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Work-life Balance: An Essential Consideration for Organizations

As with most thing in life, moderation is key. Organizations across the globe are beginning to understand and respond to the demand for greater work-life balance, which is expected only to increase over the next decade. Once viewed as a women’s issue only, work-life balance (or “integration”) is now a central driver of career success and job choices for both men and women, and therefore, an essential consideration for organizations. Therefore, it is vital for the organizations to understand what work-life balance really means and the role it plays in achieving success of the organization. Work-life balance is about creating and maintaining supportive and healthy work environments, which will enable to have balance between work and personal responsibilities and thus strengthen employee loyalty and productivity. Today’s workers have many competing responsibilities such as work, children, housework, volunteering, spouse and elderly parent care and these have stress on individuals, families and the communities in which they reside. Work-life conflict is a serious problem that impacts workers, their employers and communities. Long work hours and highly stressful jobs not only hamper ’ ability to harmonize work and family life but also are associated with health risks, such as increased smoking and alcohol consumption, weight gain and depression. Work life conflict has been associated with numerous physical and mental health implications. Employee stress can increase to the level of burnout, resulting in lower productivity at work, a higher potential for stress related health problems and absenteeism, with the associated costs related to these being passed on to the company. In addition to this, employees may also experience poor personal and co-worker relationships and reduced job satisfaction. There are several ways in which companies can help to encourage a work life balance for their employees, both in the policies that they implement and in ensuring that managers actively encourage employees to take advantage of these policies. Offering employees flexible working options helps employees design their work pattern to fit their personal commitments, ultimately reducing conflict between work and personal responsibilities. Flexible working options include allowing employees to work from home, adjust their working hours to meet personal commitments, use remote working, compressed work weeks, and job sharing. Some organizations are also implementing wellness programs, which include offering stress reduction and time management workshops, while others are creating wellness centers on the work site, helping to connect employees with physicians, mental health counselors, or on-site gyms. An employee’s satisfaction in their personal life and their ability to meet personal commitments greatly affects their success as a worker. When employees are balanced, everything the organization is balanced. When stress is managed, a more positive mood occurs which has been proven to help protect physical and mental health. A happy, relaxed team becomes more a positive and productive team. Helping employees to achieve a good work life balance increases work satisfaction, increases their loyalty to their employer, and helps employers to achieve career longevity. A company which recognizes these benefits and implements policies to promote a work life balance is one which will not only see an increase in the productivity of their workforce but which also sees increased retention of staff and reduction in costs associated with high turnover. For the future success of the businesses, organizations must explore new strategies to actively help employees achieve meaningful success— in both their professional and personal lives.