WORK LIFE BALANCE
Table of Contents
1. Executive Summary3
2. Introduction: Work Life Balance3
3 Theories of Work Life Balance4
i.Spill over theory4
iii.Strategic choice theory4
v.Resource Based View5
4. Work Life Balance Policies6
5. Work life balance from an employee’s perspective9
6. Work life balance from the employer’s perspective10
7. Conclusion: Is Work life Balance achievable and/or Sustainable?12
1. Executive Summary
2. Introduction: Work Life Balance
Work life balance (WLB) is an issue that is increasingly being recognised as of strategic importance to organisations and of great importance to the employee. Over the years (WLB) has gained momentum within organisations, with employers realising the need to provide their employees with an environment that allows for personal time. Research suggests that achieving a work life balance increases well-being, helps motivate employees therefore increasing their performance and productivity.
WLB can be defined in several ways; according to Lazar, Osoian and Ratiu, (2010, p 202) “work life balance practices are practices that result in changes in programs or organizational culture that are designed to reduce work-life conflict and enable employees to be more effective at work and in other roles.” Grzywacz & Carslon, (2007 p 457) define it as “the accomplishment of role related expectations that are negotiated and shared between an individual and his or her role-related partners in the work and family domains” (Lazar, Osoian & Ratiu, 2010). “In a broader sense it is defined as a satisfactory level of involvement or ‘fit’ between the multiple roles in a person’s life”.
WLB seems to be little mentioned in the majority of organizations, especially those that may be under resourced or struggling in the market place, as all efforts are required to keep the organisation profitable, conversely achieving a work life balance is becoming a growing concern in Australia.
Organisations are increasingly realising the need to create policies that enable employees to achieve ‘fit’ or balance in their lives. This in some cases is a cause of conflict within human resource departments, as they develop these policies and are faced with the dilemma of placing the organisations interests before any WLB programs or policies. This therefore calls for organisational policies and practices that are well aligned to the organisations objectives and in turn influence organisational effectiveness.
3 Theories of Work Life Balance
Over the years theories have been developed to enable organisations understand the importance of providing their employees with a conducive work environment that will enable them attain balance in their lives. Though this has over time been an issue of debate, organisations are only now beginning to realise the benefits of WLB.
Several theories have been developed in a bid to highlight the importance of WLB to both employers and employees. Such are: Spill over theory, compensation theory, strategic choice theory, stakeholder theory and resource based view (RBV).
These theories in essence provide different perspectives, which one can observe to understand the interaction between the different groups within the organisations and how they influence strategic decisions, which include the creation of WLB policies.
Spill over theory
The spill over theory by Staines (cited in Scholaris and Marks, 2004 p. 56), argues that employee emotions and behaviour are carried over from one area of their life to the other. That one issue affecting an employee at home can and will most likely be carried forward to the work environment.
The compensation theory, argues that involvement in one sphere is increased in order to create satisfaction...