Today people are engaged in many responsibilities and leisure activities for instance family life and education among others because they are more financially stable. This explains the disparity in the concept of work life balance as perceived by people for instance some require free time from work to do their personal activities for example shopping, laundering and family time. To others their employment should support their requirements to decrease their struggle while others demand stress free employments (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001).
Therefore, factoring this aspects work life balance can be defined as a balance that enables people to attain satisfaction in their multiple tasks in regards to working hours and working conditions. It should also be a two way concept benefiting both the employee and the employer whereby work life and personal life complement each other (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001). However, the definition of work life balance as perceived by an individual is liable to change with time as people gain new responsibilities, commitments and personal interest.
Work life balance in an organization is determined by work policies, organizational culture which includes the norms, values and beliefs stipulated in the regulations of the organization, management communication and employment relationship which includes respect and provision of employee’s rights and career advancement through training programs and promotion among others (HBR 2000).
Employees perceive work life balance as provision of flexible working hours attained through job sharing and compression of working hours among others to enable them balance between the demands of their employment and those arising from their personal life (Baxter 2000). According to the employers work life balance should help them manage the organizational culture, performance of the organization and implementation of the organization’s policies to enable them maintain a good employment relationship, have the correct quantity and quality of workforce and increase the profit margin of the organization among others (Clavo 2000).
Work life balance helps employers to improve the performance of the organization through the increased work output of employees which is done diligently and competently (Clavo 2000). Work life balance helps employees to develop a profound relationship with the organizations utilizing the resources availed to them maximally while still protecting them due to the provision of employee engagement opportunities. Therefore, the business becomes cost effective benefiting the employer even more. For instance in UK it is estimated that about ?3. billion and 80 million working days are lost by employers annually because of work stress thus increasing business overhead costs(HBR 2000). In UK for example companies like GlaxoSmithKline, IBM and Lloyd have greatly benefited from work life balance because their improved performance and development can be attributed to the implementation of this concept in the organizational culture (HBR 2000). Therefore, unions and government policies help to avert these conditions and promote implementation of work life balance in businesses (Clavo 2000).
Moreover, work life balance has helped employers to meet customer’s demands by changing the flexible schedule of the organization to suit customer’s demands and employee’s needs. For example Bristol City Council extended its operation hours of public libraries to Sunday to meet all the demands of its customers (HBR 2000). Work life balance also presents an advantage to employers in that they are able improve their staffing strategies and thus obtain the best workforce.
For instance considering the future of UK a higher percentage of the population will be old in the next ten years to come therefore a there will be an increased demand for young employees who are energetic, motivated and enthusiastic (HBR 2000). On the other hand these graduates will be seeking employment opportunities that are flexible because most will be having elderly people to take care of (HBR 2000). The government perceives work life balance as a tool of fulfilling and implementing their goals and objectives in regards to the improvement of the welfare of population and the economy of UK.
Therefore the government, unions and the business culture have formulated policies, principles and regulations in an attempt of promoting the establishment of work life balance in business settings. For instance the European Union aims at increasing the employment opportunities to women to more than 60% by 2010 (HBR 2000). Demanding employments that increase working hours have negative impact on the relationship between families and individuals. Stress resulting from the overload of work is depicted by the communication that ensues within a family setting.
Overworked employees also tend to be moody, aggressive and lack the motivation spirit which is replicated into the other family members. The long working hour’s affects the social aspect of the employees therefore cannot spend quality time with their family members such as involvement in leisure activities therefore it becomes difficult for employees to manage their time (Fallon 1997). This deteriorates their efforts and competence because they are always tired and fed up from the workload and stress.
Therefore the policies and regulations stipulated by organizations, government and unions play a big part in ensuring work life balance is implemented into UK businesses. For example the government together with unions have established family-friendly employer contests to encourage employers to stimulate work life balance principles into their organizations culture and business plan (Fallon 1997). The relationship between parents and their children greatly drifts a part as parents spend most of their time working because many children demand attention from their parents.
Communication between the parents and their children is also affected because they are not free with each other (Baxter 2000). The children lack opportunities to seek advice from their parents and in most cases drop them as their role models. In most cases most children became depresses as they perceive their parents to be ignoring and not loving them unconditionally especially when they miss out on important activities such as ceremonies, for example birthdays and important school activities like prize giving days.
This explains the increased rate of youth behaviour discrepancy as they become violent, aggressive and indulge into activities such as drug abuse to gain the attention from their parents (Baxter 2000). Most parents end up quitting or losing their jobs in preference to their children. Furthermore the stress that these parents have due to working for long hours makes them to withdraw from their children by being less responsible and caring (Clavo 2000). The government has played their part by stipulating policies whose mandate demands the adherence of every employer.
For instance the Australian government has formulated a fair work bill with the aim of helping employees to manage their time effectively to be financially stable and also spend time with their children. The bill also protects the welfare of the employers by ensuring the performance of the organizations is at its best capability through promotion of work life balance in businesses settings (Gornick & Meyers 2001). Couple relationships are also not spared from the negative impact of working long hours.
Conflicts results especially to couples that have family responsibilities as they seem to withdraw from their responsibilities. This is especially depicted in couples that have pre-school kids as they demand more responsibility, devotion and time from their parents (Galinsky et al. 2001). Stress nosedives their motivation due to increase of mood swing episodes which makes couples to withdraw from each other thus spend less time together. This explains the increased divorce cases in the UK courts.
The number of couples that visit counsellors to solve problems between them because they are out of their control has also increased. Increase in marital tension and companionship has made many women opt being housewives to eliminate conflicts in their marital relationship (Galinsky et al. 2001). Couples that work for long hours have reduced their sexual pleasures and needs these makes the unaffected partner to result to irresponsible behaviour such as been unfaithful to their partners and alcoholism among others.
Unions, government and business have implemented policies and regulations that campaign for the adherence of the employers towards the establishment of a perpetual employment relationship which reduces stress in the lives of employees thus improving the relationship that ensues between couples. Therefore chances of conflict build up are minimal and more time is created to them (Galinsky et al. 2001).
The increased need for work life balance due to the increased number of single parents, women in employment, women returning to employment after child birth, divorce cases, juvenile discrepancies, responsibilities and higher demand of social life has improved employment relationships. However, the provision of statutory benefits such as family leave days has deteriorated. Therefore, businesses, the government and unions should aim at creating a balance between the two business principles to further improve business culture which results to the growth of the business and further satisfaction of employees.