It`s the idea that a person’s life outside of work is as important as their working life`s and that the time a person spends working should be balanced by time spent doing things such as spending time with friends and family, keeping fit, doing hobbies, traveling etc.
Work life balance is the state of equilibrium between an individual’s work and personal life. Work life balance is achieved when an individual combination of work, family commitments and his personal life in an effective and efficiently way. If a worker is spending more time on work, he earned money but he unable to give quality time to his family and would also be neglected from his community. If a worker is working too little work, then he could not be able to provide his family a decent standard of living. A single individual work-life balance varies overtime. Work life balance for an individual worker is different from a single parent or a parent with school going children.
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Importance of work-life balance:
The idea of WLB does bring attention to the fact that being a salve is detrimental to a person’s physical and mental well-being; socializing, physical activity, and being with friends and family are all activities that contribute to being happier and healthier. Adopting WLB practices, the organization can also give a sense of social responsibility that organization is not only concerned with the profits earning activities but they are also concerned with the non-business activities like taking care of families of the workers.
Spent more time with family.
Enjoyment of work.
Better social relationships.
Slower career advancement.
Lower financial rewards.
Moving out of the mainstream.
Reduction in responsibility
How important for employees and employers:
All around the world, many companies realized that there is a connection between the work life balance and the impact it may have on their business. Much business believed on the theory that their employers must devote their work time to their work alone. Employees were not allowed to leave the work due to unexpected emergencies because many employers believed that their employees were hired only for work. As the world is changing, many employers become more flexible to balance the life situation with their employees.
The most common problem for the employees is that they worked too much. They spent many hours in the office to complete their activities. For this reason a negative atmosphere may be created in the company. To combat that negative atmosphere or attitude there are many employers who are beginning to educate themselves and their employees on work-life balance.
Employees who manage to balance their work with their life activity are more likely to be happy. This increased happiness can create positive work environments. Employers know that friendly work environments mean better results and better results often translate into profits.
Developing Work-life balance is not only beneficial to employers. Employees, their family and friends can all from benefit from a positive work-life balance. Once a balance between life and work has been established a working parent may be able to spend more time with family.
Benefit not Just for Those with Families:
Many organization brought work-life balance in the workplace considering the families of employees, but work-life balance is not just for individuals with family. It is true that the employees who benefit the most from a work life balance policy are those with families; however, others do as well. When work-life balance incorporated in to the business structure it must applies to all employees not certain one. This means that everyone, including unmarried individuals or those without children, can reap the benefits of WLB.
Many employers offer work alternatives to their employees to create positive work environment. All of these alternatives are likely to decrease the amount of time that an employee has to spend in the workplace when they already have prior engagements. Some of the alternatives are flexible hours, working at home, or job sharing.
There are many individual who have multiple hobbies. A hobby is an activity to participate during your free time. Some of the activities are stamp collecting, photography, writing, reading story books, playing sports and other outdoor activities. Since work-life balance reduces the amount of time you are giving to your job, so an employee can utilize his/her time for doing such activity. There are many individuals who (when not working) volunteer in or around their local community. Volunteering is most commonly done at not profit charities, play groups, schools, and homeless shelters. Having a healthy balance between work and life is what enables many employees to volunteer during their traditional work hours.
Impact of working long hours:
Working eight hours is considered to be as the standard time for employees in many areas of the world. But an employee often works for more than eight hours a day because employer requires it. Regardless of the reason for doing so; it has been proven that long hours can have a negative impact on an employee and their family.
Some health issues are associated with working long hours. Stress is more likely to occur when you are working long hours more than the standard. It has been known a sleep deprivation that is cause by stress. Individuals who suffer from a lack of sleep and a large amount of stress are likely to have a weak immune system. In order to prevent from these employees need to get a proper amount of rest and relaxation.
The most important affects of working long hours is the amount of time you spend with your family. Your relationship with your family is depending of how much time you spend with them. It is not uncommon for tension to be present in a household where one or more of the home occupants are working long hours. Stress is more likely to occur when a household hold more than one duty and give extra time to her outside work.
When an employee has regularly been putting in long hours at their workplace it is often difficult to stop. It is not uncommon for a worker to fear asking their employer for a reduction in hours in fear of losting their job. So If a job was accepted on the terms that workdays would be longer than most traditional ones it may be difficult for you to find a solution to your long lasting hours. If you agreed to the work arrangement your only alternative may be finding an organization that values the balance between working and life.
How work-life balance should be implemented in the workplace:
Earning profits is not the only goal that the organization is looking for. Nowadays getting employees loyalty is another important challenge that organization want to achieve to success in the business. In order to do that employer should satisfy their employees. This satisfaction is most often obtained by coming to the realization that all employees have a life outside of work that is just as important, if less, than their career. Pleasing every employee is a difficult task but most of the successful organization accomplished that task by incorporating work-life balance into their organization.
One research indicated that employees are satisfied when the policies of work life balance are in accordance to their needs. Some of the individuals needs are sick leaves, lunch breaks, vacations leaves, pleasant amount of time with family and friends etc. Therefore there is a need for the organizations to develop a work-life policy that respects customer, individual and organizational needs. Same set of WLB facilities available at the organizations will help the management of the organizations to retain their employees with higher satisfaction levels. One important fact that organization should clearly defined the concept of work life balance to the employees so that they can balance their life.
Some major policies of WLB all over the world:
Long hours and overworked employees is the main problem in the organization. So in order to prevent that there are certain policies (flexible work practice) developed by the organization:-
Hiring two employees to fill one job; this practices known as job sharing. Job sharing means works by dividing work time vacations, benefits, and pay between two workers.
It is now becoming standard practice for an employer to offer their employees flexible hours. Working hours are predetermined during the hiring process and employees are allowed to pick hours that they work each week.
Working at home is another alternative work arrangement that enables more employees to be at home with their family.
Provided medical leave programs to employees. This program enables the employee to take time off from work if they or one of their family members becomes injured or ill.
Provided vacation leaves for some period of time if employees feel that they are not giving proper time to their families.
For parents the most popular way that work-life balance is brought into the workplace is through onsite childcare. It is located at the same building which allows parents to visit whenever they want to.
Provide part time work arrangement for those who want to work for fewer hours.
Affects of flexible work practice:
Studies have indicated that introducing flexible work practices has a number of advantages for employers, such as an improved ability to attract existing employees as well as people not currently in the workforce. Research has shown the provision of flexible work practices (that help workers achieve work-life balance) positively impact
Recruitment and selection
Reduced stress and working environment
Motivation and productivity
Return on training investment and staff loyalty
Finding organization that values Work-Life Balance:
There are number of things that an employee must take into account before seeking an organization where he wants to work. Employee should determine before joining the organization that whether they value the work-life balance or not. The two most common ways to gather information on a particular organization is before you being the application process or during the interview. While interviewing there are many individual who may ask an employer if they believe in the balance of work and life. This is a best way to get an answer to your questions, but it should also work to your demerits. Some employers, especially those who have not adopted the popular WLB theory, are likely to feel that you will not be a good job candidate. If you really want to know about the employer feeling on work-life balance then asks him directly in the middle or end of the interview. This shall make it appear as if that is not the only reason why you are seeking employment with them. In addition, to sharing the same values, most of companies want to hear that you have faith in their products being sold or services being offered.
To determine if a company you are interested in applying to shares this concept you can ask about family medical leave, job sharing, alternative work arrangements, and onsite childcare. Each features are typically found in a workplace that values life and family just as much as it does work.
Employee work satisfaction and work life balance in Pakistani perspective
As the wave of globalization captured the Pakistani markets the job became more demanding and the working hours also increases. The fast pace economical development in the country has demanded more efforts from its employees. Now organizations in Pakistan are paying off good salary packages, compensation and benefits but the nature of the work is more demanding. The work related stress, work pressure, long working hours leads to job dissatisfaction which is one of the main hinder in the factors related to work/family interferences
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The researchers made their efforts to highlight the issues of job satisfaction and work life balance in one of the developing countries, Pakistan. From the Pakistan perspective the researchers identified that the employee is said to be satisfied from his/her work when he/she feels comfort while working in the organization. Whereas work life balance means that an employee is comfortably accomplishing his/her work and non work responsibilities.
Nadeem and Abbas (2009) tested a relationship of work life conflict and job satisfaction in a sample of Pakistani employees and revealed a negative relationship of the variables and suggested that the supportive management can be a medicine to minimize the conflict and enhance satisfaction among employees. However, the correlation of workload is positive and insignificant which shows that workload does not affect the job satisfaction of the employees in Pakistan.
One of the researchers while examining the impact of rewards and recognition on job satisfaction and motivation of in a sample of Pakistani sample employees defines employee work satisfaction (job satisfaction) as a pleasurable positive emotional state as a result of work appraisal from one’s job experiences (Gruneberg, 1979; Danish & Usman, 2010).
Malik, Zaheer, Khan and Ahmad, (2010) examined a relationship of work life balance/ work life conflict and job satisfaction in a sample of MBBS doctors in Pakistan and revealed no significant effect of work life balance on job satisfaction.
Another research (ijcrb.webs.com) examines the relationship of employee work satisfaction and work life balance practices in Pakistan. A sample of 450 are gathered via stratified sampling from the two big organization operating in Pakistan i.e Pakistan telecommunication limited (PTCL) and Habib bank limited (HBL) . The results of this study show no significant difference with respect to employee work satisfaction and work life balance at all the management levels .Moreover, the result of regression analysis poses a strong positive relationship between the variables which means employee satisfaction has a strong impact on work life balance. The data which collected in this study clearly indicated that HBL provide more work-life facilities than the PTCL by ensuring better education facilities, child facilities, social support, flexi time facilities and more sick and education leaves. It means that HBL has the policies related to their people that support the concept of work-life balance.
After going through several studies it is obvious that the term work life balance has been defined in different by different authors.
We conduct a survey of Pakistan Steel Mills to identify that whether organization has HR policies in respect of work life balance and whether it is rightly implemented in the workplace. We taken interview of Mr. Iftikahr A. Barakzai , General Manager (MTC and human recourse department) and ask questions about HR polices related to work life balance that exist in Pak Steel Mills. We also distribute questionnaire to 40 employees of different department.
HR Polices in respect of WLB:
No employee shall be allowed or required to work in a mills for more than forty-five hours in any week.
Provided that an employee worker in mills engaged in work which for technical reasons must be continuous throughout the day may work for forty-eight hours in any week.
No employee worker shall be allowed or required to work in a mills on a Saturday and Sunday.
Every employee should be allowed for a compensatory holidays, If worker works on Saturday and Sunday.
Technical worker shall not be allowed or required to work in a mills for more than 12 hours in any day.
Non-technical worker shall not be allowed or required to work in a mills for more than 9 hours in any day.
Intervals for rest:
The periods of work of employee workers in mills during each day shall be fixed either –
Each non-technical worker gets 45 min. launch and namaz break and two 15 min. tea break.
Each technical worker gets two 45 min. launch and namaz break and two 15 min. tea break.
Every worker who has completed a period of twelve months continuous service in mills shall be allowed, during the subsequent period of twelve months holidays for a period of thirty three consecutive days, inclusive of the day or days, if any, on which he is entitled to a holiday.
Every employee shall be entitled to casual leave with full pay for twenty days in a year.
Every employee shall be entitled to ten days sick leave on pay in a year.
Every employee should get leave of 14 aug, 23 march, 25dec, 1 may, 9 nov, 11 sep, 5 feb.
Every employee shall be allowed holidays with pay on all days declared by the federal Government to be festival holidays, e.g. (EID-UL-AZHA).
All employees shall be facilitating with free transportation.
Each worker can get free medical facilities and also for his or her family.
We distribute questionnaire to 40 employees to different department to determine the work life balance affect on employee satisfaction. Our findings are;
After applying correlation analysis in spss and considering work life balance as our objective variable we determined that there is no significant relation between Work-life balance and job satisfaction, working hours & working days. It means that job satisfaction have no affect on the work life balance.
The results of the current study are based on the sample of 40 employees of different department of Pakistan steel mills. The result shows no significant relation are found in employee job satisfaction and work life balance.
The study that we conducted in steel mills also determine that organization has certain policies which support individual to balance their life but there is no separate policy related to work life balance that exist in the organization and it is not properly defined to the employees. So there is needed to develop the concept of separate work life balance policies that will help the organization to retain the employees within the organization with higher job satisfaction level.
The studies conducted so far in Pakistani organizational environment are unable to highlight the work life balance and work life balance practices in concrete terms except for some big organization like unilever,P&G who has a separate well defined policies related to work life balance. So there is needed to make this concept clearly examine its effect on other human and organizational factors.
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