Work Life Balance of Women Employees


Ms. Lakshmipriya
Ms. Neena.S
MBA IV Semester
Department of Management Studies
Acharya Institute of Management & Sciences
1st Cross, 1st Stage, Peenya, Bangalore-560 058

Introduction :

Times have changed. From the time the husband earned, and the wife stayed at home. To the time now when the husband earns and the wife earns too. But the wife still cooks and washes and runs the house. So, how does she balance her work with life at home?

Although, over the years women in India have struggled to establish an identity & create a mark in the social as well as in the organizational platforms, but with educational institutions training more and more women to enter professional careers, have drastically changed the scenario.

Infact, between 1991 and 2001 female employment in India on the whole, have increased by 3.6% per annum. Within the professional world, which reflects India's small but growing middle class more than the country as a whole, the phenomenon of Indian women "breaking through the glass ceiling" is perhaps more muted. Even, despite legal provisions made by acts like those of the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976 (which promulgates equal payment for equal work, regardless of gender & prohibits gender discrimination in hiring practices), the so-called "glass ceiling" is perhaps still very prevalent within organizations.

This article would highlight the various values, attitudes & beliefs of women regarding job anxiety in their formal work organizations & particularly balancing their work & personal life. Work Life Balance (WLB) is not a new concept.

Let's first define what work-life balance is not. Work-Life Balance does not mean an equal balance. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is and should be more fluid than that. Your best individual work-life balance will vary over time, often on a daily basis. The right balance for you today will probably be different for you tomorrow. The right balances for you when you are single will be different when you marry, or if you have children; when you start a new career versus when you are nearing retirement. There is no perfect, one-size fits all, balance you should be striving for. The best work- life balance is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives. However, at the core of an effective work-life balance definition are two key everyday concepts that are relevant to each of us. They are daily Achievement and Enjoyment, ideas almost deceptive in their simplicity. Engraining a fuller meaning of these two concepts takes us most of the way to defining a positive Work-Life Balance.

The change in the pattern of work and the concept of the workplace after the industrial revolution in the second half of the 18th century gave a new dimension to the concept of WLB. As time progressed, nuclear families increased. A later change was the fading away of the "ideal home" in which the earning member's spouse took care of the home.

With improved education and employment opportunities today, most homes are ones in which both parents work, because of necessity and the desire to augment incomes.

The need to create congenial conditions in which employees can balance work with their personal needs and desires became a factor that companies had to take note of both to retain them as well as to improve productivity. It was a compulsion that they couldn't afford to ignore. Having realized that, companies started introducing schemes to attract and retain employees and improve their productivity.

Why Work Life Balance is Important to Women? Today's career women are continually challenged by the demands of full-time work and when the day is done at the office, they carry more of the responsibilities and commitments to home. The majority of women are working 40-45 hours per week and 53% are struggling to achieve work/life balance. Women reported that their lives were a juggling act that included multiple responsibilities at work, heavy meeting schedules, business trips, on top of managing the daily routine responsibilities of life and home. "Successfully achieving work/life balance will ultimately create a more satisfied workforce that contributes to productivity and success in the workplace." Employers can facilitate WLB with many schemes that can attract women employees and satisfy their needs.

Some of these are

* Facilities for child care
* Financial planning services for employees who need them
* Flexi-timings
* Work sharing
* Part time employment
* Leave plans - both paid and unpaid - to suit employee's needs
* Subsidized food plans
* Insurance plans
* Counseling services for problems like managing work and the home
* Rest rooms, food preparation services
* Jobs with autonomy and flexibility
* Realistic work loads
* Review of work processes to see if the burden on employees can be lightened Maintaining dialogue with the employees and considering their suggestions on a continuous basis

Work-life balance

Can women be both sharers and careers Often, working women drop out of the work force when they are doing well, simply because they wanted to stay at home with their children, or care for an ageing parent. Or for both reasons. And then there are women who have children later in life because they want to work for reasons of personal satisfaction or for the money. So, can a woman have it all? The working woman should refuse to take on too much. She should adopt a sense of priorities.

If she has children, she should teach them to share responsibilities. But what about the husband? Has he changed at all anywhere in the world?

Surprisingly, a survey in the UK revealed that a majority of men want a 50/50 partnership with their wives both at work and home. They no longer see themselves as macho men. They want to spend more time with their children. Has the Indian man kept pace with the times? Can women achieve a work-life balance? The changing Equations of New Era The Changing Equations The Machine Age The Industrial Age The Networked Age Stress High Higher Highest Work- Life balance You went to work-life started only when you go home Not only are people working at work, but also at home 24-hour workdays split into compartments dedicated for 'life' Women and Work The men worked and women tended the house Both men and women worked, and women still tended the house Both men and women work and tend to the house.

Framework for successful Work-Life Balance in organizations

* Identify the key need or reason for introducing Work-Life Balance policies
* Build the commitment to Work-Life Balance Policies into the organization ' s vision or value statement
* Set up a Work-Life Balance Task Force Examine current practices in the organization
* Hold joint discussions with employees to evolve policies, while also identifying possible barriers
* Communicate policies through handbooks, newsletters, Intranet and other forms of communication
* Hold workshops to help Managers implement and manage policies
* Begin with a few "quick win" policies

Monitor implementation and put feedback systems into place In India, there is a starting point in that organizations have recognized the need for and value of Work-Life Balance policies. An integral part of our lives is our profession. Just as there is responsibility and opportunity in life, our careers are also guided by opportunities and responsibilities. We must ensure that these two factors don't work at cross purposes. Quality of life is something we all covet, every profession affects life in general and every profession has a duty towards life.

Top 5 Strategies to Strike a Balance

* Budget your time both in and out of the office - Schedule your time efficiently at work. Put yourself on your calendar and take some time for you and your family / friends. Leave work on time at least three days per week - There are times when working late just can't be helped, but schedule your time to leave on time three days per week.
* Control interruptions and distractions - Stay focused while in the office, and budget your time effectively. Try to schedule a block of time during the day without meetings when you can focus on your tasks with minimal interruptions.
* Explore the availability of flex-time - Research flex-time options within your organization. If available, it may be a helpful solution.
* Seize the weekend - Plan your time off as you plan your work week.
* Schedule activities with family and friends, a weekend trip, or just something fun. Make your time away from work count!

Conclusion for working women, getting caught in the work/life balance trap will continue to be an ongoing challenge. Careful planning and personal effort is the advice from those who have found balance in both career and home life. As one respondent summarized, "Plan, prioritize and schedule as efficiently as possible... and don't be afraid of hard work!" Work-life balance is a person's control over the conditions in their workplace. It is accomplished when an individual feels dually satisfied about their personal life and their paid occupation. It mutually benefits the individual, business and society when a person ' s personal life is balanced with his or her own job. The work-life balance strategy offers a variety of means to reduce stress levels and increase job satisfaction in the employee while enhancing business benefits for the employer. In our increasingly hectic world, the work-life strategy seeks to find a balance between work and play. A sentence that brings the idea of work life balance to the point is: "Work to live. Don't live to work."

Ms. Lakshmipriya
Ms. Neena.S
MBA IV Semester
Department of Management Studies
Acharya Institute of Management & Sciences
1st Cross, 1st Stage, Peenya, Bangalore-560 058

Source: E-mail April 22, 2008




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