How can we prevent ourselves from facing work/ family problems?
Work-life conflicts give rise to significant negative effects and it is therefore important to try reducing this conflicts. One way through which we can reduce work-family conflict is by setting boundaries. Such a strategy will involve a person taking steps to reduce the forces that interfere with their plans at home and at work.
For example, one could set boundaries as to how much time should be spent at work. Any thing which interferes with this boundary should be identified and appropriate measures taken to stop it.
However, this strategy will require the support of the organization where a person works since without the support of the organization, the boundaries set by the employee will not be respected and the whole strategy will fail.
Another approach for reducing work-family conflict is by talking about family issues with fellow employees. While it would seem that isolating home issues from work is the best approach, the fact is that people spend significant amount of their time at work and they form good relationships with their work mates.
Discussing family situations with co-workers will therefore be beneficial for a person since these colleagues will be able to empathize and assist a person to achieve work goals especially when the family responsibilities are great.
Since most work-family conflicts are caused by rigid working hours, adopting flexible working hours can lower the conflicts. This is because flexible working hours give a person a sense of control and they are able to schedule their lives such that balance is achieved between family and work.
In addition to this, flexible working hours increase the level of job satisfaction and reduce the amount of stress experienced by the worker therefore reducing work-family conflict.
To reduce burnout, the worker should avoid putting in too many hours at work especially when it is not mandatory. Most people work overtime so that they can make more money or in order to gain promotions. Others put in more time since there is a common misconception that the person who spends a lot of time in the workplace is more committed to the organization.
However, this is not true and the amount of time spend at work is not an indication of commitment or employee productivity. By ensuring that you do not overwork yourself, you will avoid burnout and reduce work-family conflict.
The organization can assist in reducing burnout by providing enough resources to the staff. Assigning work fairly and equitably to the employees so that there is no work overload will fulfill this goal and therefore prevent work-family problems.
Consequences of work/ family conflict
Conflicts between work and family responsibilities have a number of adverse consequences for the individual and the place he works. To begin with, these conflicts result in an increase in stress and burnout by the employee. As organizations seek to get the most from their workers, they are constantly expecting employees to put in more work hours.
This is normally at the expense of time which would be used for non-work related issues. This causes a work-life imbalance that leads to high stress levels as the individual attempts to complete the increasing work load in time all the while foregoing his out of work obligations.
Having to work overtime causes the employee to burnout since they do may not have enough time to rest. Stress and burnout are conditions that decrease the productivity of the employee since they result in cognitive difficulties such as decreased concentration, reduced alertness, and trouble staying awake.
Work/family conflicts cause lower job satisfaction since the quality of work environment is not seen as conducive by the employee. When job satisfaction is low, the worker is more likely to have reduced commitment to the organization.
Lack of commitment will lead to the employee not making enough effort to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization. Employees who have low commitment have high rates of absenteeism and reduced performance.
In addition to this, the low job satisfaction which is caused by work-family conflict will increase the employee turnover rate. High turnover rates are costly to the organization since they will have to incur the costs of recruiting and training new personnel to fill in the vacated positions.
Work life conflicts also damage personal relationships that the person has with his family and friends. By dedicating too much time to work as a result of personal ambition or an increasing workload, the amount of time given to relationships is reduced.
This hampers the growth of these relationships and one can end up feeling left out or out of touch with the people they love. For married couples with children, the effect of work-family imbalance is even worse.
The children will not enjoy a balanced upbringing since one or both of their parents will be held up at work and when they are not, they will be exhibiting stress. The lack of time may also lead to divorce since the married couple will grow out of touch.