Work-Life Balance and Workforce Management
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Individuals face demands on their time from work and life requirements. If
they cannot balance the requirements, it could mean an unhealthy life or
unemployment. Work-life balance has become an important topic of study and
discussion because of its impact on public health and business results.
Public health is affected as high-pressure work demands can lead to
stress-related illnesses. The situation is aggravated because work can affect
the way one lives, and unhealthy life choices are all too common.
Business results are affected because stressed employees are poor performers
and unhealthy life choices lead to greater incidence of sickness absences.
With both governments and businesses interested in the issue, work-life
balance has indeed become a center of considerable attention.
How Work Can Affect Life
A healthy life requires attention to important life areas such as family,
children, friends and hobbies. A high-pressure work situation and time spent on
commuting can eat into the time available for workers to attend to these areas.
As a result, these important areas tend to be neglected.
Job security has also suffered with changing trends in industry. Information
technology and competitive pressures have led to the practical disappearance of
the earlier phenomenon of lifetime employment with one employer.
Employees are generally looking for better opportunities while employers
might be seeking ways to reduce costs by replacing employees. Both these lead to
frequent job changes and even to re-locations, adding to the stress and
pressures faced by employees.
Add to these the stress of constant technological changes and the need to
learn new things, and you get a future-shocked generation.
Results of Unbalanced Work-Life Situations
Rise in workplace violence, increase in levels of absenteeism and rising
trend of workmen's compensation claims have made employers keenly aware of the
need to attend more to the work-life balance of their employees.
In the personal lives of employees, inadequate time for family life and
parenting lead to marriage problems and a generation of children increasingly
addicted to harmful substances and ways of life.
Pressures created by the work situation are also affecting health and sexual
Achieving Better Work Life Balance
Personal ambitions, a consumerist culture, an emphasis on "work-ethic" to the
neglect of personal lives and the time squeeze caused by the demands of work,
commuting and personal affairs are all contributing to the upset work life
Remedial measures need to focus on certain key areas, including in
- Personal training to focus employee attention on the important things for
a healthy life of fulfilling relationships
- Employers realizing the benefits of helping their employees find a
work-life balance, through training programs, flexible working hours, and
Studies have indicated that by allowing some degree of control for employees
to choose when, where and how they work, employers can realize significant
When demands of work leaves little time for important areas of life like
family, children, friends and hobbies, work-life balance gets upset. The result
can be felt in employee health, levels of stress, marriage, problem children,
low work performance, absenteeism and so on.
Achieving better work life balance requires both employee training and
employer orientation changes.
About the Author
Lucy Caudle, Marketing at SMART, writes about the benefits of
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