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Flexibility in work life is an important factor for the balance between the work life and personal life of a person. The concept of flexibility and the balance between the work life and personal life varies from person to person. The balance between the work life and personal life is influenced by the flexibility if the work life of a person (Higginson et al., 2014). Flexibility in work life includes various thongs. From the flexibility of duration of working hours to the number of working days, everything influences the work life balance of a person.
Flexibility have been proved effective for the organisations as this help to reduce the cost for their employers and this in turn helps the employees to have ample to time to enjoy other activities. Flexibility also reduces the cost of travelling of the employees (Mowday et al., 2013). They can communicate with various other executives of their company over the conference instead of travelling down to their work place. This saves the time of the employee, as he does not have to travel to other places of the world (Ionescu, 2012). Flexibility is also beneficial for the company, as they do not have to provide their employees with travelling expenses. Flexibility at work place is required for the employees so that they do not become disillusioned, unproductive, resentful and unproductive.
In this assignment, the importance of flexibility at work place will be explored. This would be done with the help of examples, which would give a clear idea about the effect of flexibility at workplace and its impact on the balance of work and personal life.
Views of Juliet Bourke on the use of flexibility and its shift from original paradigm
Flexibility in any organisation is an important aspect for its development. Flexibility in an organisation must be something that is forced upon an individual. Flexibility provides various advantages to the organisations. This advantage helps their employees to perform better and it results in increase in productivity of the organisation. This also helps in using the resources of the company economically and thus, leads to increase in the profit margin. Most of the companies provide flexibilities to their employees, except few (Tomkos et al., 2014). This flexibility comes in terms of working hours, working days, types of jobs; i.e. part time jobs or full time jobs or leave without pay for a maximum time of twelve months. This flexibility leads to happiness among the employees and this becomes profitable for the company (Ng et al., 2012).
The company allows their employees to work from home in case of emergency; they allow the employees to provide the company with the shifts they are comfortable. They allow the employees to have conference with other executives of the company. This helps the company to have more of their savings as they do not have to provide their employees with the travel expenses and food and lodging expenses (Higginson et al., 2014). This facility of flexibility is supposed to provide the work and personal life balance between both the personal and professional lives. With the development of technology, flexibility can be well accessed among the employees of any organisation (Tomkos et al., 2014). Flexibility in an organisation helps it to adapt itself to the changes within the organisations effectively. However, the companies are using their employees in the name of providing them with flexibility.
According to Juliet Bourke, a partner at Aequus Partners is concerned about the negative impact of flexibility at work place. Juliet Bourke is correct in her views. This is because the organisations use their employees in the name of flexibility. The employees have to work extra hours in order to meet the production of the company. Sometimes, employees need to work overnight and they are expected to reach their office next day on time. The employees are said that they are flexible to choose their working hours and the working days (Kitchin, 2014). They choose the working hours according to their convenience. However, during their working hours, they are requested to handle important works and attended meetings, which might be beyond their working hours (Thomas et al., 2015). The employees give priority to those works and meetings and this extend their working hours beyond their scheduled time. This is the result of the effort to keep the employee turnover rate down so that the company can have a higher margin of profit. The employers take advantage of flexibility and they demand more work out of fewer people.
Juliet Bourke is concerned whether the employees would push the flexibility in a “nasty way” due to the economic crisis. Sometimes, the organisations provide the jobs to their employees as a part time job or a low paid job in the name of flexibility (Kitchin, 2014). They offer the condition of flexibility to the employees when they hire them. The organisations offer their employees to pay on per hour basis and they say that the employees have the flexibility to work in the hours they are free. This offer seems to be an attractive offer for the employees and they agree to do the job. As a result, the company offers less salary than they should deserve. The company names this policy as a balance in work and personal life. However, they do not provide the appropriate salary to the person so that they could enjoy their personal life. Every organisations aim to reduce their cost and increase the margin of profit (Ionescu, 2012). This also leads to working of extra hours for the employees present on the organisations. They have to do more work than that are assigned to them. This lead to tiredness and the employees could not produce the effective result for the company. Some employees, be it managers or clerks, work more than 48 hours at a stretch and they do not take holidays. It was found that around 20% of the employees work over 48 hours at a stretch and around 60% of the employees do not take holidays due to their work life (Thomas et al., 2015).
Thus, according to Juliet Bourke, the work life and personal life balance is disrupted as the employees could not give the required time to their personal life and satisfy their personal needs. Thus, the use of flexibility had moved far away from its original paradigm and this is having a negative impact the work life and personal life balance of the employees at every stage.
Implication of excessive working hours on the performance of employees and managers
Excessive working hours provide ample of time to the employees and managers to fulfil their targets and increase the productivity of the company. Most of the employees work for extra hours in order to achieve their targets and to get incentives (Gijzen et al., 2015). This increases the productivity of the company and the employees are paid extra for their work, but this have a negative effect on the employees and managers.
Excessive working leads to increase in health problems. Woking extra hours after the scheduled time lead to disruption in the daily lifestyle of the person. This affects the health of the person. Excessive working hours leads to lower back injury when the job is related to lifting heavy objects manually. This also results to injuries in other parts of bodies along with muscular cramps. High blood pressure is another important effect that is caused by working for excess hours (Appelbaum, 2013). Working late night leads to deprive in sleep. This in turn increases the blood pressure of the person and leads to other complications. Health issues as if decrease in mental health is another affect of excessive working. Excessive working leads to less focus on personal life and recreational activities (Parmenter, 2015). This leads to a monotonousness in the person and mental tiredness. Increase in mental health issue leads to increase in the rate of total and lost workday. Excessive working leads to mental fatigue and the employees or managers cannot give their best performance at their workplace. They remain lost throughout the day and this hampers the productivity of the person.
Excessive working hours have heavy impact on the women. Working for long hours leads to lower birth weight or gestational age of women. This affect the child in the womb of the mother and thus, affecting the future generation. Another health issue that had been found with the excessive working hours is the increase in rate of consumption of alcohol in men. They consume alcohol in order to distress themselves and get over the mental fatigue. Consumption of alcohol results in various health issues which results in physical and emotional changes in their body. It is seen that increase in working hours results to increase in suicide rate (Pierce & Aguinis, 2013). A study by Cornell University had revealed that an approximate number of 10% employees who work up to 50 to 60 hours every week have disruptions in their work life and personal life. They have higher degree of work-family conflicts. 30% of the employees and managers who work beyond 60 hours per week have higher rate of divorces and higher rate of suicides (Parmenter, 2015). Thus, working for excessive hours results to various health problems, which includes both physical and mental issues.
Working for excess hours results to increase in risk in safety. Workers who work at hazardous places like nuclear plants are exposed to hazardous materials for a longer period thereby decreasing the safety of the worker. It also results to impaired performance of the workers and they tend to pay less attention to their work. It increases the risk of disasters as the workers turns careless on increase in workload and tiredness (Appelbaum, 2013). People who are into medical professions have the tendency to increase in errors in their professions. This leads to a dangerous situation as it involves patients who are already suffering from diseases. Increase in errors in medical facilities might result in death of the patient, which could be considered as a crime. There is also an increase in risk of accident rates if a person works more than 16 hours a day. In addition to these, excess working hours leads to fatigue. German study reveals that doctors who work more than 48 hours every week had the five times high risk of meeting an accident while driving or commuting (Kehoe & Wright, 2013). In addition, working during nights or early morning increases the chance of accidents as the drivers become fatigue and they become less cautious and execute erratic driving patterns.
Decrease in productivity is another important factor that shows up because of excessive working hours. Reports had suggested that the performances in white-collar jobs decrease as much as 35% when the person works beyond 60 hours every week (Mowday et al., 2013). This leads to decrease in productivity and even the process driven work suffers in there is a high rejection rate and increase in dissatisfaction among the customers. According to the research in two other studies it was seen that the hours of productivity drops by an additional 10 hours on increase in consecutive long work weeks from four to twelve. According to scientific literature it was seen that fatigue of employees, the increase in availability of time of work to complete the project results in less productivity of the employees.
Increase in absenteeism is another factor that is the result of excessive working hours. This is due to poor health condition that results due to fatigue and workload. Absenteeism might sometimes result to replacement of the employees and they often work overtime which makes the problem self-perpetuating (Davenport, 2013). Morale problems also come up due to excessive overtime at work place. This can be manifested by low productivity, absenteeism, less turnover rate and issues of labour. It was seen that 31% of shift work companies who had high level of overtime had a low level of poor morale. 13% of companies who have normal overtime also resulted in poor morale (Kehoe & Wright, 2013). This was reflected by increase in absenteeism and lesser of productivity.
Another adverse affect of excessive working is the increase in turnover rate, which is the cause of imbalance in work life and personal life (Imran et al., 2014). This imbalance catches up some employees and they reduce their productivity. This is the cause of excessive working in order to make up the vacant positions when the demand is not met. Sometimes, the employees are not paid for working extra hours (Kitchin, 2014). This leads to frustration among the employees and managers and it affects the productivity of the company and the business in turn.
Ways in which employees could facilitate their work life and personal life balance during an economic downturn
The work life balance is an attempt done by an individual to maintain the co-existence of work, family, career, health and other social and financial aspects. The work life balance, though aims to an individual, but the organisation where the individual is employed, plays an important role in work life balance (Robbins et al., 2013). The work force of an organisation is affected by the condition of economic downturn. The organisations enforce various policies and rules during the period of recession and economic downturn. These policies could be introduced to those employees who offer flexible timing and work environment. During the time of economic downturn, the working hours could be reduced and the employees and managers could spend more time with their families. This would refresh their mind and get over the fatigue. The employees should also keep in mind to perform their jobs at their work place as economic downturn results to decrease in number of employees from the company (Giddens, 2013).
The company could provide their employees with relaxation in the timing at their work place, which would result in a proficient and efficient outcome from the employees and managers. The employees and mangers could get ample of time to spend with their family and they would also get to peruse their passions and interest (Gatrell et al., 2013). These recreational activities would result to refreshment among the employees and workers and they can work with a fresh mind and recover the company from their economic downturn. This would help the employees to get over of their mental fatigues and help them regain energy to perform better in their work.
On another hand, the organisations choose to reduce the head count of their workforce during the time of economic downturn. This leads to increase in work pressure and working over time without any pay. This hampers the work life balance and has a negative impact on the family life. The employees and managers could prepare themselves mentally to work for extra hours and spent their free time with their families (Mowday et al., 2013). They have to perform time management so that the employees and managers could finish their work on time. The employees and managers must put on more effort to succeed in their work and finish it on time so that they can manage to have free time for their recreation. The employees and managers must also discuss their work pressure with their family members so that they can understand the situation of the employee or manager and co-operate with him during his time of crisis (Rubery & Rafferty, 2013). The organisations must address this balance of work life and personal life with utmost care such that the human capital can be leveraged to the maximum level during the period of economic downturn.
The organisations must also set up short term organisational policies in order to reframe their goals and achieve them with their limited recourses. The organisations must also consider the employments of their employees as a major concern during their economic downturn (Fullan, 2014). They can give an option to the employees of voluntary career change, retiring early voluntarily or non voluntarily taking up lower paid job or working overtime without any pay. This would at least help the employee not to have mental stress and it would help him overcome the difficult situation. This would in turn help the person to maintain the work life balance and he cope up with his crisis.
The employee or manager could look for a second job in order to look after the family. They would also encourage that the other members of the family to take up jobs so that they could maintain their lifestyle (Mowday et al., 2013). Maintaining the healthy lifestyle would result in maintaining a better work life relationship, thereby reducing the mental stress of the employee or manager. This would also reduce the negativity of the family and it would help to increase the productivity (Ulrich, 2013). The employees must also handle their finances well during the time of crisis. The must invest their savings properly such that their family could overcome the crisis efficiently. It would help to maintain the work life balance for a person and this would also protect his family during the time of crisis.
It could be concluded that work life balance is an important part of everyone’s life. From the CEO, the managers, the employees and the clerks of any organisation needs to maintain the work life balance in order to have a healthy life and work efficiently. Increase in work pressure leads to disruption of the work life balance of an individual at every level of the organisation. The organisations must also frame their policies in such a way so that the employees at every level could maintain their work life balance. Excessive working hours induces stress on an individual. This hampers his health along with the performance at work place. This also imbalances the work life balances of an individual, which affects the productivity at work place. Thus, the organisations also play an important role to maintain the work life balance of an individual. The individual is also responsible to have a proper work life balance. He must ensure to finish his work on time and make time for himself and his family. The employee must also plan his finances well so that he and his family could survive through the hard times easily.
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