Work Life Balance
In a society filled with conflicting responsibilities and commitments, work/life balance has become a predominant issue in the workplace. Three major factors contribute to the interest in, and the importance of, serious consideration of work/life balance: 1) global competition; 2) renewed interest in personal lives/family values; and 3) an aging workforce. Research suggests that forward-thinking human resource professionals seeking innovative ways to augment their organization’s competitive advantage in the marketplace may find that work/life balance challenges off era win-win solution.
Work/Life Balance: n. A state of equilibrium in which the demands of both a person’s job and personal life are equal. Phrases and words serve as cultural signposts to explain where we are and where we are going. The term “work/life balance” was coined in 1986, although its usage in everyday language was sporadic for a number of years. Interestingly, work/life programs existed as early as the 1930s. Before World War II, the W.K. Kellogg Company created four six-hour shifts to replace the traditional three daily eight-hour shifts, and the new shifts resulted in increased employee morale and efficiency. In the 1980s and 1990s, companies began to offer work/life programs. While the first wave of these programs were primarily to support women with children, today’s work/life programs are less gender-specific and recognize other commitments as well as those of the family. Work/life balance initiatives are not only a U.S. phenomenon. Employees in global communities also want flexibility and control over their work and personal lives. However, for the purpose of this article, the research and surveys presented focus on work/life balance in the United States.
Defining Work/Life Balance:
Life is a balancing act, and in American society, it is safe to say that almost everyone is seeking work/life balance. But what exactly is work/life balance?