Work and Life Balance
Whether we like it or not, but our professional life is likely to invade our private life. The work is taking too much time in our lives so that we often do not have time for our close people. Reconciliation between work and private life is quite a difficult task. In order not to damage the relationship, one needs to be able to maintain a balance between work and personal life.
The conflict between family life and work remains to be one of the most typical reasons for stress for working adults. We live in a fast-developing society, where not all people can adequately perform their duties both at home and in the workplace. Often, workers do not know how to appropriately balance their work and families as there is always one element that is given a higher priority in comparison to another one. This behavior comes due to a lot of negative consequences such as inefficiency at work, tough family relationships, and poor physical and mental health.
Hansen found that causes for work-life conflicts are multiple roles and value discrepancies, with the former being the most documented cause of pressure (Flechl, 2010). Greenhaus and Beutell claimed that work-life conflicts increase when people have to perform multiple roles, which often lead to overloads and interferences (Poelmans, 2005).
The balance between work and other areas of life is important. There is no doubt that life at work greatly affects people’s attitude towards work and life outside the workplace. The balance between work and family life is not connected only by taking care of the family. For the most part, people should find the right balance between what they achieve at work and at home, and be enough “fresh” to generate new ideas and solutions.
For some employers, this concept includes the ability to provide a flexible schedule, so that workers will know what proper parenting is while taking into consideration personal development strategies. Therefore, employers should select a clear strategy whether they allow their employees to balance work and family or not.
The problem of the proper balance between personal life and work was first described in the 70th of the last century. During these years, employers considered this concept, mainly as a benefit that provided working mothers who “fought” with demands of combining work and parenting. The first company which developed a program of the proper balance between family and work was the company called Kellogg, which in 1930 introduced four 6 hour shifts instead of the traditional three shifts of 8 hours. Interestingly, these changes have led not only to the improvement of the corporate atmosphere but also to the growth of efficiency and productivity.
In the 1980s, the study called “Balance between Family and Work” began to be introduced to the public, and companies such as Merck, Deloitte & Touche, and IBM began to make changes regarding their employment policy (Chick, 2004). In particular, there are such practices as leaving a child for care programs, flexible working schedules, and working at home.
In addition, in the late 1980s, the practice of balancing between work and family was considered not only in terms of benefits for women. These practices were seen as those that affected men, families, and organizations as well.
During the 1990s, the position of the concept strengthened, and it was important for all categories of workers such as men and women, single and married people, as well as parents and without children. The growing awareness of the importance of balancing work and family has led to an increase in decision-making procedures in this area by numerous companies.
Regarding the present days and the current economic situation, the main objective of companies is to gain profit and control funds. Therefore, failure to balance work and family life can result in the loss of the company profits. International experts estimate the cost of failure to balance between work and family is 12 billion dollars. Performance shows that extensive work often leads to stress, illness, and depression. According to the research conducted in the United States, 62% of employees indicated that they suffer from excessive fatigue; 50% do not have time for their families and friends; 30% regularly suffer due to excessive workload (Poelmans, 2005).
The abovementioned problems have negative consequences in all aspects of individuals’ life causing:
1. Absence from work.
2. Non-professional performance of responsibilities.
3. Increase in the number of errors.
4. Reduction of motivation.
Consequently, this may have negative consequences for the productivity and financial success of a company.
The practice of balancing between work and family includes a variety of activities that should support the workers in many areas of their activities. Most of these measures focus on improving working conditions for employees providing employees opportunities for taking care of children, parents, and loved ones. The development of technology led to the emergence of telecommuting, which allows employees to perform their duties at home. Therefore, companies implement appropriate measures so that their employees can balance work and family in relation to new organizational policies.
One of the key elements for achieving the effective balance between work and family in any organization is the concept of flexible working hours. If employees have the opportunity to organize their work in a more flexible way, they become more motivated and productive. In addition, due to a flexible working schedule, there will be an absence of staff in the workplace. Flexible working hours allow employees to manage urgent situations, perform their job responsibilities and have time for special events that occur in their lives. This feature allows people to develop other aspects of their professional activities that can positively display their work in the company.
Another way to solve the problem is to establish part-time working. This kind of work has no clear schedule. It may include a late start of the day or early end of the day, or working only in the morning or evening hours. Therefore, part-time work presumes working fewer days per week. Sometimes working part-time allows the employee to be in the workplace less time than full-employment requires. The ability to work part-time is given mainly to young employees who are trained while doing their job.
In addition to implementing programs, the balance between work and family prevents a negative impact on the work of employees. This concept also brings profit for companies. The balance between work and family influences is an important aspect for any business leader who wants to improve his/her reputation, attract and retain employees, increase productivity, raise morale and savings.
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The company which supports the practice of balancing between work and family has a more positive attitude, which leads to the improvement of relations with employees while growing staff loyalty and lowering turnover frames. Moreover, healthy workers with low-stress
0levels require fewer funds for medical services so that the company does not lose its money due to workers’ illness.
In my case, the issue of balancing family and work life is a very sensitive issue. It is very difficult because I am in the military. I have four deployments in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. Family for me is very important and I do not want to choose between work and family. Family support plays a big role in my life and I do not know where I would be and where I would work, but my family will always support me and help.