Work-life balance is the term that is used to describe the time that an individual has allocated to work versus the other aspects of life. Several studies agree that work life balance promotes the performance of the people in the workplace while some other studies refute. Most of the employees in the organization have challenges in ensuring that they maintain work-life balance even though is beneficial in their lives and enables them to perform better in the workplace. Research shows that striking a balance between the work and the other events in the lives of the individuals plays an important role in ensuring success in the roles that the people undertake in the society. Several components make up the life of the individuals, and they affect the work-life balance. This paper gives tips on how people can strike a balance between their lives and the other important factors in their life and giving suggestions on what the people should not do if they have to strike such a balance. It also assesses the activities that the people do that affect their day to day activities and prevent them from enjoying their lives. It also contains the activities that the people should do to ensure that they balance their work and their life as they continue with their lives.
Work-life balance is the term used to describe the time that an individual has allocated to work versus the other aspects of life. There are some instances where an individual may allocate more time to the work that he or she does which may then have a negative influence on the life of the individual. Some businesses have efficient work balance mechanisms that they use to ensure that they avoid any work-life conflicts among their employees. Beauregard and Henry (2009) says that there is no evidence that the enhancement of the work-life balance improves the performance of the employees in a particular organization. They suggest a modification on the business plans and functions that will give more information on how work-life balance can be used to improve the performance of the employees within the organization.
The family and life conflict is caused by the lack of work-life balance. According to Bakker, Demerouti, and Dollard (2008), lack of balance between life and work is responsible for the family conflicts that are experienced in the society. This author addresses the components of the work versus the components of life, i.e. the other sectors of someone’s life, how the work-life balance influences productivity, the causes of work-life balance, and the changes in the perceived gender roles as well as the steps that are supposed to be taken to improve the work-life balance.
For Example, the working mothers rarely have time for themselves since they have to work in addition to taking care of their children (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008). The failure to strike a balance between work and life may cause many women to be less productive in the workplace. Some situations such as a child getting sick will demand that a mother takes some time off at work to attend to the children. The women are caregivers meaning that they have to take up the role of taking care of their children even when their husbands are free from work.
Hutchinson, (2017) appreciates the information from various researches that have been conducted relating to the relationship that inclusion and diversity in the ethics of an organization have on the health and wellbeing of all the stakeholders within the organization.
Most of the employees in the organization have challenges in ensuring that they maintain work-life balance even though is beneficial in their lives and enables them to perform better in the workplace. Companies are continuously coming up with creative ways that will ensure that their employees can practice the work-life balance in the society. Some of the strategies that are used include the development of child day care centers for the mothers with infants; they also organize team building events and the functions that help the employees to have some time for themselves. Most of the companies give breaks to the employees so that they have more time to interact with their families and also have time for themselves.
Research shows that striking a balance between the work and the other events in the lives of the individuals plays an important role in ensuring success in the roles that the people undertake in the society (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008). Companies should put initiatives in place to ensure that there is work life balance among the people in the society. Research suggests that failure of the employees to ensure a work-life balance affects the performance in general. It is necessary for the organization to create a conducive environment for the employees to work well within the organization (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008).
The components of the life that are affected by work
Several components make up the life of the individuals, and they affect the work-life balance. The factors include gender roles, family, personal recreation, spending time with friends and personal preferences. The components of work include the time spent at work and the activities that are performed by an individual in the workplace such as the assignments. Mothers have to create time for their family as well as their jobs, and it is very challenging for them. Some companies have daycare center services for the employees which have gone a long way in ensuring productivity in the place of work within the organization.
The companies are therefore helping the mothers to balance between their work, the care for the children and life in general. The presence of the child day care centers in the vicinity gives the mothers’ confidence to focus on their work since their children are safe and catered for meaning that the company has made it easier for the women to take care of their social gender roles as well as the roles that they have to perform at the workplace.
The mothers have a gender role of nursing their children, and they have to do even though they have a busy schedule or not. The federal government of the United States of America protects the right of the mothers to breastfeed their children which is one of the ways the government helps to grow families and to strike a work-life balance (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008).
In most families the mothers are care givers and they have to take care of the wellbeing of their families to ensure that the needs of all the people in the family and in the society is well taken care of for the benefit the society. The companies should be supportive when it comes to taking care of the women in the organization to ensure that they discharge their duties accordingly.
The other component of life that is affected by the work that a person does in the workplace is family. Most of the women in various workplaces have families. A good number of families are comprised of husbands, wives, and children. The family has to find some time together even though the members have to work. According to Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, (2008) most companies will not transfer a female employee to a distant place that will separate her with the family, which boosts the concentration at the workplace and subsequently leading to improved performance in the workplace. The ability to take good care of the families and having strong family bonds provide the employees with the necessary social support that they require to succeed in the workplace and delivering the mandate that they have been given in the workplace. The male workers should also be considered during the transfers in such a way that the male employees should not be taken to a much more distant place that will lead to challenges in their families (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008).
The relationship that the employees have with their families defines their ability to maintain their work-life balance. An employee that has a good relationship with the family is likely to take care of them as opposed to the individuals that have a bad relationship with their families (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008). The circumstances that affect the relationship of the employees with their families also affect the productivity at the workplace hence the issues have to be addressed by the respective individuals to the benefit of the company and the employees. Some of the conflicts that affect productivity in the workplace include the conflict between the spouses, conflict between the children and the parents among other conflicts. It is necessary for all the employees to ensure that they maintain healthy relationships with the people who matter in their lives and they should also strike a balance between the work that they do and their life in general (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008).
Causes of work-life imbalance
There are several causes of work-life imbalance that have to be worked upon urgently. More time spent at the workplace above the other areas of life and family characteristics. Some self-inflicted stresses such as high social recognition and provision of additional unpaid labor also cause a work-life imbalance among the employees in the organization (Bianchi & Milkie, 2010). The employees should ensure that they shun them as much as possible in such a way that they will live a much more balanced lives in the society and they may also take good care of their families for the betterment of the society.
Gender roles that have been given to the people in society are the biggest contributors to the cases of work-life imbalance in the organization. For instance, women have more gender roles compared to the men in society especially the married women who are taking care of their children. The nursing mothers may at times find themselves in a situation where they have to go with their infant at the workplace. Some of them can no longer balance the work and life hence they end up resigning from their jobs. A focus on the other parts of their lives such as family makes them to lose chances that could lead to their promotion at the workplace. Both men and women should play an active role in taking care of the family so that they relieve the women of the family pressures that they have to go through as a result of the families that they are taking care of. Some of the family are being headed by the women meaning that they have to play the role of both parents in the families (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008).
Spending more time at the workplace to the extent that one forgets his or her social duties is one of how the life-work imbalance is created. The other areas in someone’s life are therefore left unattended to. Most of the people who spend more time in the workplace do not have enough time with their families. They also do not have time for themselves. Such situations lead to workaholism that in turn affects the productivity of an individual in the workplace. Most of the homes in the society have gender roles hence even though an employee has a role to play in the workplace, he or she also has a role to play at home hence it is necessary that he or she balances between the two to ensure that they live fulfilled lives. A number of the employees are parents which means that they need some time with their children hence more time that they take in the workplace at the expense of the time that they are supposed to spend with their children is therefore detrimental to their lives in general. They must therefore strike a balance as they work so that they meet their needs as well as the needs of their families (Bianchi & Milkie, 2010).
Some companies encourage work-life imbalance by paying special perks to the individuals working overtime in the organization. Employees may decide to work for long hours so that they get the benefits of working overtime. A lot of time is spent at the workplace which affects the productivity of the employee the next day because he or she did not have enough time to rest and refresh. Companies are interested in the work being done hence they prefer their employees working overtime (Bianchi & Milkie, 2010).
More time spent at the workplace leads to the work-family conflict in such a way that the stability of a given family is threatened since one family member is always absent (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008). Some of the workplaces have many hazards that the staff has to deal with as they work in the organization. For instance, in the pharmaceutical sector, several chemicals are released in the air and are potentially dangerous to the health of the employees. An employee that takes more time in the chemical laboratories is endangering his or her life and may reduce his or her life span (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008).
There are times when the staff takes part in unpaid labor as a way of pleasing the employers. Some of them take their work to their homes such that instead of interacting with their families or carrying out important tasks that are important in their lives, they are working. Others overwork so that they gain social recognition in the workplace. Sometimes they are affected in such a way that they start facing the consequence of overworking. It is important that all the work be left in the office as a person goes to his home because the latter is not his or her workplace. Research has shown that the employees that take their work home are likely to face family conflicts that may make them not to concentrate in the workplace (Bianchi & Milkie, 2010).
How work-life balance influences productivity
Work-life balance influences the productivity of the employees in the workplace. The influence includes peace of mind that enables an individual to perform better, a refreshed mind that enables individuals to take on the roles in such a way that the results are better compared to those who lead the imbalanced lives. A refreshed mind enables the employees to concentrate on what they are doing to the benefit of the organization and for the benefit of the organization. Work-life balance leads to the improved morale of employees in such a way that they perform their best in the organization. The morale enables an individual to focus on the important tasks and perform them better (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008).
Work-life balance reduces cases of absenteeism among the workers since they can plan their time. Improvement in the working morale enables an individual to be conscious of the tasks that he is supposed to perform in the organization. Proper work balance enables individuals to take care of his or her health hence reduce the chances of absenteeism as a result of sicknesses. The companies whose staffs can balance their work with the other aspects of life have a happier and stress-free workforce that can achieve the goals of the company in a much better way. Work-life balance also reduces the cases of staff turnover and a reduction in recruitment costs. The cost reduction leads to increased profit margin as a result of the reduction in the expenses incurred in the organization (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Johnson, & Andrey, 2008).
Pitfalls to avoid when struggling with work-life balance
Some factors make it hard for the people to balance their time in the workplace and the performance of the other tasks that they are in charge of in their lives. The people struggling with work-life balance should avoid excessive multitasking. The more functions that an individual wants to do at once the less efficient he or she is likely to perform any of them in the organization. It also involves trying to juggle several tasks while at home. The other pitfall that the people should avoid when struggling with work-life balance is trying to work faster. The best way to achieve one’s dream is through efficient time management and not by revving up to perform a task at an unsustainable pace.
Working faster may produce results over the short term but may not be good in the long run. Working faster, in the long run, leaves an individual emotionally drained in such a way that one becomes infective in achieving the ultimate goals. The other pitfall to avoid when struggling with work-life balance is to avoid making promises that cannot be kept. One should not tell someone at work or in the workplace that he will do something when he or she is aware of his or her inability to perform the task. It leads to the person shortchanging the demands that he already has while simultaneously disappointing the other person or people. It is therefore important to be true to oneself and make realistic targets that will not compromise the life of an individual and the tasks that he or she is performing in the organization to the benefit of the employer and the employee.
Most people are obsessed with greatness, and they will do their best to attain it, and some of the time the attainment is at the expense of the lives of the individual. Employers should come up with ways that they can use to identify the weakness of the people with regards to work-life balance to enable them to work better in the organization and produce real results that will help the organization in achieving its goals in the marketplace. The unnecessary pressure exerted on the employees is detrimental to the organization. The work-life imbalance is detrimental to both the people and the organization in the employees (Deery, 2008).
The employees should also be encouraged to have small families that they can handle as opposed to having large families that they are not able to take care of adequately. The employees should be encouraged to practice family planning for their benefit as a way of protecting them from the burdens that they are likely to face when they have more dependents. Having a bigger family regarding wives and children exerts more pressure on the individual to take care of them as a result of the increase in the number of dependents. One may have to work for very long hours to ensure that the dependents live a comfortable life which is detrimental to one’s health. It has been established that long working hours leads to reduced productivity (Deery, 2008).
Improving work-life balance
There are several ways in which work-life balance can be improved among the people. Work-life balance begins with the decision of an individual to work it out. The other strategies that will ensure that an individual maintains a proper work-life balance includes time tracking, determination of the priorities, setting specific goals, scheduling scrupulously, establishing boundaries, taking care of one’s health, nurturing family and relationships, making time for oneself, leaving work at the workplace, exercising ones options, working smarter and not more laborious as well as knowing when to seek help. An organization may also improve work-life balance in their employees by proper management of the talents in the organization. Time tracking is an important tool in ensuring work-life balance in the society. It is the practice of measuring and documenting the time that has been spent in the workplace. The improvement of technology has made it possible for companies to measure the performance of the employees and the efficiency of the employees as additional data. It enables the employees to be productive at unprecedented levels. Some of the popular time tracking methods include the honor system, the paper method, the spreadsheet method, the employees and the organization may also use software, installation of an automatic time tracker and coming up with a project management time tracking. The employees and the employers will, therefore, use the tool to get information on the time that an individual spent working. The working hours may therefore be increased or reduced depending on the time that the employees spend at the workplace. Time tracking also helps in time management to ensure that the tasks are performed in the best way possible within the organization (Deery, 2008).
The employees also have to determine the priorities that they have in life hence they will work on the important tasks before working on the others. Prioritizing also ensures that more energy is spent on the things that matter as opposed to the ones that do not matter. One has to organize, then come with the priorities and then deal with the conflicting priorities in the organization. Organization of the tasks to be performed helps in uncluttering the tasks that are supposed to be performed which will, in turn, help an individual in becoming efficient as far as the performance of the tasks is concerned. The clattering of tasks is one of the time wasters that the people have to deal with as they perform their tasks. One of the biggest challenges that the people face in the society is dealing with the conflicting priorities in the workplace. The increase in the number of tasks to be performed makes an individual lose control in what they are supposed to do in the organization especially in the cases where all the clients consider their products as being important hence making a choice is a challenge. There are cases where the clients have a preference with regards to the individual that should serve them in the organization. In such a case, it is important for the employee to understand where his or her piece lies in the whole project and should consider delegating some of the duties if possible. Having to take up more task that one can handle is the biggest cause of fatigue and may be harmful more than it is beneficial. Taking charge of one’s space and time in the organization enables an individual to focus on what is important, to meet the deadlines as well as to minimize job and personal stress. A comfortable workplace is a prerequisite to the successful performance of the tasks that an individual is supposed to perform in the organization to the benefit of the individual and the organization. The employees are therefore advised to use several tools that will aid them in scheduling the tasks that they are supposed to perform in the organization (Shanafelt et al., 2012).
Setting specific goals is also important in enabling an individual to perform his or her tasks accordingly to the benefit of the organization and himself. The goals have to be realistic so that the individual does not have to go through unnecessary stress trying to achieve them. Establishing boundaries helps an individual in determining what he or she is supposed to do and what he or she should not do. The other ways of improving the work-life balance include taking care of one’s health, nurturing family and relationships, making time for oneself, leaving work at the workplace, exercising one’s options, working smarter and not more laborious as well as knowing when to seek help (Wiese, 2007).
Work-life balance is essential in the lives of the individuals hence people need to focus on it as a way of improving productivity in the workplace. Most people who are able to balance the activities in the life find meaning in their lives and they are able to enjoy their day to day lives. On the other hand the people who are always working tend to neglect some important sections in their lives hence end up living miserable lives. It is okay to look for more money that will enable an individual to pay for several needs they have in their day to day lives. However, the search for funds should not be done in such a way that it affects the day life of an individual. One of the most important factors in society is the fact that one can recognize the factors that make him or her perform better in the organization and focus on them to ensure that he is able perform better for the benefit of the company and oneself.
One of the greatest challenge that the people face in the workplace is the focus on the needs of the workplace neglecting their own needs. The companies also have a role to play to ensure that the employees balance their time appropriately in such a way that they are able to perform better in the organization. It is necessary for the organization to create a conducive environment for the employees to work well within their premises. Some of the workplaces are blamed for taking more of the employees’ time in such a way that they do not have time for their families and other important aspects in their lives. It is therefore important for the human resource management of the companies to come up with initiatives that will enable the employees to plan their time appropriately. Allocation of working shifts to the employees has proved to be an important intervention that allows them to perform better in the organization despite the demands that an organization places on them. Placing the employees on shifts ensures that they have enough time to rest and refresh in readiness for the next line of activities that they are supposed to perform in the workplace. Shifting also enables the individuals to meet their families and other loved ones in the society hence they have peace of mind. They are also able to deal with the challenges that they face in their lives.
One of the biggest challenges that the people face in the society is dealing with the conflicting priorities in the workplace. The company should help the employees in coming up with the priorities with regards to the projects that are more important than the others in the organization. Prioritizing also ensures that more energy is spent on the things that matter as opposed to the ones that do not matter. Prioritizing also ensures that more energy is spent on the things that matter as opposed to the ones that do not matter. One has to organize, then come with the priorities and then deal with the conflicting priorities in the organization. Spending more time on matters that are not important prevents the people from focusing on the issues that matter in the organization. They are likely to get to their workplaces exhausted in such a way that they are not able to properly handle the most important tasks as they ought to. The people should also be trained on the importance of balancing the other sectors of their lives. A person who is aware of the importance of work life balance in his or her life is able to do his best to establish it.
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