Managing Work Life Balance

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The current economic situation has been blamed for causing income loss, extended working hours and intense stress in workplaces all over the world. Due to this today people are being challenged to strike a balance between work life and family life. People are overwhelmed by the demanding careers, demanding families, a slow economy and so on. This has left people with little time for what they need and want to do.

Motivation refers to the desire, effort and passion to achieve something (Paul, Hoang, 2007). In business terms it is often referred to as the willingness to complete a task or job with enthusiasm. There are different motivators for every person. Some people are motivated by fears. Others are motivated by rewards. Many businesses recognize the fact that employees are their most important and valuable asset. And so it is essential that these businesses can get the most of them i.e. higher productivity so that their average cost of production is lowered and profits increased. However managers often are not able to get the best out of their employees which eventually leads to employees leaving the organization.

We are all familiar with stress. Stress is commonly associated with how well or badly people cope with changes in their lives - at home, within the family, at work or in social situations (Stranks, Jeremy W., 2005). So stress can be looked upon as an emotional and physical strain that is caused to people when they experience pressure from the outside world. Stress eventually leads to tension, irritation, lack of concentration and some physical problems such as headache, fast heart beats and high/low blood pressure.

Stress in work place if not managed properly will surely cause harm both to employer and employee. Job stress has become a common and costly problem in most workplaces.

Stress can be classified as positive and negative. Stress when handled well can prove to be positive but the pre-requisite of this is a mature manager who essentially gives positive stress in the form of targets to be achieved by the employees. This leads to extrinsic motivation as the managers makes the employees in the organization participate in an activity because of the benefits and rewards associated with the activity. When people participate in these activities and achieve targets then they are motivated. People working for the organization are motivated as achievable and practical targets give them a sense of achievement and the rewards associated with them satiates their esteem needs. In absence of targets/guidelines often people lack goals that guide them which lead to de-motivation.

According to the American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) people have a need for self-actualization (Paul, Hoang, 2007). Managers can encourage this by providing opportunities for personal development and promotion by setting targets. People also have esteem/ego needs according to Maslow (Paul, Hoang, 2007). This refers to the desire for recognition and being able to have self-respect. A manager is instrumental in providing both recognition and self-respect if employees in the organization are allowed to participate in decision making and are offered promotion if they achieve targets. These inconsiderate managers ignore the indications of stress amongst people working in the organization at all levels. These managers do not realise that such ignorance will prove to be costly for the organization as it would lead to low motivation, high absenteeism, fall in productivity, incorrect decision-making, poor industrial relations and lowered efficiency.

There are also other ways of motivating people at work by reducing stress. Managers need to involve more people in the decision making process (it is not possible to involve all of them). The more managers involve them the more attached they become to their work which makes them more involved and they like their work. When people like what they are doing then they do not...
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