As mentioned earlier, it is good for companies to be diverse because many workers have different situations that they are dealing with. Childcare is a major issue with many workers and now there are several companies that offer onsite childcare. This option takes a lot of stress off of the parents of having to drop the children off to daycare and then rush in the evenings to pick them up before the center closes. Workers who take advantage of this option have the convenience of checking on their children during break time and even having lunch with them. There is less separation time between parent and child which makes the parent more at ease. on-site childcare is a perfect example of how employers can help their staff to achieve work/life balance.
Another thing employers are doing is allowing more time off for employees to take care of their loved ones. Many companies offer time beyond the standard paid maternity leave for new mothers. Some also offer extend leaves of absence for the fathers as well. A new child is not the only reason an employee may need to take an extended leave of absence. As people are living longer, it becomes necessary sometimes for adult children to provide care for their parents. Employers are realizing this more and more and allowing the employee time off to take care of aging parents. In cases such as this (caring for a new child or aging parent), the employee may not want to take an extended leave of absence. They may wish to flex their hours by coming into the workplace early and leaving early, or coming in to work at a later hour and leaving later. It is also commonplace to allow workers to telecommute one or more days per week to accommodate their schedule and achieve balance between work and their personal life.
In the past, it was traditional for the mother to remain home with the children while the father worked outside of the home. Back then the need for childcare options, flex time and extended leaves of absence were unnecessary. Times have changed drastically and so has the family unit. Smart employees know that they need to keep up with the times and in a sense they must cater to their employees basic needs in order to increase job satisfaction. Offering options that will help the employee achieve an overall sense of balance shows that the company cares about its employee's well-being and is open to change.
Job sharing is a growing trend in the employment field. This can be a solution to an employee who does not want to leave the company completely, but needs to work on a part-time basis for a while. Job sharing can be of great benefit to an organization because it can lessen the stress of the employees trying to balance a full-time job along with family issues and their personal life. It is beneficial to the organization because there is always coverage for the position being shared. When one employee is on vacation, the other can cover. The employer also gets the benefit of having not one talented person working in the position, but two.
A benefit to offering employees options in work/life balance is that it can lessen the skills shortage by retaining employees such as new mothers or those who are considered older workers and also minorities. Sometimes these groups of people are often overlooked because they are seen perhaps as undesirable to hire. This is a mistake on the company's part because as long as these individuals are qualified for the positions applied for, they can bring about greater diversity within the company. Companies hiring these individuals are showing that they are receptive to new mothers and that they do not discriminate against mature and minority workers.
Work/life balance can lead to greater diversity which could lead to lower turnover rates for the employer. Workers need to be employed at companies that recognized their needs and work to help them achieve balance. If the employee does not feel that his needs are met, he will more than likely seek employment elsewhere. A high employee turnover rate is not good for the employer because the business loses money each time it must hire and train a new employee. Also, if a company wishes to improve its visibility within the community and elsewhere, it is good to be known as a company that heavily promotes work/life balance. This is especially true of the larger corporations since they are more likely to be under public scrutiny than a smaller one would be.
There are several different ways for an organization to measure whether or not their work/life balance options offered to employees is successful. As word of mouth spreads my current employees and the media, more and more talented individuals will want to seek employment with the company. This opens up the opportunities for more talented and qualified people to become a part of the organization and the increased likelihood that these newer employees will remain with the company is greater because these people specifically set out to gain employment with a particular company because of its reputation.
Reduced employee turnover and improved employee retention go hand in gauging whether or not the work/life balance approach is successful. As the workplace becomes more diverse and includes employees from many different backgrounds who bring many different situations along with them, it is crucial that employers offer different options to make the workplace as well as the home life more manageable.
Not surprisingly, another way to gauge if the company's work/life balance approach is successful is to determine if the number of sick days has been reduced. When there is little to no job satisfaction, there is a tendency for the employee's physical and mental health to suffer. The illnesses may not be severe, but sometimes employees can be so burned out and so unhappy that they feel the need to take several mental health days. As we know, our mind and our thinking have an impact on our physical health. Unhappy workers and those who feel unbalanced may be more susceptible to illnesses such as colds and the flu. Although in most cases these types of illness are not life threatening, they can cause the worker to miss several days of work which slows down productivity.
Improved job satisfaction is a positive outcome of a successful work/life balance approach because it generally improves job performance. Increased job performance increases the profitability of the organization. When workers don't have to worry about finding suitable daycare of their children, they are less stressed out. The same is true when they know they are allowed to take and extended leave of absence for family situations that may arise. Also, when minorities, homosexuals, handicap, mature workers and others sense that they are working in an environment that is inclusive, there is little stress. Workers want to feel like they are a part of the company's success. When performance is high, job security is also high. When job security is high, workers are more productive.
Companies can benefit greatly from developing a work/life balance approach for its employees. We know that there are several benefits to doing this, but perhaps one of the most important benefits is that the company will gain a positive image and become known worldwide as one of the top companies to work for. This will improve the overall branding of the organization and the company will be viewed positively because it shows that it is diverse.
Even though a company may state that it promotes work/life balance, several criteria need to be examined in order for it to be successful. For one, the employee must have the support of the manager. The manager has the ability to encourage or discourage the employee regarding taking advantage of available options. Also, if the employee feels that there will be consequences to his career, exercising the work/life balance options may not appear to be the smart thing to do. The amount of hours the employee puts in must also be examined because if the hours are fewer than the norm, it may appear to others that he is not doing his fair share of work. Working long hours has been traditionally considered positive because it shows that the employee is dedicated to the job. but, working an excessive amount of hours does very little for the work/life balance concept.
It is unfair to assume that women are the only ones that will need time off after the birth of a child. This perception is incorrect and can sometimes cause men to be questioned if they request time off for family issues. Many organizations not only have maternity leave, but they also offer paternity leave for fathers. Perhaps one of the most important criteria to examine regarding work/life balance is co-worker support. This is important because…