Finding a good Work life balance Essay

By perusing the literature this reappraisal will try to critically measure Work-life balance patterns in an organizational context. The construction of the paper is broken down into five subdivisions which consist of subheadings relevant to work-life balance, across-the-board:

what is work-life balance,

why work-life balance,

Demographic alterations

employer demand for WLB

employee demand for WLB

work-life policies patterns,

work-life balance theoretical account

best pattern

strategic integrating

the concern instance touching on work-life balance impact on public presentation.

Summary of literature reappraisal

2.2 What is Work-life balance?

In the late 1970 ‘s emerged the survey of work-life balance chiefly as a “ adult female ‘s issue ” , by the late 1980 ‘s the focal point shifted to more on the development of effectual policies ( Frame and Hartog 2003 ) 1. Recently, the focal point has been on the sensed benefit to the organisation2. Similarly, Harrington and Ladge ( 2009 ) put frontward that the in the twenty-first century the subject of work-life has progressed into one of the most important concern issues. The writers advocate that though work-life is rooted in the history of adult female ‘s right and equal chance, the construct has shifted in focal point from entirely a adult female ‘s concern to a direction issue3. Hence, understanding the construct of work-life balance is of paramount importance before it can be farther reviewed, which leads to specifying what work-life balance is.

There are several definitions on this topic, nevertheless, these suggestions stands out:

Clutterbuck ( 2003 ) 4 posit that work-life balance is:

Bing cognizant of different demands on clip and energy

Having the ability to do picks in the allotment of clip and energy

Knowing what values to use to picks

Making picks.

On the other manus, Sparrow and Cooper ( 2003:219 ) 5 make the point that “ work-life balance concerns those patterns that enhance the flexibleness and liberty of the employee in this procedure of integrating and in the dialogue over the attending and presence required ” . However, Bratton and Gold ( 2003 ) gives a broader definition of work-life balance, where the writers describe it as the demand to “ equilibrate work and leisure/family activities ” 6. Fleetwood ( 2007 p. 351 ) travel further in proposing that work-life balance is about “ people holding a step of control over when, where and how they work ” 7.

Work-life balance is so an of import subset in the administration as a whole nevertheless, it is of import to cognize why the demand for enterprises this will be discussed in the following subdivision.

2.3 Why Work-life balance
2.3.1 Demographics factors

Torrington EL at ( 2008 p 736 ) claim that work-life balance patterns originate from the altering demographic makeup of our possible work force, altering societal functions, the altering duties of administrations and legislative force per unit area. The increasing figure of adult females in the work force wishing to unite household and work duties is an obvious driver. The ageing work force, a tight labor market, caring duties, work-life struggle, long working hours, work intensification and greater degrees of emphasis form portion of demands of life.

Similarly, Lewis ( 1997 cited in O’Brien and Hayden 2008 ) cites five chief grounds for the debut of flexible work patterns:

to run into the demand ;

to run into household friendly ends ;

political docket ;

equality docket ; and

the concern instance – inter alia accomplishments deficits, staff keeping, and turning away of workplace emphasis, curtail absenteeism.

2.3.2 Employee demand for WLB

However, McCarthy EL at ( 2009 ) propose that alterations impacting on the work environment over the past 10 to fifteen old ages such as globalisation of competition, and the fast gait of technological inventions have put excess clip demands on employees… An addition in dual-career households ( Swody & A ; Powel, 2007 ) , long transposing journeys and growing in the diverseness of household constructions ( Duxbury & A ; Higgings ) .These have all been chief factors in employee demand for WLB.

2.3.3 Employer demand for WLB

On the other manus, work undertaken by Wood ( 1999 cited in Beardwell 2007 p. 149 ) for the National Centre for Economic Research suggest that employers ‘ motivations for presenting work-life balance enterprises can be summarised within a quadruple theoretical categorization ;

institutional theory ;

organisational-adaption theory

high-commitment theory

practical response theory

Wood argues that those administrations runing in the populace sector demand to be seen to be proactive, and in the private sector there is seeable praises to be earned from puting the lead in developing and implement work-life balance solutions whilst houses with trade brotherhood presence are more likely to conform. Firms conforming to organizational adaptation theory are likely to be towards work-life balance enterprises because of specific organizational fortunes.

Within Wood ‘s model high-commitment theory is used to explicate the up-take of WLB enterprises where it is understood that mechanisms to assist employees achieve a better WLB may in bend engender greater degrees on employee committedness. Finally, practical response theory applies to administrations who display a instead more ad hoc attack to the development and debut of WLB enterprises ; fall backing to implementing WLB patterns if they are perceived to be good in assisting to turn to organizational troubles.

In noticing on Wood ‘s analysis Cluttterbuck ( 2004 cited in Beardwell 2007 p. 150 ) suggest that the primary drivers for WLB in the EU differ from those typically forwarded by US administrations. In the US he recognises a theoretical account steadfastly centred upon WLB as a beginning of competitory advantage whilst in the EU motivations typically push societal duty to the bow.

IRS ( 2002 cited in Torrington 2008 p. 736 ) added that the most popular grounds for employers to present work-life balance policies were recruitment and keeping. Torrington EL at ( 2008 p. 736 ) compose a farther influence of WLB is the demand for employers to react to what is now termed ‘a 24/7 society ‘ which deviates from normal working hours to longer working hours. Wise and Bond ( 2003 ) go oning on the same vena cites four chief drivers for presenting work-life policies:

Recruitment, enables going an “ employer of pick ” , besides countering negative work patterns such as longer working hours.

Retention “ more antiphonal to the work force ‘s changing and diverse demands ” .

Supportive working environment – bettering organizational civilization with end point heightened morale and motive among staff.

Equality – bettering entree through inclusiveness

However, Eikhof EL at. ( 2007 ) takes a different position and argues that flexible working hr strategies are offered as work-life balance leting employers to look employee-friendly whilst meeting concern demands. Similarly, Hyman and Summers ( 2004 p. 8 ) postulates that the chief ground for employers to present work-life balance enterprises comes from concern fight. However, the drivers behind work-life balance accordingly find what patterns administrations offer.

2.4 Work-life balance Practices
McCarthy EL at. ( 2009 ) makes the point that in existent fact, work-life balance enterprises are offered by organisations to help staff pull off the demands of work and personal life. There are three wide types of work-life balance patterns that can ease this: flexible work options, specialised leave policies and dependent-care benefits ( see figure 1 below ) .

Figure 1: Scope of different organizational work/life balance enterprises
1 Compressed work hebdomad

2 Flexi-time

3 Job sharing

4 Home teleworking

5 Work-at-home plans

6 Part-time work

7 Shorter work yearss for parents

8 Bereavement leave

9 Paid pregnancy leave

10 Paid leave to care for ill household members

11 Paternity leave

12 On site/near site company child care

13 Company referral system for child care

14 Program for exigency attention of ailment dependants

15 Childcare plans during school holiday

16 Re-entry strategy

17 Phased retirement

18 Sabbatical leave

19 Professional guidance

20 Life accomplishment plans

21 Subsidized exercising for fittingness Centre

22 Relocation aid

23 Work and household resource kit or library

Beginning: Bardoel ( 2003 cited in Hudson Highland Group 2005 ) .

Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: //

McCarthy EL at. ( 2009 ) 8 take a more in-depth position into what initiatives include:

Temporal agreements – which provide the employee with the chance to cut down the figure of hours they work for case.

Job sharing where two employees portion one occupation

Part-time working where an employee woks less than a full-time equivalent

Flexible agreements – which provide employees to choose a start and finish clip which match their personal demands but work certain nucleus hours.

Tele working, place working, e-working which offer locational flexibleness in finishing their work

Childcare installations – which provide on-site or off-site fiscal support.

Subsidised child care

The writers go farther to propose that work-life balance supports cardinal countries within the administration such as:

Employee reding

Employee aid plans

Time direction preparation and

Stress direction preparation

In visible radiation of the work-life enterprises being offered by administrations it is of import to see how it has worked for them.

2.4.1 Work-life balance theoretical account

Investors in people UK worked closely with Employers for work-life balance and Department of trade & A ; industry to develop a Model ( see figure 2 below ) . The model was designed so the employer can be after how they can organize work to enable a better balance to be achieved. It is a systematic attack that benefits both the employer and employee. The theoretical account has a cyclical form which consists of four rules viz. :





Harmonizing to investors in people UK ( 2003 ) 9 publication the theoretical account offers inquiries that administrations should be inquiring itself and provides a benchmark for internal measuring of where it is on the work-life graduated table. On the other manus, Evans, Head of Equality and Diversity, Lloyds TSB states that “ administrations who use the Model will happen the actions they undertake will better their enlisting and keeping capableness and heighten the position as employers of pick ” 10. This is apparent in the instance survey discussed in the undermentioned subdivision ( see figure 3 below ) .

Figure 2 – The Work-life balance Model
Beginning: Investors in people UK publications 2003

Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: //

2.4.2 Best Practice

Happy Computers was the first company in London to fulfill the demand of the investors in People work-life balance theoretical account. Human Resource Management International Digest ( 2008 ) in a instance survey carried out on UK computing machine developing company, Happy Computers found that flexible working helps maintain staff motivated. The paper reveals the “ employees turnover is 10 % a twelvemonth at the company, compared to an norm of 17 % for the information-technology preparation sector ” . Soon, there are more than 2000 possible employees waiting to hear about vacancies. However, there are jobs associated with current WLB patterns.

Figure 3 Happy employees have a good work-life balance
Peoples work best when they feel good about themselves
“ A work-life balance manner of working has been portion of our civilization throughout our 15-year being, ” said Henry Stewart, who pointed out that Happy was the first company in London to fulfill the demands of the Investors in People work-life balance theoretical account.

“ Our nucleus doctrine is that people work best when they feel good about themselves. I have n’t found anyone who disagrees with that, but how many companies base their direction and support around that rule? ”

Pull offing manager Cathy Busani said: “ The thought for a defined policy on work-life balance began when a member of staff became pregnant. After working out a bundle that would let her the flexibleness she needed, we decided we wanted to offer the same chances to all our staff.

“ We already had a flexible on the job civilization, but things needed to be formalized. So that we could be perfectly confident that everyone at Happy knew what was on offer, we ran a staff meeting to discourse all of the options available. ”

The company now uses assorted methods, including flexible hours, compressed hours, occupation sharing and dependence leave. Parents can even convey kids into the office during the school vacations, if an pressing demand arises.

“ Achieving a better work-life balance is a cultural mentality, non merely a set of policies, ” Cathy Busani continued. “ A cardinal component is a ‘can bash ‘ attitude. We ever consider unusual petitions or new methods within the context of concern demands. In pattern, we have ne’er had an case where a feasible solution could non be found.

“ It is besides of import that directors provide a function theoretical account for a healthy work-life balance. I work a four-day hebdomad and our main executive takes Wednesday forenoons off to go to a reading category at his girl ‘s school. ”

The company explains its policies at initiation and holds twice-yearly assessments that include a inquiry on work-life balance.

Customer service has improved
“ Because we are flexible with staff and they feel involved, they are flexible with us, ” said Cathy Busani. “ They frequently come up with solutions to staffing issues that we had n’t thought possible. Ultimately, client service has improved.

“ The staff are to the full motivated thanks to a more flexible on the job form. Our policies have besides enhanced our repute with both clients and employees. ”

Employee turnover is 10 per centum a twelvemonth, compared to an norm of 17 per centum for the information-technology preparation sector.

“ In the last twelvemonth, two of the staff who left us were on the telephone inquiring for their occupations back within two hebdomads of working elsewhere, ” said Cathy Busani. “ And yes, we took them back. ”

More than 2,000 possible employees are presently on a waiting list to hear about vacancies at Happy, so the company no longer needs to pass money on advertisement stations.

“ The lone negative of prosecuting family-friendly policies is that ciphering wages and one-year leave is more complicated, ” said Cathy Busani. “ However, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. Our family-friendly policies have worked so good and improved client service so much, that I wish we had introduced them even earlier in the concern ‘s development. ”

One employee commented: “ I have worked in many immense blue-chip organisations and none of them can keep a taper to Happy for how it treats and respects its staff. ”

Henry Stewart concluded: “ What people can accomplish when they are motivated and have the freedom to take charge is manner beyond anything anybody can be managed to make. ”

Beginning: Human Resource Management International Digest ( Pilot, 2008 pp 27-28 ) Emerald

Available from:

On the footing of empirical grounds, Haymen and Summers ( 2004 ) found that “ there are major jobs associated with current UK patterns over work-life balance ” 12. They conclude that many employees continue to confront trouble in accommodating their work and domestic duties irrespective of the patterns offered by employers. Reason for this is the jobs associated with present WLB constabularies:

First, formal written policies have been unevenly adopted across different sectors and administrations. The 1998 WERS found that fabrication constitutions had no policies but proviso was more likely to be found in the populace sector, companies with recognized trade brotherhoods and specialised HR map.

Lack of formalization of policies at an organizational degree, where many policies are informal and unwritten and controlled by line directors whom lack preparation, consciousness and apprehension of WLB issues.

There is restricted employee voice both separately and jointly over the debut, execution and influencing of policies.

They authors farther argue that employers seem to offer few work-life balance commissariats that do non transcend the statutory lower limit set by authorities.

2.4.3 Strategic Integration

Beauregard & A ; Henry ( 2009 ) supports the position of the above writers and argues the instance that employees fail to accomplish the balance between work and life due to unawareness. Additionally, there is the affair of deficiency of usage because of the jobs related with patterns. The writers found that in instances of awareness few work forces make usage of policies preferring to take holiday upon the birth of a kid. Hall ( 1990 cited in Beauregard and Henry 2009 ) refers to this as the ‘invisible daddy path ‘ .

Drew and Murtagh ( 2005 cited in O’Brien and Hayden 2008 ) , claim “ prevalent organizational civilizations run counter to efforts to accomplish work-life balance ” 13. The cardinal deductions in this subdivision propose that the handiness of work-life balance patterns in itself is non sufficient to demand usage. However, Beauregard and Henry ( 2009 ) suggest what is needed is the managerial support and the work-life clime of an administration to chair the nexus between work-life balance pattern proviso and both employee usage of patterns and perceptual experiences of organizational support.

Eaton ( 2003 cited in Beauregard and Henry 2009 ) found that the proviso of work-life patterns improved employees ‘ organizational committedness, but merely to the extent that employees felt free to utilize the patterns without negative effects to their work lives – such as damaged calling chances. Beauregard and Henry ( 2009 ) travel further to propose that there is an increasing sum of research back uping the impression that workers who make usage of work-life patterns suffer negative perceptual experiences from co-workers and higher-ups.

Therefore, some of the cardinal indexs posed by the writers above:



administration civilization

managerial support

colleague support

Suggest that some of these standards are needed in accomplishing a good work-life balance within the administration. Therefore in the undermentioned subdivision the sensed benefits that may be realised when WLB is achieved is discussed.

2.5 The Business Case
Employers for Work Life Balance, ( 2006 cited in Fleetwood 2007 p. 351 ) write that good work-life balance policies and patterns are good for concern, and some benefits can be straight measured financially. Other benefits include:

increased productiveness ;

improved enlisting and keeping ;

lower rates of absenteeism ;

reduced operating expenses ;

an improved client experience ;

a more motivated, satisfied and just work force.

Similarly, Thomson EL at. ( 2008 ) in a research paper found that the company Vodafone made significant measureable betterment to the degree of service through the debut of flexible working and turned the company about from failure to award-wining in two old ages. The company ‘s flexible working form used tight hours, where the employees chooses to work longer hours per twenty-four hours and take an excess twenty-four hours off on a regular basis. The writers continue in this vena and writes that if flexible working is introduced strategically it can do a major part to the bottom line.

Similarly, Research conducted by the Working Families Publications ( 2008 ) findings support the intuitive outlook that the employee who is better able to incorporate work and non-work will see enhanced wellbeing. This in bend reduces emphasis which is linked to well-being and WLB, the research was able to place that flexible workers were more committed to the administration. Besides, increased occupation satisfaction was mostly reported by those who work flexibly. Overall the consequences of the seven administrations which participated in the biennial undertaking found that there was a positive relationship between flexible working and single public presentation.

However, Beauregard and Henry ( 2009 ) claim that the concern instance for work-life balance patterns, remainder on pulling better appliers and cut downing work-life struggle among bing employees in order to heighten organizational public presentation. They found that there is grounds for the claim sing enlisting, but there is non adequate grounds to back up the thought that work-life patterns better public presentation by agencies of decreased work-life struggle.

In the concluding analysis, WLB initiatives play an of import function in transforming the employee and administration public presentation, coercing employers to believe different and act flexible. The writers above do non challenge that there are evidentiary benefits to WLB proviso and uptake via enlisting and choice nevertheless ; a decrease in work and life instability may non better public presentation.

2.6 Summary of Literature Review

In summing up, the literature reappraisal identifies work life balance as the chance for an employee to carry through both personal and professional excellence at the same time via common understanding between the employee and employer. This can convey approximately single, fiscal and societal benefits.

Policies being developed should be agreed upon and reviewed by both employee and employer to guarantee maximal satisfaction and productiveness to both parties. Employers recognise that work life balance is needed to promote bing employee committedness and for enlisting and keeping of new employees. Work life balance is besides good to employees who want to equilibrate work and household life and besides employees would be able to work shorter hours therefore seting less emphasis on themselves.

It is found that in most instances, proper work life balance policies and patterns can efficaciously do an addition in productiveness and can potentially be a critical success factor when strategically aligned with the company ‘s aims. As a effect this can be a major lending factor to a company ‘s competitory and advantage and hence, bottom line.

The proceeding chapter outlined the methods used for the mode in which information was collected for the undertaking.

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