The business working context is changing first thus presenting many new implications both to Human Resource Managers and the also to the employees. The business environment is changing rapidly to a different state taking up a new shape. As it changes, various aspects of the workplace will adjust with the modification in the workplace. These include factors such as employees using apps to manage their work and the general personal life, no mandatory for corporate office attendance, job portfolio change and work-life flexibility among many others changes (Ozbilgin, 2013). Therefore, this shows that a transformation is continuously taking place in the workplace.
Looking at work-life flexibility, many factors contribute to the change. As the workplace is changing work-life of many people is changing and being life balance. This is taking shape so fast at the workplace. Work-place balance entails a state people are striving to a chive a balance between their career or ambitions and their personal lives such as the family, spiritual life, health, leisure and pleasure among others. On the other hand, flexible working life entails workers of a given company making arrangements with their employers to work for the conditions that suit them. This shift from work flexibility to work-life balance is bringing about various implications both to leaders and managers, HRM and to the employees that force them to adjust to these new workplace standards (King, 2008).
Implications of the work-life flexibility to the employees
As the workplace is changing, employees will have many implications both in their working life and also in their personal life. Employees feel more comfortable and become more engaged if they find flexibility at the workplace. This is mainly because they can attain an equilibrium between the demands of their work and those of the aspects of life. The work-life flexibility is good to employees and greatly helps them to attain a better health and mental conditions (Kvande, 2009). At the moment, employees are advocating for this flexibility, and thus most companies are adopting this change at the workplace.
Firstly, flexible work arrangements as an implication to the employees to this new shift are likely to reduce stress to them. This is because they become satisfied with their normal lives, job lives thus get contentment from the balance of the work and other aspects of life such as family. Such workers, enjoy a better body health, mental health thus reduced level of stress in life. Employees can find time to take care of other aspects of their life that could be stressing them thus deriving satisfaction and getting peace of mind which in turn reduces stress imposed on them. If an employee’s work life is not flexible, they are likely to find stress from other aspects of life thus imposing a lot of stress to them (Alterman, 2013).
Secondly, employees are likely to get implications on their families. Flexible work life as one of the changes in the workplace, is certainly going to help the employees have an improved work-family balance. If there is no balance between the work and the family, there are two types of interference that are likely to take place. The family work interference, where the family activities affect the performance at the workplace and also the work-family interference where the activities at work affect the family life activities and attitudes. Both types of intervention areis negative and thus can be eliminated by the provision of a flexible work-life (Stanger, 2014).
Besides improving work-family balance, work-life flexibility is also definitely going to bring an implication on balance between general work and non-work balance. As the workplace continuous to change, it is becoming critical for people to balance work activities and non-work activities and responsibilities. Non-work life responsibilities are not only family responsibilities but also other activities such as the spiritual life responsibilities, health, and fitness, leisure and pleasure activities among others (Briscoe et al., 2011). Flexible work life will play a critical role in attaining this equilibrium because it provides employees with energy, the time and even the general body well-being that helps them carry out these responsibilities (Boucher, 2013). Attaining work-life balance also helps employees to improve their growth and the general enrichments thus reducing interferences between personal life and work life.
Flexibility in work life will have an implication on the physical and mental well-being. Workers will attain both physical and psychological well-being are little restrictions in their life. Flexible working patterns grants employees freedom and control on their work thus reduced restrictions in their life (Bloom, 2013). This has some positive effects on the health of the employees and their general well-being. Work life that is not flexible increases the employee's negative related health outcomes due stress, attitude and many other aspects. Flexible work-life that promotes employee self-scheduling and control reduces the chances of workers getting severe conditions, problems and diseases such as blood pressure and heart rate issues, mental health, sleep quality and alertness, tiredness, mental health among many others (Williams & Boushey, 2010).
Also, flexibility in the work will bring about economic implications to the employee. There will be reduced commuter errand costs that are likely to be incurred. Flexibility may mean that employees will schedule themselves to work from home, or anywhere else at any time they feel or may also implies that one reports working but not on a fixed timetable (Perlow & Porter, 2009). This means that the worker will be able to escape traffic and other stresses associated with commuting. This is, therefore, economical and convenient to the employee.
On the other hand, flexible work-life also brings about various challenges to the to the employees. To start, most employees thrive well in an office environment. Some workers find it difficult to work from home or when the colleagues are holding a different schedule. This brings about a challenge for their work, productivity and the general career growth of an individual. Most people require the core hours and days to handle work responsibilities. Therefore, this brings about adverse effects to the employees (Kelly et al., 2011).
Flexible work-life is likely to bring about relationship issues. The family, relatives, neighbors and friends are certainly going to raise eyebrows thinking that one is not working. This can easily cause strains in the relationships of the employees. Convincing many people that one collaborates on a flexible schedule is difficult and they ae likely to end up mistaking the employees (Kossek et al., 2013). Also, inflexible work-life, there is no clear demarcation between home and work. This cause is a challenge to most employees to balance between the work and their life, and one may work all the time or even fail to work. Thus, it brings about the negative implication to balance between life and labour.
Implications of the work-life flexibility to the Leaders and Managers
Just like the HRM, many consequences are likely to come about to the leaders and managers in various industries due to the work-life flexibility that is coming about quickly. First, managers and leaders will have to come up with new ways of measuring productivity (Hemsley, 2014). With this new standard, the traditional means of measuring the performance and productivity of a given employee such as the working hours are going to be outdated and will not work anymore as a performance measure tool. In this, therefore, managers and industry leaders will be forced to look for new ways of performance measurement to survive with the change.
Flexibility in work-life is also going to create an implication to managers to promote more employee empowerments. There is going to much more emphasis by the industries on the empowering their workers, willingness to try out new things that are likely to improve the process and other lucrative activities that promote the profitability and sustainability of the company. As an implication, therefore, managers and leaders will be forced to come up with new strategies that will improve the empowerments in the enterprise (Colgan et al., 2007).
Also, as an implication, managers who are used to watching the staff and knowing what they are doing are likely to be forced to change their management styles. This is because they will not be able to stay with their staff physically during working hours for monitoring them. Workers will be working from different places or will be reporting to the corporate office at their flexible hours. Therefore, they will be forced to adjust and adopt the styles that demand trust.
Work-life flexibility is likely to present a challenge of meetings and coming together of the employees. This is a critical implication to the managers and the industry leaders, especially when working on a team project. Cases, where team work is required, will become involved since people will be working on the flexible schedules. This is likely to present a management and leadership challenge in the industry and thus reducing the productivity in the long run (Mule, 2007).
Implications of the work-life flexibility to the HRM
Work-life flexibility, as a present shift in the workplace, has many implications to the HRM of companies. These effects are either positive or negative to the organization. Firstly, handling work-life flexibility is likely to bring about an impact on the customer care. This section is likely to be difficult to manage because it requires long physical working hours. The HRM of companies will be forced to come up with new improved strategies of handling the business sections with customer care service. It is one of the important aspects of every organization and must be handled carefully because it deals with the clients and ensures their satisfaction. HRM gets a significant challenge in handling customer care as the world continuously moves towards work-life flexibility (Boswell & Olson-Buchanan, 2007).
Secondly, flexibility entails reduced restrictions and increased elasticity of the working conditions. This is likely to bring about an HRM implication on the engagement and commitment of the employees positively. When the HRM attains employee engagement and commitment, and improved job morale, the company enjoys a package of benefits from the employees. Workers are motivated in their tasks which in turn improves their productivity and their commitment to their organization. Also, there are reduced chances that employees will look for other jobs to move out of the company, thus a benefit to the business enterprise (Thorne, 2011).
Thirdly, increasing employee engagement, shifting to work-life flexibility in the workplace, is also likely to bring an implication on the employer image. With more engaged and motivated staff, a positive word is liable to spread out about the employer. People are likely to learn about the improved working conditions of the company thus increase their desire to work with them (Origo & Pagani, 2008). This can attract many desired skills to the business due to improved image of the company thus increasing the sustainability and profitability in the long term.
Besides, work-life flexibility also helps the HRM manage to reduce employee negative spillover at the workplace. Spillover is a process by which the employee behaviors and attitudes carry over one role to the other. Spillovers from the family to work are likely to affect the productivity of a given employee negatively. Most negative attitudes arise due to stress from work-life imbalance, attitudes at home and many other aspects that come from the non-work life and flows into the job responsibilities. Provision of flexible work-life conditions significantly reduces the negative spillover from the employees to their responsibilities (Gerbert, 2010).
Also, flexible work-life as a new standard at the workplace helps employees to get better physical and mental health usually which has a positive impact to the HRM of a given company. Employees are likely to attain satisfaction between the non-work activities and the work activities thus reduced stress due to restrictions. Also, employees are likely to participate in the health promoting activities thus better health of the employees which benefits the organization in many ways (Hoessle, 2016). These include reduced absenteeism of the employee due to health-related issues and also lower costs that the company may incur in the process of treating the employees. Therefore, this benefits the HRM significantly in many ways.
On the other, flexibility at the workplace also brings about many negative implications to the HRM of a given company. Some employees require work environment to be productive. This presents a significant challenge because employees are at home or working on a flexible schedule thus difficult to provide them with such environment that they require for nourishment. Some employees are likely to take advantage of the flexibility in the work-life thus reduce their productivity to the company by engaging themselves in the activities that do not add value to the organization (Moen et al., 2013).
The HRM is also likely to get a challenge of meetings and conference with work-life flexibility plans. Conducting regular meetings to bring the employees together for idea sharing becomes involved with this new world standard. Work-life flexibility may mean that employees work from home or come to work to different flexible times, this scenario does not promote better customer service (Moen et al., 2011).
Also, HRM faces challenges in training their staff with this work-life flexibility. This is mainly because the team come to the corporate office at different times and work from different places. Besides, work-life flexibility, as a new standard at the workplace, is likely to reduce the cohesiveness of the employees in a given business organization. Workers don’t come together except in a few cases, and thus there is reduced interactions with each other which in turn reduce their cohesiveness. This is a challenge to the HRM of a given company because the organization does not get the benefits that come from improved cohesiveness of the employees (Lambert et al., 2008).
In conclusion, the workplace is changing fast, and new aspects are coming into shape. These elements include work-life flexibility shift among many others. These aspects have various effects that are both negative and positive impacts on different parts of the industry including the employee, the HRM, and the Managers. Besides, the implications to these parties that they must adjust and consider to adopt the new standards in the industry. Therefore, workplace change is inevitable, and all parties involved must adjust for this.
Alterman T, Luckhaupt S, Dahlhamer J., Ward B & Calvert, GM (June 2013). "Job insecurity, work-family imbalance, and hostile work environment: Prevalence data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey". Am J Ind Med. 56 (6): 660–669.
Bloom, Nicholas, James Liang, John Roberts, and Zhichun Jenny Ying. (2013). "Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment (No. w18871)." National Bureau of Economic Research.
Boswell W. & Olson-Buchanan, J. (2007). "The Use of Communication Technologies After Hours: The Role of Work Attitudes and Work-Life Conflict." Journal of Management. 33 (4): 592
Boucher, P., (2013). How flexible working can benefit you and your employees. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/apr/15/top-tips-to-allow-flexible-working. Accessed 31 May 2017
Briscoe, Forrest and Katherine C. Kellogg. (2011). "The Initial Assignment Effect: Local Employer Practices and Positive Career Outcomes for Work-family Program Users." American Sociological Review 76(2): 291–319.
Colgan, F., Creegan, C., McKearney, A., & Wright, T. (2007). Equality and diversity policies and practices at work: lesbian, gay and bisexual workers. Equal Opportunities International, 26(6), 590-609.
Gerbert, Frank (2010). Wenn Arbeit krank macht – Burn-out- das Leiden einer modernen Gesellschaft. Warum Zahl der Ausgebrannten wächst. In: Focus no. 10/10, p. 92-103
Hemsley, S., (2014). Flexible working: dads want choice. HR Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/features/1143166/flexible-dads-choice. Accessed 31 May 2017
Hoessle, Ulrike (2016). Reconciling Work and Life. Experiences from Germany (=WWS Series 6). Seat- tle: WWS Worldwide.ISBN 978-0-9898270-4-1 www.wwsworldwide.com
Kelly, Erin L., Phyllis M., and Erin Tranby. (2011). "Changing Workplaces to Reduce Work-Family Conflict Schedule Control in a White-Collar Organization." American Sociological Review 76(2): 265-290
King, E. (2008). The effect of bias on the advancement of working mothers: Disentangling legitimate concerns from inaccurate stereotypes as predictors of advancement in academe. Human Relations, 61, 1677–1711.
Kossek, Ellen Ernst, Leslie B. Hammer, Erin L. and Phyllis Moen. (2013). "Designing Organizational Work, Family and Health Change Initiatives." Organizational Dynamics 43(1): 53-63.
Kvande, E. (2009). "Work-Life Balance for Fathers in Globalized Knowledge Work. Some Insights from Norwegian Context". Gender, Work & Organization. 16: 58–72.
Lambert, A., Marler, J. & Gueutal, H., (2008). Individual differences: Factors affecting employee utilization of flexible work arrangements. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 73 (1), pp.107–117
Moen P., Erin L. & Rachelle Hill. (2011). "Does Enhancing Work-time Control and Flexibility Reduce Turnover? A Naturally Occurring Experiment." Social Problems 58(1): 69.
Moen P., Erin L. Kelly, Jack Lam. (2013). "Healthy Work Revisited: Do Changes in Time Strain Predict Well-Being?" Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 18(2): 157–172.
Mule, N. J., Ross L., Deeprose, B., Jackson, B., Daley, A., Travers, A., & Moore, D. (2009). Promoting LGBT health and wellbeing through inclusive policy development. International Journal for Equity in Health, 8(1), 1-11.
Origo, F. & Pagani, L., (2008). Workplace flexibility and job satisfaction: some evidence from Europe. International Journal of Manpower, 29(6), pp.539–566
Ozbilgin B., M. V., Durso, L. E., Mallory, C., & Kastanis, A. (2013). The business impact of LGBT-supportive workplace policies.
Perlow, Leslie and Jessica L. Porter. (2009). "Making Time off Predictable—and Required." Harvard Business Review 87(10).
Stanger M., (2014). Companies That Offer Flexible Schedules Get More Out Of Their Employees. Business Insider. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com/most-flexible-employers-according-to-payscale-2013-1. Accessed 31 May 2017
Thorne, B. (2011). "The crisis of care". In Garey, A.; Hansen, K. V. At the Heart of Work and Family: Engaging the Ideas of Arlie Hochschild. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. pp. 149–160. ISBN 978-0-8135-4956-9.
Williams J. & Boushey H. (2010). The three faces of work-family conflict the poor, the professionals, and the missing middle center. Center for American Progress, Hastings College of the Law.