Work life balance is an important issue that has been engaging the attention of research scholars, theoreticians, and practicing professionals alike. The increase in the number of dual-working couples and the ascendance of women to higher positions, and to professions traditionally regarded as male bastions, are two important factors that have contributed to increasing work life imbalance. Several studies have shown that work life balance has a direct bearing on organizational performance. It is, therefore, important for organizations to promote better work life balance among their employees. The factors that contribute to improved work life balance have been discussed extensively in literature on the subject. The steps taken by organizations and governments towards this end have also been fairly well documented. Within the work situation, organizations can improve work life balance by offering greater flexibility in terms of place and time of work to the employees, and by providing support and facilities to take care of some of the personal issues such as child rearing. In respect of issues that are rooted outside the work situation, the employer can provide better support, counseling and facilities, and encourage two-way communication. Visibility of management support to the issues and availability of such support, when needed, are two important determinants of the efficacy of such support in mitigating work life imbalance arising from non-work related issues. The literature survey shows that there is scope for an integrated study that takes a comprehensive perspective of the issue.
Work Life Balance
Work life balance refers to a harmonious and satisfying life that includes work, play and love. It means different things to different people, but a common thread is that being out of balance can cause serious trouble to a person both in personal and professional life. For organizations, good work life balance can enhance productivity and quality (Plana, 2005, p.77). While the issue of work life balance is, and has always been, important because of these considerations, it has assumed particular significance in recent times because of a number of changes that have taken place in the professional and personal lives of people. Dual-worker couples are increasing in number and becoming more significant to society, as more women are assuming prominent roles in organizations, and are occupying positions that were previously dominated by men. The number of women working in executive and managerial positions rose by 95%, in the United States, between 1980 and 1990. Dual working couples already constitute 60-70% of the workforce, and this is expected to rise to 80% within a decade (Block, 2014). The workplace situation has also become more complex and demanding, with organizations opting for leaner workforces, and expecting 24x7 attention to work through anytime, anywhere connectivity placing additional strains on maintaining work life balance (Kalliath & Brough, 2008). While on the one hand, more women are in full time paid employment and are occupying positions that demand full time attention, families also need greater attention now than ever before. With increasing life expectancy, more working couples are burdened with the responsibility of caring for the elderly as well as young children (Block, 2014). Against this background, it has become essential for organizations to understand how work life balance affects performance and the means by which it can be improved. Research into this subject has consequently assumed great importance. Research Purpose and Questions
The purpose of the proposed research is to understand the impact of work life balance on organization performance, identify the factors that contribute to better work life balance, and to identify the means by which organizations can measure and improve work life balance. The following are the three research questions that will be addressed by...
References: Blyton, P., & Jenkins, J. (2007). Key Concepts in Work. London: Sage Publications.
International Labor Office. (2012). Stress Prevention at Work Checkpoints. Geneva: International Labor Office.
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