I. What is work- life balance?
In today’s fast-paced world, people are searching for ways to find the perfect work-life balance. The good news is companies are starting to catch on with great benefits, including flex time, job sharing, work-from-home options and more. Work life balance initiatives are designed to encourage employers achieve a better balance between the demands of paid employment and personal life such as job sharing, flexi-time, compressed hours and others. This is also considered as “conceptualized as a two way process involving the needs of employees as well as those of employers”. When we are fully satisfied with both the professional and personal lives, it can be said that we are balanced. Achieving work-life balance is a process and it is not attained in a day. It happens with great experience and observation.
A survey of 50000 employees from different sectors of organizations reveals below interesting facts on work-life balance:
• 57% of people who say that they had to get into work late or leave early did so because of caring for elderly relatives
• 4% say they’ve turned down a promotion
• 10% say they went from full-time to part-time work
• 2 out of every 5 employees are dissatisfied with the balance between their work and personal lives
Work-life balance promotes the below employee growth aspects:
• Employee well-being
• Organizational performance
• Reduced absenteeism
• Lower turnover
• Client satisfaction
• Flexible work arrangements
• Assistance with childcare
• Eldercare benefits
• Resources to help employees manage personal financial issues
• Availability of benefits for family members and domestic partners
• Flexible leave options beyond those required by the Family and Medical Leave Act
Work-life imbalance creates below issues:
• Unable to maintain employee retention
• More stress and sickness levels and poor health may result in decreased productivity and low-quality work.
• Insufficient sleep along with stress can weaken the immune system of a person.
• Headaches or backaches are common and may result in something much more serious. Working more than the typical eight hours can result in an unhealthy amount of stress, and for workers in certain professions, health risks.
• Work-life imbalance would result in bad performance, lack of motivation, more errors,and absence from work and so on.
• Regular absenteeism
• Lower turnover
• Poor organizational performance
Some strategies to balance work life:
• Track your time: Track weekly work at one time, both office related and personal activities. Then prioritize the works. Delete the list of works which you feel are overburdening or share with your employer or others.
• Take advantage of your options: Ask your employer about flexible working hours, workweek, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility. Lesser the work hours produced, the lesser stress you’re likely to face.
• Learn to say no: Learn to say NO to extra works and extra projects assigned by your colleagues and Managers.
• Leave work at work: Growing advent technology is making all of our lives very simple with no limitations for connectivity and no boundary between work and home. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. When you’re with your family, for instance, turn off your cell phone and put away your laptop.
• Manage your time: Managing the daily household works is an important task for the working people. Sharing the work among the family members can reduce the work load efficiently. Planning the family events on weekly days and a daily to-do list can also reduce the stress in week days. Finish the priority works in order and do what needs to be done and let the rest go.
• Strengthen your support system: Share some responsibilities of your children and house hold works with your trusted friends and loved ones when you need to work over time or travel.
• Nurture yourself: Some healthy activities like taking healthy foods, regular exercises, yoga, enough physical activity and sound sleep keep you always healthy. Spending productive time with spouse, children and family members keeps you healthy and active all the day. Some extracurricular activities like reading books, dancing, hiking and taking cooking classes with your partner or family members can help you relive stress.
• Fatigue: When you’re tired, your work productivity and thinking levels may decline and show great impact on your professional reputation.
• Lost time with friends and loved ones: If you’re working too much, you may miss important family events or milestones. This can leave you feeling left out and may harm relationships with your loved ones. It’s also difficult to nurture friendships if you’re always working.
• Increased expectations: If you regularly work extra hours, you may be given more responsibility. This may lead to only more concerns and challenges.
As per the survey held by Glass door in 2011, below 25 organizations promote work life balance.
01. Nestle Purina PetCar
03. SAS Institute
05. United Space Alliance
06. Slalom Consulting
09. Susquehanna International Group
11. Mentor Graphics
14. Agilent Technologies
17. Southwest Airlines
18. General Mills
19. Biogen Idec
25. National Instruments
Job Sharing at Motorola
Motorola was established in 1928 in the U.S. and presently employs more than 100,000 people across the globe. It occupied a prominent place in the market of wireless, broadband and the Internet to deliver embedded chip system–level and end-to-end network communications solutions for the individual, work team, vehicle and home. Motorola has work place locations like East Kilbride and Scotland operation. Motorola operates in a highly competitive global environment and it operates its plants 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The company offers many work life balance programs to its employees as a part of employee benefit programs like:
• Part-time work
• Dependency leave
• An employee assistance program (EAP)
• Job sharing
• Health care
• Special shift arrangements
• Study leave
• Emergency holidays
Job Sharing in Manufacturing Unit
The company started practicing the Work-Life Balance in 2000 at the East Kilbride plant. The change was intended to standardize shifts throughout the whole organization. Today, full-time Motorola operators work seven 12-hour shifts over a two-week period, on the basis of four days one week, and three days the next. When the work hours are changed, employees are offered job sharing, either on the day or night shifts. Job sharing means that two people share a full-time job between them, splitting equally the number of hours worked.
Job sharing practice is more helpful to single parents and working women. Motorola East Kilbride hosts 120 job sharers and explains that they are all included in feedback sessions and the annual reviews conducted to assess the effectiveness of partnerships in job sharing method.
Outcomes of Job Sharing
Job sharing plays a high-profile role for the East Kilbride Motorola plant to remain competitive and to meet their productivity. Most of the women employees who are unable to or prefer not to work full-time due to family commitments share job. Many women return after maternity leave due to this flexible arrangement. Changes in partnerships are necessary for holiday cover arrangements for the smooth flow of the workflow. This means a change in one of the job share partners when holidays are taken. Most job sharers work very closely together to meet their combined job requirements without manager involvement; this can easily change during their holidays because the temporary holiday employee is unlikely to be very familiar with the regular sharing system between the two main job sharers. Managers may then need to be involved in work scheduling in job share posts during job sharers’ holidays.
Motorola plans to have ongoing reviews of job-sharing practices, together with evaluation of the business effects.