emotional intelligence
  2. Organizational Factors
    1. Work arrangements
    2. Work Life Balance practice and policies.
    3. Organization Support
    4. Superior support
    5. Job Stress.
    6. Role Conflict, Ambiguity, and overload.

 

3. Societal Factors

    1. Child Care arrangements
    2. Spouse, Family, Social Support
    3. Personal and Family demands
    4. Dependents issues
    5. Family quarrels

4. Other Factors

    1. Age, Gender, Marital status, Parental Status.
    2. Experience, Employee level, Job type, income, type of family.

Countries with Best WLB

Countries with Best WLB

Companies with Best WLB

 

Company

WLB Programs

15

Wegman’s

Fitness Programs

14

Starbucks

Bachelor’s degree with full tuition

13

Trader Joe’s

Flexibility in their corporate culture

12

Raytheon

Flexible working schedules

11

American Express

Flexible work arrangements

10

Pfizer Inc.

Online mentorship resources

9

Cisco

Fun Fund

8

Spirit Halloween Superstore

30 percent discount on merchandise

7

Capital One

Counseling services

6

Century 21

Discounts on all stores’ merchandise

5

NIKE

fitness discounts and tuition assistance

4

Southwest Airlines

Free unlimited travel privileges

3

Intuit

10 percent of working hours in pursuing passionate ideas

2

H-E-B

learning &development

1

H&R Block

tax preparation services, legal services and tuition assistance

 

Our Questionnaire

The Questionnaire used was designed by the Shodhganga Centre in India which is a center that provides a platform for

  • Sample Number: It was sent to 50.
    • It was answered by 32.
  • Sectors:
  • Manufacturing Sectors (Textiles, Furniture, Chemicals, Banking Sector)
    • IT Sector.
    • Sector Type: Public, Private, Multinational.
    • Levels: Middle and High Management.
    • Age: From 30-50 years.
    • Tools Used: Likert Scale.

Dimensions

Weight

Sometimes working more than 6 days a week

41%

Sometimes working more than 12 hours in a day

31%

Sometimes not able to balance work life obligations

23%

Usually unable to spend enough time with your family

22%

Usually missing out any quality time with your family or your friends because of pressure of work

41%

Usually feeling tired or depressed because of work

41%

Always not able to balance your work life

40%

Always worry about work when not actually at work

70%

Always unable to spend enough time with your family

25%

Does your company have a separate policy for work-life balance? (NO)

71%

Flexible Working Hours was one of the recommended actions for organizations to follow to sustain a WLB for its employees.

HR Practices for WLB

  • Flexible schedules including flexible hours (adjusting start/end of day).
  • Flex/compressed work week
  • Flex locations (working from home or satellite office).
  • Flex summers (short-term flex hours policy).
  • Flex careers (extended time off for personal reasons, agency maintains connection through mentor or benefits).
  • Allowing leaves (maternal, childcare, parent care…etc.)
  • Job Sharing.
  • Seminars on Work Life Balance.
  • Staff Survey on Work Life Conflicts.
  • Internal social network (forum, blog, mentor, coaches) for working parents.
  • Wellness/resource room (for meditation, prayer, back-up childcare, recycled maternity clothes).
Our WLB

Conclusion...

As a businessman or a leader, you need to know how to gain from work life balance policies and avoid the negative conflicting side of it. Failing to do so is leading to inevitable loss of productivity and good employees.

Organizations need to implement best practices as well as making it a habit to give its employees the right balance for their life and productivity on both sides.

In Pinnacle we understand the importance of applying Organizational Excellence and the world class standards with the scientific yet practical ways of doing the business; we help our clients to be more productive and cost efficient using appropriate Lean Six Sigma Tools and EFQM while assisting clients in achieving their business objectives and goals.

In Pinnacle, our service EFQM Certified consultants will be able to help you to quickly assess your workplace through our assessment methodology and design and recommend the best plans based on EFQM in your workplace, whether it is an office, production room, factory, or manufacturing facilities.

Our Audit Team will be able to support in continuous improvements and ensures that what our team of consultants have agreed upon with you and your team has been implemented so that your business achieves the cost efficiency and effectiveness in the way you desire to be competitive. 

In Pinnacle we understand the challenges business face with the current dynamics, we have been helping organizations big and small to be able to face the storm of economic effect of Coronavirus by being able to assess the situation based on Lean Six Sigma methodology, then define the best strategy moving forward.

Please use contact us and one of our business development managers will be calling you to support

Pinnacle® is a multi-country consultancy firm. Our consultants are spread around the world; we are divers organization with 70% of our consultants women and 14 nationalities. We have built our organization on modern business model with agility, diversity, and resilience to the business dynamics. We have chosen our technology platform to support our modern mindset thus we work from anywhere …. As work is not a place anymore. We implement Lean Six Sigma in everything we do whether internally or externally at our client sites. 

This article is written by:
Dr. Hazem Baraka
Pinnacle Organizational Excellence Consultant EQFM Certified Assessor and accreditation
Pinnacle Ltd.

Pinnacle Ltd. is a multi-countries modern consultancy firm, with offices around 13 countries in 4 continents, and 34 consultants working remotely and virtually managed.

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