Human resource management is an approach that allows business organisations in managing their workforce in the best possible manner. Human resource management was founded during the industrial revolution and has greatly evolved over the past few years. Using human resource management, business organisations can optimise the performance level of their workforce as it helps in designing and implementing practices like performance management, training and development, career development, recruitment and selection, etc. (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014) The basic aim of the approach is to increase the performance of the employees by fostering a positive workplace environment and by establishing stronger relations between employees and employers (Hendry, 2012). This report has been aimed at studying the implications that the usage of smartphone applications for manging work life balance will have on the employees, human resource management and the managers.
Work life balance is defined as a balance that the employees are able to maintain between their work lives and personal lives. In the modern day business world, organisations are relying heavily upon their human resources as a way of achieving market competencies. it has become very difficult for them to achieve market competencies on the basis of processes and operations as they are easily replicable (Perrons, 2017). The reliability of the employers on the employees increases their expectations from the employees and the employees are expected to perform better and show higher commitment towards their organisations. In their attempt to fulfil the expectations of the employers, the employees are losing a balance between their personal lives and work lives, which is increasing the level of stress amongst the employees and is also causing health related issues (Zilca, 2017). Therefore, the concept of work life balance has emerged in the past few decades and is shaping the workplace environment in a great way. It is becoming one of the best ways to attract and retain talented employees and enhance workforce performance for a lot of companies.
Technology has proven itself to be the greatest gift to the mankind. Technological innovations have been shaping the life of the human beings and is bringing about a lot changes in the day-to-day life of the human beings. One such invention of technology has been the smartphone applications. A decade ago, internet and the world wide web was considered to be the future and the biggest thing that was ever possible. The thinking of the global population changes when smartphone applications were developed as they could do much more than the world wide web and that too from devices that can fit into a small pocket (Poland, n.d.).
Smartphone applications have also found their usage in the business world. A number of multinational companies have started incorporating smartphone applications in managing their human resources and various other operations. In the past few years, smartphone applications have been easing the work for human resource managers as well as for the employees, who are using it to manage their time so that they can have a healthier work life balance.
Before getting further into the topic, it is important to discuss the importance of having a healthy work life balance from the employer’s as well as an employee’s perspective. The importance of work life balance is discussed below:
The first and the most important benefit of ensuring a healthier work life balance for the employees is that the workforce becomes less susceptible to burnouts and stress. If a workforce is not being able to maintain a healthy balance between their work lives and personal lives, they can become stressed and will not only experience a drop in their performance levels but will also experience health issues (Australian Institute of Business, 2015).
Secondly, helping the employees in maintaining a healthier work life balance can allow business organisations in fostering a positive image in the market and in becoming an employer of choice. Business organisations that help their employees in maintaining a healthier work life balance are also able to bring down the employee turnover rates because the employees are less stressed and are able to concentrate more on their work as well as take out time for their personal lives (Boundless, n.d.).
Thirdly, employees that are not being able to maintain a healthy work life balance have been found to be more prone to health related issues. The inability of the employees to manage their personal lives and work lives makes them more stresses and become more prone to heart diseases, digestive and respiratory problems. As a result, employees become dissatisfied with their jobs and show more absenteeism due to health related issues. Ultimately, the companies have to bear the loss of productivity and profitability.
Lastly, if employees have a healthy work life balance, they have been found to be more satisfied with their jobs, committed towards their work and the organisation, creative and are also able to perform better, which is a huge plus point for the employers as well as for the employees.
Smartphone applications are changing the way in which employers and employees work. There are millions of applications available in different mobile stores, which can help employees in managing their time in such a way that they are able to maintain a healthier work life balance. For example, there is an application that can allow the employees to set a monthly expenditure limit on their accounts by attaching their credit or debit cards. Similarly, there are applications that can track the usage of the user and can set working patterns and provide suggestions for better time management (Prokopets, n.d.). Some implications of using smartphone applications to manage work life (for the employees) are discussed below:
First of all, to use smartphone applications in order to achieve a healthier work life balance, the employees will have to increase their knowledge in the field of technology and internet. Smartphone applications cannot work on traditional mobile phones and also require an internet connection to carry out the task that they are intended to. To be able to use these applications, the employees will have to learn how to operate a smartphone and use internet. Furthermore, the employees will also have to ensure that the data or information that they are sharing in the application is secure and cannot be used by any outside entity for miscellaneous purposes.
Secondly, using smartphone applications will actually have a positive impact on the work life balance of the employees. Using applications, which can help the employees in time management, and allowing them to stay connected with their friends, family as well as their work can greatly help them in managing their work lives as well as their personal lives side by side. Further, applications can also save a lot of efforts and resources of the employees. For example, using smartphone applications, employees can attend meetings in a video conference call and will not have to waste time in travelling from one place to another just to attend an important meeting. Similarly, the employees can also finish a small portion of their jobs using smartphone applications like MS Word, even while they are on the move or away from the work. Ultimately, smartphone applications can help the employees in managing their work even from their home in case they are experiencing an emergency and cannot travel to the office because of personal reasons.
Thirdly, becoming more comfortable with applications and latest technology will also help the employees in increasing their competencies and opening up growth opportunities for the future. Employees, who will be able to use technology and incorporate smartphone applications in their day-to-day life for making their work easier, will always be able to discover new things that can make it easier for them to perform their job duties and responsibilities (Higuera, n.d.). As a result, the performance levels of the employees will increase and they will be able to make greater contributions towards the fulfilment of organisational goals and objectives.
Lastly, usage of smartphone applications can also have a negative impact on the work life balance of the employees. Smartphone applications can exponentially enhance reachability and connectivity of a person and an employee might get frequently notified by calls or mails about something important related to the work (Hamlett, n.d.). As a result, the work lives and the personal lives of the employees can sometimes jumble up and can have a negative effect on their work life balance.
Human resource management was started back in the industrial revolution and has greatly evolved since then. New technological inventions and human resource management systems have been changing the way in which the business organisations throughout the world manage their workforce. The usage of smartphone applications for the purpose of fostering a healthier work life balance will definitely have a number of implications for the human resource management too. The implications for human resource management are discussed below:
First of all, management of human resources will become easier because of smartphone applications. Smartphone applications will provide a better communication channel for the human resource managers to communicate with the employees. They will be able to communicate with the employees in a better way and inform them about their work related stuff. Therefore, usage of smartphone applications can make management and sharing of information easier.
Secondly, human resource management departments will be able to carry out some of their non-core functions more effectively. One of the most important non-core functions of a human resource managerial departments is to ensure employee retention or to bring down employee turnover rates. Human resource managers can make use of smartphone applications along with wearable fitness devices to assess the stress levels of the employees (Fritz, Huang, Murphy, & Zimmermann, 2014). Using such technology, the human resource managers will be able to recognize those employees who are experiencing high stress levels at work and are demonstrating low performance levels because of it. As a result, they will be able to arrange counselling sessions for them and will be able to retain them by improving the work conditions for them.
Thirdly, human resource management departments will have to become careful and ensure that the smartphone applications that the employees as well as the employers use for helping the employees in maintaining a healthier work life balance are secure and cannot compromise their work related data, making it possible for outside entities to access it and make use of it. An organisation is vulnerable to information and data theft and a negligence on the part of the employees or the management in using the applications can cause some serious implications for the human resource management departments as well as for the employers.
Lastly, the excessive and positive use of smartphone applications will also offer now opportunities to the human resource managers. Smartphone applications have a great future and developers can develop almost every kind of an application that can cater do different organisational needs and can perform a variety of functions. Human resource management can become more effective and efficient by using smartphone applications that can help them in establishing better communication channels with the employees, inform them about their shifts, manage time, schedules, payrolls, etc. (Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, 2007) Thus, human resource managers will be able to achieve their objectives and goals in a better way if they start using smartphone applications.
The concept of using smartphone applications is not just beneficial for employees and employers, but will also be beneficial for leaders and managers of an organisation. The implications of using smartphone applications for managing work life balance for the leaders and managers of an organisation are discussed below:
First of all, using smartphone applications for managing work shifts and schedules of the employees will allow the managers to exercise a better control over their entire staff. Not only the employees but even the managers can use smartphone applications to keep a record of employee shift timings, work schedules, important upcoming events and meetings and keep a track of employee leaves. With all this information available, it will become easier for the mangers and the leaders to manage the staff working under them and help them in maintaining a healthier balance between their personal lives and work lives.
Secondly, people working at the leader or managerial positions are responsible for the wellbeing of their workforce and to keep them motivated. Using smartphone applications that are aimed at managing stress levels amongst the users, it will become easier for the managers to identify those employees who have been experiencing high stress levels at the workplace. The managers can then consult these employees and can talk them out of their problems and offer them assistance in case the cause of the stress is an improper balance between their work lives and personal lives. Further, helping the employees in maintaining a balance between their work lives and personal lives will also allow the managers in keeping them motivated as they will become more focused towards the work and committed towards their job and organisation (Rodrigues, 2011).
Thirdly, a major implication of excess use of smartphone applications in the workplace for the management of employee work schedules and time will make it imperative for the leaders and the managers to undergo specialised training and development programs that will be helpful for them in learning all the technicalities of a smartphone applications and how it can be used in different fields to manage different employee management functions.
Fourthly, leaders and managers of business organisations might lose their share of work life balance because it might get difficult for them to manage the employees using complicated technological solutions. Using smartphone applications for managing the employees can involve a lot of time from a manager’s or a leader’s perspective and they might find it difficult to maintain their own work life balance. As a result, an added responsibility might not be well perceived by them and they might become dissatisfied with their jobs.
Smartphone applications are the biggest technological inventions in the present day and are shaping the future of the business world. The use of smartphone applications in maintaining a healthier work life balance is a new concept that is being accepted by a number of business organisations and is proving to be of a great benefit for the employees as well as for the employers. Maintaining a healthy work life balance is of a great importance in the present day business world because it can have a number of positive impacts on the overall performance and profitability of a company. Therefore, business organisations should shift their focus towards smartphone applications as an approach that can help them in helping the employees in maintaining a healthier balance between their work lives and personal lives.
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Boundless. (n.d.). The Importance of Work-Life Balance . Retrieved May 29, 2017, from www.boundless.com: https://www.boundless.com/management/textbooks/boundless-management-textbook/human-resource-management-7/current-topics-in-human-resource-management-60/the-importance-of-work-life-balance-303-7294/
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Prokopets, E. (n.d.). 14 Smart Apps To Improve Your Work/Life Balance. Retrieved May 30, 2017, from www.lifehack.org: https://www.lifehack.org/275194/14-smart-apps-improve-your-worklife-balance
Higuera, V. (n.d.). What Are Some Positive & Negative Technology Training Impacts on an Employee? . Retrieved May 30, 2017, from smallbusiness.chron.com: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/positive-negative-technology-training-impacts-employee-37082.html
Hamlett, C. (n.d.). The Adverse Effects of Technology in the Workplace . Retrieved May 30, 2017, from smallbusiness.chron.com: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/adverse-effects-technology-workplace-22649.html
Fritz, T., Huang, E. M., Murphy, G. C., & Zimmermann, T. (2014). Persuasive technology in the real world: a study of long-term use of activity sensing devices for fitness . Retrieved from dl.acm.org: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2557383
Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association. (2007, June). The Impact of the Mobile Phone on Work/Life Balance . Retrieved from www.kiwanja.net: https://www.kiwanja.net/database/document/report_mobiles_work_life.pdf
Rodrigues, A. (2011, December). The perceived impacts of smartphone use on the performance of senior managers in South African firms. Retrieved May 30, 2017, from citeseerx.ist.psu.edu: https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.464.4316&rep=rep1&type=pdf
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