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Work-life-balance is related properly prioritizing the work and the life of the employees by the employer of the organization. The leaders of the organization should assist the employees in understanding their job role properly accordingly prioritizing their jobs so that they can easily complete their jobs in time and make a space for their personal life. However, the concept of work-life-balance has been changed in some organizations due to their requirement of cost cutting of the organization. The study has been analyzed the statement of Juliet Bourke that states that the flexibility has been moved away from its original paradigm. It has been found that many organizations use the concept of work-life-balance as a way of redundancies in the organizations. The study also has been discussed the implication of excessive working hours on the performance of the employees as well as managers. Excessive working hours leads to health issues and personal life issues of the employees. Lastly, the study has been discussed the way in which the employers may bring flexibility in the organization during economic downturn of the organization. In this time, the employers have to properly allocate the human resources for the efficient productivity of the organizations.
Flexible working hours and work life balance are important factors for organization, as it increases the motivation of the employees that leads to high quality output (Purce, 2014). Many organizations are focused on reducing the cost of the organization through redesigning the organizational operation. They are focused on reducing the pay rolls, as it is the costliest things for the organization. On the other hand, many other organizations are interested in providing better work life balance to the employees for reducing redundancies (Storey, 2014). These kinds of organizations are providing flexible working hours to the employees for giving more space in their personal life. The meaning of work-life-balance is different in different organizations as per their needs. The study will discuss the justification of Juliet Bourke on her statement that flexibility has been moved away from its original paradigm. Apart from that, the study will also describe the implication of excessive working hours on the performance of the employees and manager. The study will demonstrate the way the employers could facilitate work-life-balance on the time of economic downturn.
In the previous era, talent acquisition was as kind of war for the employers, whereas now the employer seems to be reluctant in this area regarding their investment (Jiang et al., 2012). Nowadays, employers are highly focused on arranging the work, reducing the week of the work and initiating part time work with enhanced flexibility so that the organization could retain their employees for a longer time. Therefore, some employers are now doing foreseeable reduction in the staff of the organization, which is leading to an opportunity for redesigning the job roles and making the criteria of the job in such as way that simultaneously make the work life and personal life of the employees balanced. Juliet Bourke is not entirely satisfied with the reshaping of flexibility of the work. Juliet Bourke has argued that though workplace flexibility could minimize the overhead of the employees, the motive of workplace flexibility has been shifted and it is not in favor of betterment. As per Juliet Bourke, flexibility in today’s organization is all about extracting more from fewer employees and it is very different from previous paradigm.
The employer of organization may use economic crisis as the best opportunity for using work flexibility in a vicious way. The employers may reduce the time of work for some employees who are not needed at that time and put additional workload to some other employees that increases working time on those employees leading to overload of work (Alfes et al., 2013). Therefore, workplace flexibility is not ensuring win-win situation for the employees as well as employers in most cases. The intension of workplace flexibility is to benefit the people of the organization both horizontally and vertically, some organizations still need to develop sustainable solutions towards workplace flexibility and redesigning of work.
While considering downturn, a situation might happen, where demand for client could be decreased (Buller & McEvoy, 2012). Because of this downturn, the working hours for the employees might be reduced with flexible work environment and making work life balance of the employees. The prime element of this approach involves inclusive program of employee assistance and employee’s flexibility that assists in developing the adaptive, diverse and high performing workforce. These kinds of employees assist in meeting the existing and future needs of the organization. Leave options and voluntary lithe work provided by the organization may lead to reduced redundancy (Jiang et al., 2012). The organization may provide salary and wage according to the leave attended by the employees. Irrespective of strong culture in work life balance, some organizations inescapably need redundancy in workplace. However, the executive and high-level management has identified the benefit of work-life-balance strategies and thus they have explored many new ways for balancing the work life and personal life of the employees minimizing the cost of the organization as well as redundancies. On the other hand, work-life-balance is related to provide effective working ways to the employees of all types of employees in terms of part time and full time.
Frequent redundancies come in flexible working condition, natural attrition and redeployment when there is downturn in the organizations. In such cases, the employees have to stay sprightly in their working areas. In future days, the economy might pick up and the demand of the employees might be increased by increasing the urge of talent acquisition. According to Kehoe and Wright, (2013), the employees of the organization have concept that they have to work very hard in downturn situation. On the other hand, Armstrong, (2014) opined that overload in work may influence the employee engagement of the organization. This may in turn negatively affect the discretionary effort and productivity of the employees. The intension of organizations in getting more output from fewer employees may not always be effective and productive of the organization due to lack of engagement of the employees.
According to Waiganjo et al., (2012), in order for increasing the sales volume and saving the cost of the organization towards increasing the profitability, it is expected that the employees would do according to needs of the organization for acquiring the set outcome. On the other hand, Nyberg et al., (2012) opined that forcing employees to do job as per the ser ways of organization may disengaged the employees and increases the time of required for actually completing the task. Unless and until the organization brings structural efficiencies in the workplace against the redundancy program, they may restrict themselves in getting more output from fewer employees. Therefore, it can be said that workplace flexibility has been moved away from its original paradigm that is foreseeable. Advantages and disadvantages are associated with it but if this situation is properly handled by the organization it may provide effective work-life-balance to the workforce.
In order to complete the task and maintain their responsibility, employees work in different way in the organization. According to the requirement of the organization, excessive work of the organization can be categorized into different ways namely overtime, extended commute time, stretched hour per day and overtime hours. According to Al Ariss et al., (2014), excessive working hours may have negative influence on the employees and even the people associated with the employees like their family, community and employers. On the other hand, Park and Shaw, (2013) opined that long working hours have complicated connection with risk, as long working hour strongly influenced through employee control, job, non-work responsibilities and social life abnormalities. The implication of excessive working hours may lead to high level of stress, sleeplessness, limited time for families and other associated personal responsibilities. Excessive working hours may also harmfully affect the human body, disorder, exhaustion, uncomfortable and negative attitude of the employees towards their job role.
According to Pierce and Aguinis, (2013), the managers of the organizations may also be negatively affected by the excessive working hours of the employees. Due to long working hours’, attrition rate of the employees may be increased and thus, it may lead to delay in production process. When there is delay in production process, the production cost of the organization is increased and therefore, it hampers the actual profitability of the organization. On the other hand, Campbell et al., (2012) opined that the manger also negative influenced by the long working hours of the employees. Due to excessive working hour, employees do not work in the organization eagerly and do not give their best for producing high quality products. In such a situation, lethargy of employees towards their job role lead to cheap and low quality products and services produced in the organization by the employees. The community also influenced by the stunted approach of the employees towards their life in terms of medical errors, industrial mishap and automobile accidents. According to Langley et al., (2013), excessive working hours for the employees, who works for 24 hours at a stretch, may lead to decline in attention, continuous attention and alertness that results in poor diagnosis of diseases. On the other hand, Vaiman et al., (2012) opined that excessive working hours and pressure causes stress of the employees and their neck nerves to be strained due to long sitting in their working areas.
According to Purce, (2014), if the employees have to work for long hours at a stretch, it can negatively affect the health of the employees. On the other hand, Storey, (2014) opined that due to long working hours, the employees may feel demotivated in the workplace if the working hours is not compensated by incentives. In order to decrease the demotivation of the employees towards their job role, the higher authority of the organization should properly define the responsibilities of the employees and accordingly provide incentives on the accomplishment of the job. Therefore, if the employers want to make the employees for working for long hours, then the employees should be motivated well through catering their psychological matter and provided with incentives on extra works. In absence of this things, the employees may lose their effectivity and may not perform their job role efficiently through not maintaining their responsibility.
According to Jiang et al., (2012), at the time of economic downturn, employers need to facilitate suitable exploitation of resources so that none of the asset is predominantly overburdened. For example, if an organization thinks of retaining only its core employees, then it will be able to restore its financial resources. On the other hand, if an organization tries to reduce its optional expenditures then it will be able to retrain capital for compensating its human resource. This is because if an organization fails to retain its employees at the time of economic downturn, then it will surely fail to allocate best experienced candidates at the time of economic boom. On the other hand, Jiang et al., (2012) argued that for work-life balance, an organization needs to diversify its earning capabilities, so that the effect of national economic doom does not affect the revenue pattern. Therefore, it can be said that the concerned organization needs to ensure international business so that exchange rate increases the earning capability. Finally, it can be said that if an organization is able to retain its revenue at the time of economic downturn, then it will be able to maintain work-life balance.
According to Waiganjo et al., (2012), at the time of economic downturn, the unemployment rate increases, as organizations fail to pay a huge human resource. Organizations only try to retain best and experienced candidates so that amount of performance is not reduced with ineffective workers. On the other hand, Park and Shaw, (2013) pointed out that at the time of economic downturn, some multinational organizations try to ensure training and development of its existing employees so that at the time of economic boom, human resource deliver the optimum outcome. Therefore, from the argument it can be said that organizations need to train and develop its human resource at the time of economic downturn, which will in turn ensure how to maintain work-life balance. Employees will get ample training regarding how to maintain work pressure, which will help the organization to retain such human resource during economic boom.
According to Nyberg et al., (2014), the main focus for the employers at the time of economic downturn must be employee retention. For such motive, employers need to ensure effective working hours, flexible shift timing and allowance for work-from-home. Campbell et al., (2012) added that employers need not to ensure monetary recognition or financial benefits, but rather needs to give flexibility to its employees. Armstrong, (2014) pointed out that work-life balance at the time economic doom certainly leads to negative business impact, but if the business units are increased, then the amount of collective revenue will remain unaltered. This will lead to work-life balance. Therefore, from the views of the authors it can be said that employers need to entertain employees by good relationship, flexible working hours and special shift timing. It has been quite sure that the most important factor that conceives employers at the time of economic doom is finance. Therefore, if the organizations are able to reduce the financial benefits and focus on work-file balance by flexibility, then it will surely able to retain enormous employees.
While concluding the study, it can be said that in today’s organization, the time and hours of the employees is changing and this quick changes requires flexibility in the work environment for ensuring customer expectation through better product and service produced by the employees. In order to meet the business requirement, individual expectation of the employees should also be met through providing better work life balance. However, it has been found that some organizations are not providing better work-life-balance to the employees and making the employees work for excessive hours. Excessive working hours may have harmful effect on the health and personal life of the employees. Long working hours of employees may also negatively influence the employees through getting cheap and low quality products and service produced by the employees. In case of economic downturn of the organization, the managers of the organization should properly utilize human resources and consider the grievances of the employees so that effective and efficient productivity of the employees is maintained.
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