Work Life Balance and Being an 'Employer of Choice'

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Work Life Balance and Being an 'Employer of Choice'
c.rajalakshmi, Professor, India

According to a recent survey, more than 70% of CEOs thought that they could not remain competitive if they didn't help employees to balance their work life and home life. Employees have realized that they're expendable, and consequently they're less committed to their employers and more likely to leave for greener pastures. Finding work life balance in todayís frantically paced world is no simple task. As far as possible, there should be an inclusive and integrated approach to affecting a work life balance, not sacrificing any essential facet of happiness and growth. This paper deals with the organizations role in work life balance and number of areas in which strategies can be formulated to achieve a work life balance in manufacturing organizations for being in 'employer of choice' and improving productivity.

There is a substantial increase in work due to intense and competitive work environment. There is a lot of pressure built up on individuals leading to a number of problems. One should to create a balance between oneĎs work life and personal life, which is a core part in achieving a work life balance. Work life balance has come out to be such an important area that there is a lot of research going on. Organizations are also giving utmost importance to work life balance to get the best out of their employees. We should able to lead a 'rainbow life', apportioning 'optimal' time for physical fitness, pranayama, reading, reflection, meditation, prayer, family, social relationship and professional obligation. As for as possible there should be an inclusive and integrated approach to affecting a work life balance, not sacrificing any essential facet of happiness and growth. There are number of ways to achieve a work life balance.

Work life balance is a personís control over the responsibilities between their work place, family, friends and self. A successful work life balance strategy reduces stress levels and raises job satisfaction in the employee while increasing productivity and health care cost for the employer. An individual life can be divided in to six basics quadrants ó work place, family and friends, community, hobbies, sleep and sports/exercise. An integral part of our lives is our profession. Just as there is responsibility and opportunity in life, our carriers are also guided by opportunities and responsibilities. We must ensure hat these two factors donít work at cross-purposes. Quality of life is something we all covet.

Work life balance is not a new concept. The change in the pattern of work and work place after the industrial revolution in the second half of the century gave a new dimension to the concept of WLB (Work life balance). As time progressed, nuclear families increased. A later change was the fading away of the 'ideal home' in which the earning memberís spouse took care at the home. With improved education and employment opportunity today, most homes are ones in which both parents work, because of the necessity and the desire to augment incomes.
The need to congenial conditions in which employees can balance work with their personal desires became a factor that companies had to take note of both to retain them as well as to improve productivity.

As far as possible, there should be an inclusive and integrated approach to affecting a work-life balance, not sacrificing any essential facet of happiness and growth. There are a number of areas and a number of ways to achieve a work-life balance.

It isnít easy to juggle the demands of career and personal life. For most people, itís an ongoing challenge to reduce stress and maintain harmony in key areas of their life. Here are some ideas to help you find the balance thatís best for you:
  • Keep a log. Track everything you do for one week. Include work-related and non-work-related activities. Decide whatís necessary and satisfies you the most. Cut or delegate activities you donít enjoy, donít have time for or do only out of guilt. If you donít have the authority to make certain decisions, talk to your supervisor.
  • Take advantage of your options. Find out if your employer offers flex hours, a compressed workweek, job-sharing or telecommuting for your role. The flexibility may alleviate some of your stress and free up some time.
  • Manage your time. Organize household tasks efficiently. Doing one or two loads of laundry every day rather than saving it all for your day off, and running errands in batches rather than going back and forth several times are good places to begin. A weekly family calendar of important dates and a daily list of to-dos will help you avoid deadline panic. If your employer offers a course in time management, sign up for it.
  • Rethink your cleaning standards. An unmade bed or sink of dirty dishes wonít impact the quality of your life. Do what needs to be done and let done and let the rest go. If you afford it, pay someone else to clean your house.
  • Communicate clearly. Limit time-consuming misunderstandings by communicating clearly and listening carefully. Take notes if it helps.
  • Fight the guilt. Remember, having a family and a job is okay-for both men and women.
  • Nurture yourself. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as walking out or listening to music. Unwind after a hectic workday by reading, practicing yoga or taking a bath or shower.
  • Set aside one night each week for recreation. Take the phone off the hook, power down the computer and turn off the TV. Discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends such as playing golf, fishing or canoeing. Making time for activities you enjoy will rejuvenate you.
  • Protect your day off. Try to schedule some of your routine chores on workdays so that your days off are more relaxing.
  • Get enough sleep. Thereís nothing a stressful and potentially dangerous as working when youíre sleep-deprived. Not only is your productivity affected, but you can also make costly mistakes. You may then have to work even more hours to make up for these mistakes.
  • Bolster your support system. Give yourself the gift of a trusted friend or co-worker to talk with during times of stress or hardship. If youíre part of a religious community, take advantage of the support your religious leader can provide. Ensure you have trusted friends and relatives who can assist you when you need to work overtime or travel for your job.
  • Seek professional help. Everyone needs help from time to time. If your life feels too chaotic to manage and youíre spinning your wheels worrying about it, talk with a professional such as doctor, a psychologist or a counselor recommended by your employee assistance program (EAP).
Good work-life balance policies and practices are good for business.

Benefits for you and your staff:
  • Getting and keeping the right staff
  • Getting the best from staff
  • Being an 'employer of choice' and future proofing
  • Improving productivity
Benefits for you:
People want to be able to have:
- A good quality of life
- An enjoyable work life and career progression
- Training and development
- Good health
- Affordable childcare or eldercare
- Further education
- More money
- Time to travel
- Time with friends and family
- Time to do sports and hobbies
- Time to do voluntary work

  • A good sleep is vital to a healthy life. The best time where the body and the mind relax is during the sleep. A six-hour sleep is must. It helps start the day sunny and end the day better.
  • One should not have a doormat attitude. Pleasing oneself is more important than pleasing others. Doing others at the cost of Ďs own work is cumbersome. Saying a firm ‚ÄėNOí at time is important.
  • A balanced diet with low fat, high calorie diet keeps one going on and on. A high cholesterol diet creates health problems, blood pressure and creates a disturbance to the work-life. Starting with a healthy breakfast decides the activity for the rest of the day.
  • Solving puzzles like sudoku, brainteasers, kakuro, crosswords and word finders not only helps in de-stressing but also sharpens Ďs brain.
  • Clean bath is must. Washing the face at times when feeling tired seems to be working.
  • Taking bits of chocolate, chewing a gum or taking a coffee or water at regular intervals helps come back to work easily after tired.
Employees in companies already implementing work-life practices enjoy significant benefits such as:
- Being able to effectively manage multiple responsibilities at home, work and in the community without guilt or regret.
- Being able to work in flexible ways so that earning an income and managing family/other commitments become easier.
As a conclusion, it is being considered as a strategy for being an 'employer of choice' and improving productivity.


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