Work Life Balance Essay

Submitted By AnhPham93
Words: 2079
Pages: 9


Executive Summary

The present report examines the implications of ‘beyond contract’ practises on work-life balance and stress management policies. Initially, it explores and defines the concepts of work-life balance and stress, as well as their causes and influences on employees and organisations. The main objective of this report is to introduce and recommend the ‘best practice’ policies on providing work-life balance and stress management, thus flexible work hour, onsite childcare, job share, improved annual paid leaves are further analysed and evaluated. The content of these policies coupled with their benefits and limitations are also determined. Following on, the extracted results from the theory are applied and recommendations for the Human Resources Department are provided. Finally, other additional policies that organisations can consider to put into practice so that the issue of work-life balance and stress at work are controlled more effectively are addressed.

1. Introduction

Employment contract is the mutual agreement between employee and the organisation regarding the duties of employee (Rousseau, 1995). However, all activities which are not included in the duties of employees are considered as ‘beyond contract’ such as exceeding hours of work, late retirement, short paid leaves, or extra duties. A quite rich literature review claims that beyond contract activities can affect employees’ work-life balance and stress at work.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of New Zealand (2012) defines work-life balance as the concept of managing the juggling act between paid work and other important activities. It is suggested that work-life imbalance results in high level of stress, reduced effectiveness at work (Kofodimos, 1993), cognitive difficulties (MacEwen and Barling, 1994), increased absenteeism and turn over as well as reduced levels of general health and energy (Frone, Russell and Barnes, 1996).

There is a link between imbalance work-life and stress. Health and Safety Executive (2007) defined stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”. Although low level of stress can stimulate and enhance employee’s performance (Boswell et al., 2006), excessive levels of stress is believed to rapidly result in low employee morale, poor productivity and low job satisfaction (Lockwood, 2003). According to Landy and Trumbo (1976), dimensions of stress are job insecurity, excessive competition, hazardous working conditions, and work overload, long or unusual working hours.

Casper and Buffardi (2004) believed that the provision of practices for employees to avoid negative influences brings organisations a competitive advantage in term of recruitment and productivity. Best practice policies on providing work-life balance, stress management and recommendations for employers will now be discussed.

2. Policies on Work-Life Balance and Stress Management

a. Work Life Balance

Improving the balance between work life and non-work life can bring real benefits for organisations and their employees. Among a number of policies, flexible work hour and onsite childcare service are the most practical policies to improve work-life balance in workforce.

* Flexible work hour

According to Forbes (2009) “Flexible scheduling allows employees to adjust the time or place their work is completed”. In other words, employees can schedule their work time on particular days; start and finish work at different times or even choose to work from home. By using flexible schedule, employees