The purpose of this research is to establish the main concerns work-life balance in most of the organizations and fields of employment such as the military, business enterprise, health care facilities just to mention but a few (Eales, 2010, p.1 ).
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The research looks at how workers are able to maintain a balance between work and their personal life without limiting the concentration of one. It further goes down to establish the importance of having a proper work-life balance to the employee as well as the employer and the organization at large (Bloom et al, 2006, p. 154).
The impact of work-life balance issues on current organizational behavior and future goals are also looked at to establish the positive or negative impacts that could result after proper and poor work-life balance respectively. Last but not least, the research ends by a critical analysis of ways through which an organization can pro-actively address the issue to minimize the potential of negative impact.
Employment is one of the biggest challenges in life when it comes to balancing the two. According to studies conducted in the year 2005 by a research scientist by the name Lowe showed that 6o percent of the surveyed population had conflict between family and work (Parkes and Langford, 2008, p. 270).
This therefore shows that most people are facing the challenge of correlating work and family issues. However, there are those fields of employment that increase the chances of conflict between the two. Some of these include people working in the military, health care facilities, mines, manufacturing industries just to mention but a few.
The reason behind this is the fact that most of the aforementioned working institutions require a lot of devotion especially in terms of time (Parkes and Langford, 2008, p. 272).
Take for example a military soldier who goes on a peace mission for a period of three or even more years or on the other hand a medical practitioner who is called for an emergency case at the health care facility during odd hours of the night. In both cases, it calls for a good balance between work and family one of the two will be greatly affected.
Work-life balance is therefore the act of giving family or work issues proper priority so as to establish a clear balance between the two. It can thus be deduced that work-life balance is an important issue in the contemporary business environment responsible for the reward and fulfillment of a healthy career.
This paper is therefore an in-depth analysis of the importance of work-life balance and the impact it has on current organizational behavior and future goals as well as a discussion of how the organization can proactively address the issue so as to minimize negative impacts.
Work-life balance in the Military
Work-life balance entails a broad spectrum of many concerns about family and personal life such as leisure, health, spiritual development among others. The military on the other hand is among the many fields of employment where some of these personal life experiences are rarely achieved if any.
For a long time, military workers have been having the difficulty of balancing their life in the military and that of their families and even their own (Britt et al, 2006, p. 89). The main reason behind this is the fact that, life in the military is itself of its own given the terms and conditions accorded to it.
For example, the military is one place where a worker will stay for a very long time away from their homes or rather families. At the same time the military is prone to many risks such that those who work in the military have to make a lot of sacrifice to accept to work there.
In most cases, the decision to join the military is usually a crucial hence requiring discussion among the family members. This is because of the simple of the devotion and sacrifice that the individual as well as his or her family should make to allow them to join the military.
The issue of balancing life and work in the military comes about due to the concerns of time, risks involved among other factors. Time is however the most conflicting issue because they have to choose between spending time in the military cruises or family.
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If one chooses to spend their time in the military, their personal life and that of the family is neglected. Cases of fathers in the military who have come back home to find their children fully grown up without even a single trace of who their father is, are not any knew to the society.
At the same time, women in the military have ended up being spinsters or having marital issues because of they lack time for the family. Other than time, the numerous risks of being prone to dangers of being killed or hurt are also an issue of concern (Parkes and Langford, 2008, p. 278).
Families that have their members in the military are always expectant of anything like, they may come back dead or alive. In addition to this, the stress the military workers face during their service is a possible cause of the suicide cases rampant in the military. Thus, military entails make a lot of sacrifices which at times are not worth making because of the possible outcomes.
As part of my research, I had a lengthy counseling session with a senior enlisted soldier who explained to me that he had fully committed his life to his career in the military while neglecting that of his family. He explained to me how he had difficulty balancing the two since work in the military was very demanding. He was very sorry, due to the fact that his career has separated him from his family such that he rarely spent any time with them thus creating a poor relationship with his wife and children.
I specifically explained to him the benefits of balancing the two since both were important part of his life. For one, I explained to him the way he could possibly achieve a balance between his life in the military and that of his family. This would be by for example spending as much time possible with his family during his leave periods or off duties.
Frequent communication back at home while at work would create a feeling of unity and oneness despite the distance involved (Matsch, 2010, p. 78). Last but not least would be the issue of proper care for his family to make them feel that someone was still responsible for them. All this I said because I had heard of several spouses to the military workers who had been neglected hence leading miserable lives.
The subject of balancing life not only entails taking care of the family life but also that of the work itself (Holden and Renshaw, 2004, 104). Workers ought to be responsible enough to take care of their jobs by spending the required time allocated and doing the work perfectly.
For example, a military worker who decides to stay at home with their family instead of going to their work place will not be properly balancing the two and will be prone to be sacked. Thus work should be respected while at the same time having healthy family time.
Importance of work-life balance
Work-life balance has been a conflicting issue having impacts on the employers, employees, family and the society at large (Abercromby, 2007, p.1).
As mentioned above, workers are having the problem handling their responsibilities in work places, homes and even volunteering programs for the society. However, it is possible to balance the two thus having a comfortable. The balance can be achieved through the following,
- Proper time management whereby work and family time is clearly distinguished without having to encroach to the time set for a specific duty.
- For those who go home on daily basis, it is important that they do not take home work assignments as this will prevent them from having adequate family time.
- Dealing with the issues and concerns of family and work separately such that the stresses at work do not affect the family life and those from home do not affect the output at work (Martin, 2011, p.1).
These are just but few ways through which general work-life balance can be achieved.
Despite of the difficulty involved, a balance between the two is very important because of the following.
The most important benefit of achieving work-life balance is that of being flexible to comfortably handle obligations (Eales, 2010, p.1). This is whereby, a worker will be very effective at work and at the same time his or her family life is good. At the same time, Effectiveness in work is achieved when the worker has had some time off from the work duties.
That way workers would be able to meet their targets since they have had relaxation time thus coming back to work with high stimuli. The workers will also be able to have quality time with their families as well as having time to develop their personal skills and hobbies something which is healthy for the mind as well as providing satisfaction (Eales, 2010, p.1).
Impact of work-life balance issues on current organizational behavior and future goals
The human resource departments of most business organizations have the obligation of making sure that their employees maintain a proper work-balance. The issue of work-life balance of the employees has many impacts on the current organizational behavior and its future goals (Kalliath and Brough, 2008, p. 325).
This is because an organization that fosters a good balance between work and the personal life of their employees enjoys the benefits of having high rated and qualified employees. The positive impacts of employees who have a balance of work and life could include;
- Good reputation of the organization in the society. This is to mean that the society will be applauded for the great job they have done to initiate their workers positively. The organization will also be praised for producing all rounded and effective workers who are able to have a clear cut and control of the work life and personal or family life.
- Equality of time – The fact that the workers will have the capability of balancing the time they spend at work and life issues, they will in the long-run acquire essential skills that will be applied in the work environment. Take for example an accountant who is burdened with the office work as well as external work such as audit meetings. For people without the skill of proper balance of duties, they may end up failing to attend the audit meetings which are a crucial part of the accountant’s job. Therefore an organization that has workers that are able to effectively spend their time will be higher on the ladder unlike those without such employees.
- Satisfaction- Job satisfaction encompasses a number of things. If employees are given time to be with their families as well as handle their private life matters, they will have the feeling of job satisfaction (Parkes and Langford, 2008, p. 273). Thus, if employees achieve satisfaction in the work place they will be highly productive hence leading to the attainment of the future goals of the organization.
- Measure of control- Having proper work-life balance is an indication of the ability to have control of even the pressing matters. Thus, this indication will be in turn reflected in the work of the employees which will have much contribution to the achievement of organizational goals.
On the other hand, organizations that offer their employees with the opportunity to have a balance between work life and personal life will not be practicing good human resource practices thus will have negative impacts as a result. Some of these impacts include;
- Poor reputation- Most fields of employment that do not provide a proper work-life balance for their employees usually end up having a bad reputation in the society despite the positive things they might be doing. For instance, despite the life saving assistance that most health care facilities give to the public, they still end up receiving a bad reputation in the society just because their workers spend more time in the facilities unlike at home with their families. This could in the long-run affect the aims of the organization.
- Stress- If employees fail to have a balance between their work life and personal life; they may end up experiencing stressful moments. They may experience stress either at work or at home whereby their family members and especially their spouses may retaliate due to the neglecting they get due to the worker’s preference of work to family. This may affect the productivity of the workers hence affecting the organization as well.
- Burn out- Hard work is complemented but hard work without rest leads to burn out of the workers. If the organization does not provide room for the employees to have some time on off duties, they will experience burn out. Burn out is one of the main causes of poor or low productivity of workers which in the long-run will lead to poor performance of the organization thus not achieving the set organizational goals.
How an organization can pro-actively address the issue to minimize the potential of negative impact
As per the negative impacts evidenced above, all organizations will be working hard to ensure that their employees are maintaining a proper work-life balance. This is because the negative impacts have detrimental effects on the achievement of the set organizational goals (Mercer, 2004, p.95). Therefore, organizations can pro-actively address the issue of work-life balance so as to minimize the potential of incurring the negative impacts.
This can be achieved through a number of ways including;
- Provision Conducive working environment: As seen above in the case of the military, the working environment matters a lot to the employees. Therefore, if at all the organizations want to minimize the potentials of negative impacts as a result of work-life balance, they should be able to provide their employees with a conducive environment to work in. This way, the employees will increase their productivity to benefit the organization. A conducive work environment involves off-duties, rewards, leaves, trips just to mention but a few.
- Health and well-being- An organization should yearn to providing their employees with god health and well being so that they can minimize the potential of incurring negative impacts. For example, if workers are subjected to health hazards during their duty of service, they may have problems balancing their work and personal life.
- Avoid burn out- Employers should be on the watch so that their employees do not experience burn out. They can do this by making that their employees are not overworked but given adequate time to relax which they can use for personal and family matters.
- Effective leadership- Other than the aforementioned factors, the management of human resource should be done by effective leaders (Eales, 2010, p.1). Effective leadership ensures that the employees are properly managed towards the achievement of the goals of the organizations without being biased on the workers. By effective leadership providing good work-life balance means that they will be minimizing the potential of experiencing the negative impacts associated with poor work life balance.
The above discussion has been an enlightenment of the issue that comes in hand with work life balance of employees in organizations.
As mentioned, despite the fact that all organizations can be reasons for poor balance between life and work, there are those that have the highest degree of such occurrences. These are for example the military and health care facilities regardless of the great contribution they provide to the society.
The contemporary business is also prone to issue of work life balance just like most of the other organizations. It has also been discussed that the way a worker manages their work life and personal life has great impacts on the organization as well as themselves. Proper work and life balance has many advantages to those of achieving organizational goals and should thus be encouraged.
Given the possible effects of poor balance of work and personal life, the human resource departments of organizations should ensure that they practice the aforementioned proactive measures so as to minimize the effects which have an impact on the organizational objectives. Thus it will be advisable that workers are educated on proper work and personal life balance so as to attain the organizational objectives.
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