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Balancing work and family Essay

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Updated: May 21st, 2019


This study deals with the analysis of the balance of work and study in an organization. A balance of work and family is a major concern for employees in any industry or organization due to role conflict. The organization should support employees to balance work and family to ensure smooth running of their activities. The study briefly describes the concepts used in work-family balance such as work-family conflict and work family enrichment.

The study also reveals types of interventions used in Industrial/Organization balance of work and family. The interventions discussed are Work-life benefits and programs (WLBPs) /Family friendly policies (FFPs), psychological therapies, psycho-social intervention and preventive intervention. The pros and cons of these intervention are also discussed.


In today’s world, achieving a balance of work and family has been an issue to many employees and their employers. In American way of life, work has been considered as an important component of many American lives. The participation of women in the labor force has been increasing with time.

This participation of women to paid employment has led to the change in their social roles which was their responsibility to their husbands and children. Although women participation in labor force has increased, they are still involved in household matters more than men (Apostal & Helland, 1993). This may cause women to have role overload and may lead to stress.

Concepts of work-family balance

Work-family issues from a stress perspective

Many employers and employees have been faced with a conflict between roles due to the incompatibility between work and family demands. This is called Work-family Conflict (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). A balance of work and family can be attained and managed if both negative dimension of the conflict and positive dimension of the employee effort of balancing work and family are considered to facilitate a balance in a manner that the two tend to enhance each other (Frone, 2003)

Family responsibilities

Family responsibilities are the basic duties involved in a family such as taking care of other family members.children in a family requires care from their parents or guardians, and this has posed a challenge to employees to balance this with the work demands. This has been a major cause of work-family stress and is mainly determined by the number of children in a family. Family responsibilities has always been source of conflict between work and family.

Work-Family conflict

Some people believe that when someone has multiple roles, the result would be role-conflict or overload. The role conflict occurs when an employees tries to meet and satisfy the work demands and family responsibilities at the same time. Work-family role conflict is an inter-role conflict that occurs because the roles of work on one hand and family on the other are not compatible, hence they compete for time and energy of the person playing them.

Some past research did not distinct or explain clearly whether role conflict is as a result of lack of job flexibility in an organisation (work to family conflict), or whether is due to lack of alternative child care in the family (family to work conflict).Work conflict can be time based, energy based or behavioural based. For example we can have time based work to family conflict, time based family to work conflict and so on.

Work -family enrichment

In the perspective of role accumulation, if a person can be able to regulate the allocation of time and energy between family and work efficiently, then it can be easier to achieve a balance between work and family (Voydanoff & Donnelly, 1999).

Industrial/Organisational balance of work and family interventions

Work-life benefits and programs (WLBPs) /Family friendly policies (FFPs)

These are interventions formulated by the organisation which are used to address employees issues concerning their needs and demand. They provide a conducive environment to the employees to enable them cope with the world of conflict between their work and family (Osterman, 1995).this intervention involve three major things. That is policies, benefits and services

Policies: this component regulates the ways in which employees work including part-time and overtimeand how they take leave. It ensures the employees get family leaves.

Benefits: this is concerned with employee compensation and protection from earning losses.

Services: this component ensures that employees are offered medical facilities and councelling and other services such as child care centers which are important to employees and their families.

WLBPs also provide other important policies such as mertanity leave telecommuting, flextime among otherrs which facilitates work-family balance.

Psychological therapies

The psychologist may advice the organisation to apply psychological therapy.This involves the psychologist using talking therapies to solve the the problem presented by the employee. This requires the psychologist to have a high experience for it to be effective. The psychologist engage the employee in talks concerning work and family matters in order to understand the source of stress to the employee.

This intervention requires the employee to be honest in the talks and to be free with the psychologist. For example the employee should reveal the problems he/she encounter with his family as well as the problems encountered at work. This is for the purpose of psychologist to understand the problem in a clear dimension.

After the psychologist have engaged in talk with the employee, he/she will try to assess the information obtained and try to come with a plan for employee that can assist him/her to cope with the stress and to be able to balance family and work.

Psycho-social intervention (PSI)

The organisation can also adopt this intervention which involves both psychology and social interventions. From psychological perspective,it involve the use of cognitive behavioural therapy, belief modification and coping strategy whereas from socialogical perspective it involves enhancing confidence and taking into consideration social factors.

The psychologist can use this intervention in work-family balance by concentrating on communication, health promotion, problem solving, evaluation of therapeutical responses among other things.

From the psychological point of view, the psychologist aims at training employees to manage stress emenating from work and family by changing the perceptions of employees on issues concerning work and family matters. The psychologist may use the cognitive behavioural therapy to determine how the employee thinks on issue concerning work and family and if and try to change the employees mentality on these issues.

The psychologist may at the same time use social intervention to solve the problem by trying to instill confidence to the employees. it involves taking into account the social factor surrounding the employee. These are factors such as work mates, neighbours, family members, relatives among others. This will help the psychologist to understand the problem on a broal social perspective, and it would be easier to guide the participant on how to deal with the problem with confidence.

Preventive interventions

psychologist may adapt this intervention to teach the employees to adopt behavioral , mental and social coping strategies. The first component of this intervention is to train the employees to eliminate the causes of stress, a psychologist can use. the second component involves altering the cognitive processes to be able to instill stress experience to the employee. The third component involve teaching the employee to manage stress. The final component involve creating personal stress management strategies for the employee.

Pros and cons of the interventions

Work-life benefits and programs (WLBPs) /Family friendly policies (FFPs)


This intervention is effective because it promotes both the work and family interests. It ensures that the employees family interests are catered for by providing services such as medical services. The policies formulated such as telecommuting enable the employee to take both work and ffamily role concurrently without conflict arising, hence it helps to reduce work-family conflict.

The family friendly policies reduces employees stress by helping them to balance work and family through the organisation policies formulated. This may have a positive impact toward the productivity of the employees in the work place

Disadvantages and challenges of WLPs/FFPs

This form of intervention may have negative career consequences to the employees, through policies such as flextime, and this may discourage employees to adopt the intervention. The intervention may also lead to inequality because the workers who don’t use WLBPs may argue that those who use the program are less commited and this may lead to opportunities and increament in salary to them (Allen, 2001).

The program may appear good, but some employees may not see any goodness in it and therefore they wont embrace it. This lead to incongruence between employee and the organisation, which are obstacle to the success of this intervention.

Psychological therapies


This form of intervention help the employee to get a god strategy for coping up with the stresses that arises from work- family role conflict. This intervention is more cost effective as it does not incur a lot of cost compared to other interventions such as WLBPs.


The employee will still be using a lot of energy in trying to balance work and family, and there would still be time allocation conflict

Psycho-social intervention


The use of both psychology and social intervention may help reducethe stresses of employees effectively. The psychologist is able to understand the source of stress in a broader perspective, and may give the employee an effective strategy to achieve work-family balance.


It is hard to include other social factors because not all individuals would agree to cooperate with the process.

Preventive intervention


Preventive psychological intervention helps the employee to cope with the stress, and reduces incidences of drankardness or any other vice that are caused by stress to the family. It gives employees a new convinient strategy of coping up with stress. This may help maintaining and improving good and healthy relationship between employees and their employer.


Sometimes employees may not be cooperative, making the process difficult to the psychologist


The organisation in their attempt to balance the employee work and family, should therefore assess which intervention is effective to both the employees and the organisation. This will help increase the workers productivity through reducing the role conflict between work and family among employees.


Allen, T. D. (2001). Family-supportive work environments: The role of organisational perspectives,. Journal of Vocational Behavior , 414-435.

Apostal, R. A., & Helland, c. (1993). Commitment to and role changes in dual career families. Journal of Career Development , 121-129.

Frone, M. R. (2003). Work-family balance: A handbook of occupational health psychology. Washington DC: APA.

Greenhaus, J. H., & Beutell, N. J. (1985). Source of conflicts between work and families roles. Academy of Management Review , 76-88

Osterman, P. (1995). Work/family programmes and the employment relationship. Administrative Science Quarterly , 681-700.

Voydanoff, P., & Donnelly, B. W. (1999). psychological distre The intersection of the paid worker, spouse, and parent roles with the role of the adult child. Journal of Marriage and the Family , 739-751.

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