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Essay On Work-Life Balance

  0 Downloads   |   10 Pages 2,452 Words   |   Published Date: 05/05/2017

Question:

Write Essay on Work-Life Balance. 

 

Answer:

Abstract

In this essay the term flexibility in workplaces will be thoroughly analyzed from different angles.  Going through the matter that is available on this subject we will be trying to find out if the current growing trend of the flexible hours in the workplaces. The advantages and the disadvantages would be discussed and we shall see how it has affected us and the motto of work life balance has been achieved or rather compromised. If achieved then to what extent and if compromised then to what extent it has been compromised. Different scholars have presented their views on this topic these views too would be mentioned in this essay.

Introduction

As mentioned above the main subject of the essay is the argument that has been going on in the Australian workplace which id the flexibility and work and life balance. Flexibility of job refers to the flexible hours of working and achieving the target set by the company by increased number of hours at once so that employees can take off and also that the firms do not have to hire more employees to get the job done. There have been arguments for and against this topic but one must agree that the original idea of introducing the system of flexibility to achieve the work life balance is lost and it has shifted into more professional strain on the employees (Keliher et al, 2008)

Juliet Bourke on the use of flexibility has moved away from its original paradigms.

Juliet Bourke is known for her opinions on the Australian working scenario and working conditions. She is regarded as one of the talented personalities who is expert in organizational work set and cultural conditions of the firm. She has helped in developing a better work culture in the Australian business centers. Let see her views on this subject and how far she is true in her opinion.

According to her the entire paradigm that had been first introduced has now undergone a total change and has been used as weapon by the employers to get more work out of the employees. Initially it was regarded as a great step ahead foe the employees to have a work and life balance but with time it has turned out to be something else. Her main view is that the entire concept has been changed diplomatically and has led to more work pressure on the employees as they have to work for more number of hours in order to get holidays( Goodman,  et al, 2012) These holidays are afterwards not well utilized as there is the lucrative over time benefit which the employees utilize in order to gain more salary. This has saved most of the capital of the employers which they would have to invest in hiring another part time worker as the salary differs on the basis if transfer payments of every employee. Juliet Bourke has rightly said that the original paradigm has been lost and that the whole concept of maintaining the balance in life as developed sense of negativity about itself. Exploitation is a harsh word but with the trend that can bee seen we do not hesitate to say that the employees in a way have been exploited by the business firm under the tag of a better work culture. 

 

Flexibility has a totally new meaning today. Going home after work hours and completing work looks good and flexible but employees don’t understand the fact that they pull up an extra, unnecessary workload and stress upon them which has its share of disadvantages itself.( Rosta, Judith, et al, 2007) The only people enjoying here, naturally, are the employers, who make one of their employees in his/her flexible hours, do work of two other employees and put him/her under deadline pressure of pay-cuts, or in extreme cases, sacked. So it can be said the employers smartly maneuver their work amongst their employees and if they come under extra important work, their mightiest weapon, flexible working hours of employees comes in handy and with such conditional deadlines, they usually have 95% accuracy(Purcell, et al 2007). Employees should know themselves that once they directly accept extra assignments out of their working hours, they come under the checklist to be assigned every now and then without any regard of personal time and space, no matter how important an invitation or time with family is, work is work (Waumsley et al. 2009). What the employees fail to see that doing this extra work might give them extra pay but they lose out on quality time with family and friends. The taste and crispiness of life withers away. Sometimes, Boss may allow his employee to take off for their kid’s football match, but the same boss will not hold back to call at 9.30 for giving work. At these late hours, the mind craves for relaxation, but making it work more on really important work makes it rusted though it is beneficial for the concerned company because they are able to pull out more amount of work, the amount work done by two employees completed by a single employee, under pressure. Sometimes it can help build up multi-tasking management skills for the employees but the work they do is never planned and is most unexpected as to when and what the work maybe. Some managers love to see their employees work, work and work all day and cannot stand them resting at home too so they’re given the next day’s work to be completed at home too. With increase in such competition, there are very few chances of getting jobs. This keeps the employees skeptic of switching jobs from the one where there was least satisfaction. Continuous work pressure, an unsatisfied boss deteriorates the potential of a worker to minimum level. So proper choice of jobs and not undertaking extra jobs in flexible hours should be practiced. Employees should certainly be more optimistic towards their work and just not do any way of making extra money by doing work in their flexible work hours. Once in the corporate sector, the employee should start working smart, not hard, because that is the only difference between a smart working employer and a hard working employee. (Hertz et al, 2010)

The implications of the excessive working hours on the performance of employees and managers

Excessive working hours or overtime can be beneficial as well as harmful for the employees and companies. Everything has its pros and cons. To stimulate economic result, employers use flexibility. Employees work for excessive working hours in order to meet and achieve the goals of a company. Managers, professionals and administrative staff has the liberty to choose the starting and finishing time of their work as well as choosing the overtime hours of work according to their conveyance, so that they can take some time off, whereas other workers has not been given such freedom. But the downside of excessive working hours is greater than the advantages. Firstly, it takes a toll on heath of the employees and managers both physically as well as mentally. According to the researchers, long working hours adversely damages and increase health problems of the workers. Few of the health problems that have been linked with excessive working hours are increase in mental health issues, gestational age among women, increase in the consumption of alcohol among men, lower back injuries for the workers who are involved in a lot of physical lifting and increase in the suicide rate. This leads to an increase in indirect cost for health care, treatment, absenteeism et cetera, which ultimately reduces the productivity of the company. 

 

 

Occupational injuries and illnesses are the common effect of excessive working hours. Along with increase in working hours, there is an extended safety risk, which comprises of performance and safety at nuclear plants, disabled performance and lesser attention, an increased mistakes in the medical provision, an increase in accident incidences by three times after sixteen hours of work. Safety issue can also rise from the weariness and exhaustion of the employees and managers, or it might be a cumulative consequence of long working days at a stretch. Decrease in productivity is another outcome of excessive working hours. It is also a fact that the more time given or is available to meet the deadline or complete the task, people tend to work slowly which leads to an increase in an unproductive time. Other factors such as worried about work, family issues and other health complications contribute to decrease productivity. Absenteeism is increased because of exhaustion, substandard health or just for the sake of deriving a break from the hectic schedule one takes a time off from work. Frequent absences are compromised by overtime; however replacement is done by the company for the vacancies which makes the problem all the more self-sustaining. Increase in turnover is another result of the lack of work life balance. It is dealt with the same response as of absenteeism, over time work is implemented to fill the vacancies. There are several ways to deal with overtime problems such as reducing instinctive absences, ensuring whether the staffs is suitable, alternative work arrangements, discourage over timing on the basis of policies and procedures and work towards the goal to increase productivity. There is a high dissatisfaction among the people of Australia because of the lack of stability in their work and non-work life. As per the survey, more than 20% of people work for 48 hours or more and approx. 60% of people is not able to take regular holidays. Around three quarters of these people would preferably work for fewer hours.

Ways in which employers could facilitate work-life balance during an economic downturn.

Maintaining a healthy balance between work life and personal life is doubtlessly good for employees and has been taken into consideration lately by the organizations. Work-life balance is successfully regulating the juggling move paid work and other tasks which is significant to people (Turnipseed, et al, 2005) Flexibility has been innovated very much in terms of when to work and where to work. Employers facilitate work-life balance by allowing the employees to work from home periodically so that they can utilize flex time in some other personal work like by spending time with family or going out with them, without losing a pay. If there is proper balance in work and life, employers tend to give their best performance, because he/she must be contented with his/her life or maybe their family is happy. Not only this, but it is believed that where happiness prevails that workplace becomes exciting and conflict free (Baker‐McClearn, et al, 2010).

Employees pursue to reformulate ordinary hours of work, inspite of the Fair Work Act, which toughens to purchase penalty rates for the employers (Naithani,  et al, 2009). Workers have been given the sovereignty over paid and unpaid excessive hours now days. "Most of the gains allow employees to work longer hours or adjust those hours to care for their personal and family responsibilities while getting their work done (Gorman-Murray et al, 2011). Although some may have expected employers to cut back on flexibility entirely during this economic downturn, we are seeing employers leverage flexibility as they look toward the future”, said by Ellen Gainsay. Almost every employee should be given ‘right to work flexibly’. This can be achieved by various flexible working implementations, like changeable working hours, home working, part-time working, constricted hours and term-time working. Excessive working hours will lead to long term damaging effect on employees. It is only possible to manage or survive excessive and overtime hours of work for a short time. Work-life balance contributes to a working environment that mitigates stress and pressure. It creates an equal opportunity for every employee. For example work-life flexibility empowers everyone to choose the pattern of working hours according to their schedule which deems fit with their personal life, social life, health et cetera. It obtains staff loyalty and dedication boosts them for higher performance which ultimately leads to an increase in the productivity of an organization. It is very important to able to maintain at a certain level the approach to work-life balance (Kossek, et al, 2011).  

 

Reference:

Kelliher, C. and Anderson, D., 2009. Doing more with less? Flexible working practices and the intensification of work. Human relations.

Beugelsdijk, S., 2008. Strategic human resource practices and product innovation. Organization Studies, 29(6), pp.821-847.

Waumsley, J.A. and Houston, D.M., 2009. Flexible working, professional success and being female: are they incompatible?. Review of European Studies, 1(2), p.39.

Hertz, A., Lahrichi, N. and Widmer, M., 2010. A flexible MILP model for multiple-shift workforce planning under annualized hours. European Journal of Operational Research, 200(3), pp.860-873.

Rosta, Judith, and Andreas Gerber. "Excessive working hours and health complaints among hospital physicians: a study based on a national sample of hospital physicians in Germany." GMS German Medical Science 5 (2007).

Caruso, Claire C., et al. "Long working hours, safety, and health: toward a National Research Agenda." American journal of industrial medicine 49.11 (2006): 930-942.

Ala-Mursula, Leena, et al. "Long hours in paid and domestic work and subsequent sickness absence: does control over daily working hours matter?." Occupational and environmental medicine 63.9 (2006): 608-616.

Balance, Work Life. "Work Life Balance." Work 1.1.5 (2013): 2-0.

Goodman, Annekathryn. "Work–life balance." Physicians’ pathways to non-traditional careers and leadership opportunities. Springer New York, 2012. 25-34.

Burg-Brown, Stephanie. "Work-life balance." Journal of Property Management 78.4 (2013): 48-54.

Purcell, John, and Sue Hutchinson. "Front‐line managers as agents in the HRM‐performance causal chain: theory, analysis and evidence." Human Resource Management Journal 17.1 (2007): 3-20.

Turnipseed, David L., and Ali Rassuli. "Performance Perceptions of Organizational Citizenship Behaviours at Work: a Bi‐Level Study among Managers and Employees." British Journal of Management 16.3 (2005): 231-244.

Baker‐McClearn, Denise, et al. "Absence management and presenteeism: The pressures on employees to attend work and the impact of attendance on performance." Human Resource Management Journal 20.3 (2010): 311-328.

Naithani, Pranav. "Overview of work-life balance discourse and its relevance in current economic scenario." Naithani, P.(2010). Overview of work-life balance discourse and its relevance in current economic scenario. Asian Social Science 6.6 (2009): 148-155.

Gorman-Murray, Andrew. "Economic crises and emotional fallout: Work, home and men’s senses of belonging in post-GFC Sydney." Emotion, Space and Society 4.4 (2011): 211-220.

Kossek, Ellen Ernst, Boris B. Baltes, and Russell A. Matthews. "How work–family research can finally have an impact in organizations." Industrial and organizational psychology 4.3 (2011): 352-369.

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