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Managing Work Life Balance
Human Resources » Heath, Safety & Well Being

Chrm Message From: raghu Total Posts: 51 Join Date: 17/08/2006
Rank: Manager Post Date: 20/08/2006 23:30:12 Points: 255 Location: United States

Dear all,

I am looking for inputs on managing work life balance practices. Do lemme know if anyone at this community has any idea of how to calculate work life index.

Warm Regards,


Chrm Message From: madure Total Posts: 278 Join Date: 17/08/2006  
Rank: Coach Post Date: 21/08/2006 00:02:04 Points: 1440 Location: United States

What is work-life balance?

In his book Managing work-life balance1 David Clutterbuck defines work-life balance as:

being aware of different demands on time and energy
having the ability to make choices in the allocation of time and energy
knowing what values to apply to choices
making choices.

Why should employers be interested?

The world of work is changing - in the 24-hour, 7-day society, customers expect service at times that suit them. More and more people have to juggle responsibilities at home and in the workplace. And when employees are asked about work, the two concerns that emerge most frequently from the CIPD surveys on employee attitudes2 are long hours and work intensity.

Findings show that three out of four people say they are working very hard; many say they are working as hard as they can and could not imagine being able to work any harder. These factors help explain the increased interest being shown in the issue of work-life balance as many people find that work demands get in the way of their non-work commitments.

The surveys also show that one in five people, including many managerial and professional workers, take work home almost every day. Technology has enabled many to be continuously accessible, but at what cost? One in three partners of people who typically work more than 48 hours a week feel that this has had a negative effect on personal relationships. Despite this overlap between home and work, only 33% of workers say their employer has any family-friendly practices or personal support services in place. For more information on working hours see our factsheet on Working hours in the UK.

What is the business case?

There are benefits to business when introducing policies to underpin work-life balance issues:

higher productivity and competitiveness
increased flexibility and customer service, for example to cover for absence and holidays
raised morale, motivation, commitment and engagement
reduced absenteeism
improved recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce
wanting to become an ‘employer of choice’
meeting legal requirements.
Employers may incur additional costs in adopting policies to support work-life balance, including increased managerial workloads. Such costs are however generally outweighed by the gains in achieving strategic objectives. The biggest obstacle to implementing good practice is in many cases the difficulty of persuading individual line managers to accept more flexible working arrangements. This resistance is often based on assumptions about the likely problems that flexibility will cause that turn out to be unfounded.

If employees are encouraged to protect their health, this will enable them to deal more effectively with unavoidable stresses at work. Organisations can help by offering:

individual development plans and regular appraisals to provide an opportunity to review work-life balance on a regular basis
information and guidance on health issues
health screening
subsidised private healthcare
on-site exercise facilities or subsidised access to gyms, etc.
More information on health issues can be found in our factsheets on Stress, Occupational health and Mental health.

There are some more points in General discussion- stress area and in Articles posted. Please refer to them

Prof.Lakshman Madurasinghe

Chrm Message From: sumit_hr Total Posts: 29 Join Date: 17/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 21/08/2006 01:52:58 Points: 145 Location: United States

Dear Raghu,

Balancing life and work is a major issue for executives and others, including consultants these days. In today's hectic world, balancing work & personal life continues to be a constant challenge. We all want balance and we want it now but no one wants to start NOW, but wait for a future date. Each of us has only a limited amount of time and energy. Getting the balance right can reduce stress and increase productivity, motivation and commitment.

To achieve a balance, few companies have already come up with policies of flexi-timings,  work from home through remote access,  job sharing and part-time work opportunities.  After this, its upon us to take the lead from there.



Chrm Message From: Mathews Total Posts: 30 Join Date: 17/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 24/04/2007 10:09:04 Points: 150 Location: United States

Hi All,

As I see it, the most effective way to ensure work-life balance is to respect every employee's personal time.

In today's business world, this may not really be related to 'working hours', as the need for personal time varies from employee to employee, and depends on various factors such as family stage, hobbies / interests etc.

But what it does mean, is that every person in the organisation needs to genuinely hesitate before disturbing another colleague during that colleague's 'personal time' (perhaps after office hours, or on weekends, etc.). It also means that you don't ask for personal mobile numbers / residence numbers of colleagues, and even if you know these numbers, you don't use them unless in an absolute emergency.

The management needs to take a conscious decision of tracking in-time and out-time of employees and counselling / empowering employees who habitually stay long hours at work.

I believe that it is HR that needs to initially drive this initiative - perhaps send weekly employee-wise 'hours worked' reports to department heads and track average hours practice-wise / project-wise / team-wise etc. Over a period of time, other managers will automatically get involved as they see the benefit of following this principle.

I'm sure many of us will agree with these observations:

1) Many people go home late simply because it has become a habit with them - they feel guilty if they leave early. Somehow the mind is conditioned to link productivity to not seeing the sun (!)
2) Many more people go home late because their bosses go home late, and leaving before the boss is 'not done' in the corporate world.

One thing is certain: this initiative must cascade top-down. If it is attempted half-heartedly or as a political statement, employees will see through the facade very easily, and that only makes the job tougher going forward. However if done right, you will soon see a tremendous increase in productivity, morale and loyalty. Siksha can personally testify to that.

Thanks and have a great day !


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