The Work Life Balance Management Essay

Work life is to combine the family relations, free time and work successfully and achieve a satisfactory life. It is the skill to set priorities of work and life and be satisfied with ones career and life. In the past work and life was two separate entities now it has become ambiguous, people cannot draw a distinct line between their work and career. As a result of this ambiguity people can hardly get satisfactory result. People try to spend quality time with their family members, caring for elderly parents, loving their children, getting ahead with work, doing household chores, but people can’t do all these together. There is imbalance between their life and work due to long working hours, insufficient hiring, additional work handed down by management, expanding global economy, long hours on the way, etc and therefore quit their jobs during critical times.

Due to increased global competition, companies are more demanding regarding work done by their employees. Companies offer benefits and compensations to motivate their employees for more quality work. It is causing stress among employees if they are not meeting the required standards. And stress is the root cause of mental and physical problems. Companies have to work for workplace flexibility to avoid this growing problem if they want more efficient employees.

The flexible workplace arrangements results into happier healthier and retention of employees in the firm. There are generally three possibilities for a firm one that the costs of these practices outweigh the benefits in such a case firm should not adopt these practices. Another case is that the cost and benefits of these practices are similar so the firm should be indifferent regarding these practices. The third situation could be where the firm’s costs of these practices are less than benefits of flexible workplace arrangements, and then firms should adopt these policies and practices. An initiative taken by fortune 500 companies about the flexible workplace benefits raised 0.36% their average stock price. Such evidences show that such initiatives boost investors’ perceptions about the value of the firm.

Incomplete adoption of best management practice is due to lack of information. The supervisor should be encouraged to revaluate their policies and practices regarding flexible workplace arrangements as it are the increasing demand of employees. Employees should use their right to request for work hour arrangements and other flexible workplace practices.

Literature review:

Amir and Hira (2011) consider the correlation between work stress and life imbalances. Either male or female both are equally affected by the work stress which cause imbalance in their life. Noor and Maad (2008) finds that there is positive relationship between work life imbalance and turnover. pakisttani marketing executives were analysed and the finding shows that marketing executives get more stress due to their active and constantly changing schedule. They have to meet the target revenue and when they fail to do so it results into high turnover. According to research finding of Malik and Khalid (2008) men and women want work hour adjustments and reduction in work hours. More pressure they feel to balance their home and work and due to this struggle for economic life men and women sacrifice their health and better child care. Greenhaus and Collins (2003) have linked work life balance with quality of life. When individuals invest more in their combined work and life they achieve a quality life and they are more satisfied with their life. (Gwao, 2009) Work life imbalance is posed by organizations practices and policies however organizations are now practicing some policies to reduce work life imbalance. Guest (2002) consider many factors which intensifies the pressure on work such as advanced technologies, fast moving information, customization, rapid changing demand and constant quality improvement policies and just in time availability of products have caused more work load and pressure and imbalance work and life.

Work life conflict is defined as:

“a form of inner-role conflict in which work and family demands are mutually incompatible, meeting demands of both the domains is difficult” (Higgins, Duzbury and Lyons, 2007).

How to balance work and life?

Employees should negotiate flexible work timings with the employers and job sharing.

Find the jobs those are less stressful and have flexible working hours.

Life should be given importance because it is too short and people should enjoy them with their family.

People should try not to choose the jobs which cause stress and disturb ones’ personal life.

People should be more organized; they should set their goals and set deadlines to achieve them.

People should share their work load and even family chores with their friends and colleagues, and trust them that they can do better like people themselves doing them.

Firstly people should try their best to complete their chores within those deadlines, but still if it is not complete so don’t stress yourself rather one should be more reasonable wether has some effect one ones’ life or not.

Don’t burdensome yourself with the duties and responsibilities rather discuss them with your family and friends and share your responsibilities if possible.

Don’t take too much of responsibilities and try to simplify your life.

Celebrate your success with your family members and friends and don’t take stress of your failure.

Don’t expect perfection from yourself always.

Learn to say no to the people for any chores that burdensome you.

Make sure that 100% of the planes you make only 50% of it is possible to be done.

People should do not try to do everything in a day rather they should try to make a realistic work schedule to follow that and avoid burdening himself or herself.

People should be confident enough to say no to the people if they are too busy to do the stuff on demand.

To have balance work and life people should not expect themselves perfection every time. Rather they should relax and be cool if after so much of trial could not does the job better.

A person should always try to get some time free to spend them happily at home with family and friends.

Pros and cons of not having work life balance:

There are physiological and psychological effects of stress if someone mission work-life balance.

Over-work and depression can cause cardiovascular disease, sexual health problems, a weaker immune system and consistent headaches.

Missing work-life balance also results into stiff muscles and backache.

Absence of workplace flexibility results into poor quality work, easily irritability and nervousness, exhaustion and difficulty in concentrating.

Stress also leads to over eating, smoking, and dependency on drugs.

Imbalanced work and life cause tension at work and also at family life. Because the parents are not able to pay attention to their children and also lack concentration at work.

Working 50-60 hours in a week constantly for many years is unhealthy. Research shows that working 60 hours a week quickly begins to lower productivity of employees and nullifying all the extra hours and efforts spent in the office.

There is rampant depression and stress if one is not able to give proper time to work and family life and this is happening in America.

Work-life balance implementation, affect and success in Pakistan:

Researchers have found that managing work and family demands have caused more stress among employees. Those who are under stress all the time cannot give full attention neither to work nor to family life. So the organizations need to work more on how to reduce stress level among employees so that work performance could be improved. Due to stress there is more turnovers among employees which worries the organizations due to increasing costs of hiring and turnover of more talented and intelligent employees. Researchers suggest that if organizations want to reduce the turnover among the employees should work more on reducing the stress level among employees which is caused due to job demands and life demands. One technique to increase employee retention is to pay close attention on stress among human resource in organizations. Stress management trainings must be conducted to reduce the stress among employees which is less costly and also easy to implement for organizations.

Organizations must review the organizational structure, processes, practices and the system to analyse the factors that cause stress and overwork among employees. Researchers suggest that work life conflict affect psychologically. Now the companies are more conscious about work life balance among employees. High turnover harm the organizations because of disrupted continuity of critical case issues and management functions. Now organizations are working for work redesign to reduce the over work timings and turn them to flexible work system. Organizations must integrate such policies and practices which are causing less stress to reduce the turnover among employees. The better performance of human resource can be achieved through more of relaxed working environment.

Pakistan is moving fast in the race of economy and social life changes. In the last few decades it is one of the fastest growing countries in economy. To meet these challenges of standard life style both parents have to work day and night. There is also high inflation pertaining in the country and people cannot meet their expenses easily unless they work over time. The monthly expenditure in the year 1996 – 2000 was Rs 6757 in the urban areas of Pakistan which increase to Rs 8997 in the year 2001 – 2004, Rs 9121 in 2005-06, Rs 10583 in 2006-08 and escalated to Rs 15000 2009 – 2010. In this fastest moving era both husband and wife have to work to maintain better standard of life. To meet the challenges of economy and changing social life creates stress among people at work as well as home. In this case companies have to work for better work-life balance.

The work-life conflict is causing more turnovers among marketing executives in Pakistan:

The dictionary meaning of stress is worry experience by a person in particular situation. Whereas stress is defined as work pressure among employees which cause biological and psychological reactions, at the same time stress can also be caused due to problems in the life of a person. And when the problems of work and life combine they cause more serious psychological and biological reactions. Stress has negative impacts both on organizations and the employees’ personal life. Stress causes many diseases. Stress causing low job commitment and dissatisfaction which results in high turnover.

Marketing executives are more stressed due to wild and large are of influence in the market. To achieve customer satisfaction marketing executives frequently re-design their schedules which affect their work and personal life. To be active, competitive and responsive cause more pressure and work stress. If marketing executives don’t get the desired goal even after hard work so they become more frustrated and disappointed and as a result they quit the organization. The relationship of employees with the organization is very vital for organization to achieve best performance. If human resource get stressed and goes with exhaustion and absenteeism harm the organization’s required output.

Unilever Pakistan:

Unilever understands that relaxed and motivated individuals can only work better for the organization, keeping in view this concept unilever always work to keep its employees motivated and one of the benefits it provides in this regard is workplace flexibility.

Unilever Pakistan provides workplace flexibility to its employees. It tries to fulfil the problems of employees at work making sure that it does not disturb the goals and objectives of the company. It provides more flexibility to its employees such as job sharing that if a employee is not able to work from the office so he can do that from home, employees have part time schemes, there are the benefits of maternity leaves and career breaks. Mostly the employees who are parents demand flexibility and unilever help them in this regard. Unilever tries to give the best solutions of workplace flexibility as long as it does not affect the goals of the company.


There are other ways unilever working for better quality of its employees’ life. Unilever has introduced much of technology to conduct meetings online such as video conferencing; video phones that are so real just like talking face to face. Unilever employees now don’t need to go to other countries for meeting most of the time and don’t need to stay away from their homes many days.

Healthy mind and body:

There are the activities designed for everybody to take care of themselves. There are the assessment campaigns for the employees encouraging them to have better nutrition and hygiene. Unilever also focuses on physical and mental fitness of its employees. It provides them physical activities for body fitness. Unilever provides it employees different work experiences to be able to perform to the best of their ability.



How American directives implementing WLB?

Some corporate executives in America say that work-life balance is not possible.

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch sparked a debate recently with comments he made at a Wall Street Journal conference. The bulk of his comments were interpreted as saying work-life balance is not possible.

That prompted a column in the Denver Business Journal by Teresa Taylor, former chief operating officer of Qwest Communications International Inc., saying that work-life balance in fact doesn’t exist.

“For several decades now, society has peddled the myth that a perfect balance between work life and home life exists, and that if you read enough books or attends enough workshops, you can find that balance. The cold, hard truth is that there is no such thing as work-life balance. It’s merely an illusion, a myth propagated by a society that desperately wants to believe it’s possible to have it all without sacrificing anything,” she wrote.

There are many small businesses who successfully implementing work life balances and there are also international companies implementing flexible workplace. Examples include: A report detailed the top 25 companies for work-life balance, and cited such behemoths as General Mills, Colgate-Palmolive Co., Chevron Corp. and Southwest Airlines as getting high marks.

Work life balance and the economics of workplace flexibility:

Flexible workplace arrangements can be in terms of when one works, where one works, or how much one works (including time off after childbirth or other life events). They include a variety of arrangements such as job sharing, phased retirement of older workers, and telecommuting, that allow workers to continue making productive contributions to the workforce while also attending to family and other responsibilities.

One half of Americans comprise of female and one half of household adults working and attending schools. In this way people can’t maintain balance between life and work. They want to make their career and also have a good relationship with the family members which has generated the need to maintain a balance which has brought change in American society in a way that now organizations providing workplace flexibility such as job sharing, telecommuting and flexible hours, etc to make organization more productive.

In U.S. labour market workforce skills have increased due to increasing awareness about importance of education among people. The importances of work skills have increased in the labour market and so the importance of education which can make employees more skilful. In mid 1960’s college graduates earned 50% more than high school graduates and this percentage is doubling by the time. Researchers suggest that 1/3 of productivity growth was due to education between 1950 and 1993. In modern American workplace employers are required to have more analytical and communication skills and these trends are growing by the time. American workers are increasingly returning to degree granting institutions and the percentage of enrolment has increased between 1970 and 2006 even after their traditional school age has passed.

There are the evidences that workers do not need to reduce their working hours to have a balanced working life. Technological advancements have helped the household to reduce the long working hours in the kitchen or at home doing other stuffs, in the same way computing have also reduced much of the annual system of long working hours. Economists estimate that relative to the mid-1960s, on average American in recent years have had more time to spend on socializing, passive leisure, active leisure, volunteering pet care, gardening and other activities.

Workplace flexibility in the United States:

There is the need to balance the household responsibilities with the workplace responsibilities but to what extend does the workplace can provide flexibility to balance these two poles? There are different types of workplace flexibility that a firm provides to its workers. The workplace flexibility includes scheduling of hours, number of hours worked, the conditions under which employees work, etc.

Scheduling of working hours:

One of the most important factors in work life balance is flexible scheduling hours. More employees prefer flexible scheduling hours such as control over when they work, when a worker arrives or leaves, when to have breaks and leaves, and when one works more hours and partial work day. The data from the National Study of Employers suggest that in 2007, 79% of employers allowed at least some workers to periodically change their starting and quitting times, within some range of hours. Fewer employers (32%) allowed at least some workers to change starting and quitting times on a daily basis.

However in another survey of Current Population Survey there is only 28% of full-time workers had flexible work hours. There are the differences between the current population survey and national study of employers. Current population survey discusses the survey within perspectives of employees whereas national study of employers discusses the workplace flexibility within perspectives of employers.

The CPS data also reveals that there is the difference of workplace flexibility among the industries. The workers with the productions only about 25% report less flexible working arrangements whereas workers in financial activities and professionals and business services industries report 40% workplace flexibility.

This is workplace flexibility providing the number of hours the employees work. It includes the number of hours worked in a week and the number of leaves made at work. In 2007, 29% of employers allowed some of workers for job sharing and 41% reported allowing some individuals to move from full-time to part-time and back again while remaining at the same position or level. Small number of firms allowed this benefit for employees. There has been very small change in this practice since 1998.

According to National Survey of Employers, there are the firms offering either some employees or most employees related workplace flexibility benefits. 77% of firms allow some of employees the benefit to Return to work gradually after childbirth or adoption and 57% of firms allow all employees or most of employees to attain this benefit, 74% of firms allow some of employees take paid or unpaid leave for education or training to improve job skills and 40% allow most or all of their employees this benefit, 53% of firms allow some of employees work reduced hours over a period of time prior to full retirement and 25% allow all or most of their employees to avail this benefit, 41% of firms allow employees move from full time to part time and back again remaining in the same position or level and 13% of firms allow all or most of their employees to attain this benefit and 29% of firms allow their employees to share jobs and 8% allow all or most of employees to avail this benefit.

Paid leave is an important benefit for employers especially for workers who are poor. The 2008 National Survey of employers suggests that half of employers almost 47% allowed a few days off to care for mildly ill children without losing pay or having to use vacation days.

Work place flexibility:

Many jobs require the employees to be physically present at work and without being physically present the job cannot be done such as clerical work and teaching, and team works. For other works, a substantial fraction of work can be done from home or a satellite office. One study shows that in 2000 almost half of the all jobs could be done from satellite offices and this fraction has increased as a result of speeder internet and other technologies.

The National Study of Employers’ report shows us the extent to which employers have adopted policies and practices that allow for flexibility in where employees work. In 2007 23%employers reported allowing the employees to do work from home and only 1% employers allowed it’s all workers to work from home.

Other flexibilities in working:

Another form of workplace flexibility is evaluation based on performance of employees rather than number of hours worked. This practice in management is called “results-only work environment” (or ROWE), it allows the workers to choose where when and how long they should work to complete the given task. In addition to ROWE there is practice of telecommuting. Telecommuting is that where ever the employees are they can complete the given task without effecting its productivity or service. Example is the Executive Office of the President (EOP) has used telecommuting. For the past many years EOP has used telecommuting for the workplace flexibility. They employees have been issued laptops and all the employees can connect to the network through internet anywhere in the United States. These practices help employees balance work and family responsibilities. It also help the government operate effectively during emergency situation. For example in February 2010, the Washington, D.C. area was blanketed with over 30 of snow over a 12-day period. All the roads were shut down and people could not drive to their offices for days and yet more than 60% of EOP employees could log on from their homes and continued their work. By doing telecommuting federal government saved over $30 million per day.

Businesses and manufacturing sectors:

Workplace flexibility practices and policies differ from firm to firm. There are two types of firms where it is difficult to implement workplace flexibility one is small businesses and the other is manufacturing firms. Because in manufacturing firms the employees are not cross trained to work if one employee leaves then work of other employee is affected and in this way the complete production process is halted or slowed down which ultimately affects the cost of firm.

Small businesses:

There are arguments regarding workplace flexibility in small and large firms it is stated that most large firms provide workplace flexibility than small firms. In small firms team work is critical and every member of team is to be present and the other difficulty implementing workplace flexibility is to ensure the productivity of employees while they work from home. In small firms managers and employees have to meet quiet often to ensure efficiency. National Study of Employers suggests that small firms provide same or more level of workplace flexibility as large firms do.

Impact of working hours on turnover and recruitment:

Recruitment and retention are very important to employers because cost associated with turnover is very high. The employee leaving the organization must be replaced. And for this replacement firms have to go through costly recruitment process the cost include of advertising, time consumption for interviewing, searching for recruiting agencies and hiring a company recruiter and giving him bonuses for relocation. In addition when a firm leaves the company he takes out lots of other confidential information’s of the firm with him which can have disastrous consequences for a firm. Such losses are also costly for the firm because of the especially trained skilled employees who are the assets of a firm. That’s why firms provide competitive compensation package such as flexible workplace to retain the productive employees of the firm that other competing firms cannot provide such benefits. One study shows that hiring cost is $2500 per hire in large firms, and it is almost 3% of total annual labour costs for a full-time worker. Considering such a big cost and a big loss for the firm let the firm think about the effective measures that firms should apply those measures to retain the employees and one of those measures is flexible workplace practices.

Reduced working schedule and reduced absenteeism:

One study shows that employees take more stress due to imbalance obligations and work and it leads to absenteeism, with absenteeism costs to organizations ranging from $496 – $1,984 per employee per year. There are the studies which found that workers without flexible work hours switch more than workers with flexible working hours.

Absenteeism was reduced in a public utility company when it attended flexible work scheduling in one of its sub-units keeping the standard scheduling in other sub units. Firms could reduce its employee’s absenteeism round about 20%. Due to adoption of flexible workplace arrangements it is estimated that a firm can save around $15 billion a year.

Impact of working schedule on health of employees:

There is growing study regarding job stress and chronic hypertension and heart disease. Researchers are linking poor health to poor work outcomes. And at the same time it is found that flexible work arrangements lead to better health of a worker.

Working schedule has increased productivity:

There are the evidences found that there lies positive relationship between flexible workplace and productivity. In the research conducted by Germany, France, United Kingdom and U.S. there is positive relationship between productivity and flexible work arrangements. However no evidence of negative relationship found between the two.

Analysis of work life balance:

There are two reasons that organizations avoid looking and family life. The first reason is that organizations are willing to consider the balance between work and life, but they are uncertain as to which actions to be taken so that employees should have a balanced life. And how these actions will affect the organization’s output. And secondly there are the organizations that don’t want to work on these issues.

Firms that have adopted flexible workplace practices cite many economic benefits such as reduced absenteeism, turnover improved productivity, attracting and retaining workers, etc. Workplace flexibility has costs as well such as cost of recruiting, training and monitoring the part time rather than full time employees. Furthermore the projects that have short deadlines and that cannot be easily divided make it costly for not employing the workers full time. One third of the firms mention flexible workplace practices are costly for the firm.


Compensation has many components such as wages, health and retirement benefits, vacations, paid leaves, sick leaves. Employers provide many compensation packages. There are evidences that while applying for the jobs workers not only see the wage rate but also the compensations provided to them. Workers who are appointed for full time job require higher paid salary to pay for the services such as emergency child care and elderly care. If the benefits and value attached to flexible workplace is more than cost of flexible workplace then it means that flexible workplace practices are cost effective tools for attracting and retaining workers.

Quantifying the costs and benefits of workplace flexibility is difficult. It is definite that employees give importance to flexibility. A study of more than 1500 U.S. workers show that nearly one third consider work-life balance and flexibility to be the most important aspect in opting the job. In another study of 2000 employees report that one third of them selected the jobs with flexible working conditions, family-supportive practices and flexible hours as the most important policies for preferring a job. The fixed cost of the firm is reduced due to reduced turnover, lower recruitment cost, lower absenteeism rate and more efficient productivity.

The data reveal that there are differences in attainment of workplace flexibility. The workers with higher education such as businesses and other degrees report higher work place flexibility whereas workers with secondary and higher secondary education attain less flexible work arrangements. Economists explain it as a form of compensation. Since more educated people enjoy higher salary and are offered other benefits such as health care and workplace flexibility. There is also another study that people with the low wage rate report less flexible work arrangements. Occupations such as management and business and sales have more flexible work arrangements because of higher level of education attainment and the workers with school degrees attain less flexible workplace arrangements.

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