Work-life balance is something people have struggled with for a long time. So why has it become a bigger deal in recent years? With time being such a valuable resource, everyone wants to spend it where it really matters. Therefore, depending on where your priorities lie, good work-life balance seems to be directly related. And with modern technology improvements, people can take advantage of its uses when working with employment. When we think options for a good work-life balance, we may think of telecommuting, flexible schedules, and family-related comp time. We are now in an era where working at home is not unheard of. So as an employer, what are the benefits and drawbacks of having employees who have more freedom with when and where they do their work?
The most valuable employee is a happy employee; in other words, an employee who works a job that allows them to have a work-life balance. For many people working is vital in order to survive, however, there is such thing as working in an unhealthy environment/situation as well as focusing too much on work. Studies show that the health and well-being of employees are typically in better condition when they have control over their workday. Working extremely long hours, having a heavy/tedious workload or something as simple as conflict within the workplace is a common cause of work-related stress, which can increase the risk of health problems such as anxiety and depression. According to Forbes, “maintaining a work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace. Chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace. It can lead to physical consequences such as hypertension, digestive troubles, chronic aches and pains, and heart problems. Chronic stress can also negatively impact mental health because it’s linked to a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and insomnia” (Forbes – The Evolving Definition of Work-Life Balance). Whether it’s taking breaks periodically to stretch/walk for exercise, having a healthy work-life balance is essential to one’s well-being. By creating a work environment that prioritizes work-life balance, employers can save money and maintain a healthier, more productive workforce.
CONS of work-life balance Ix. Opportunity CostImplementing a work-life balance structure within a workplace can be very costly and time-consuming. Researching and developing Human Resource approaches headed by experts in the field are the ones capable and able to execute if need be. These experts are not easy to come by but are crucial to the point of satisfying your employee needs. Employers must take the time to analyze their employees and try their best to relate to the staff to get a true understanding of the best solutions that are applicable to the goal of implementing a successful work-life balance initiative. Xi. GeneralizationMany of the disadvantages that derived from implementing a work-life balance culture within a workplace come from generalizations by management who head these roll-outs. It is safe to say not every employee will be exactly like one another. An article on Time Magazine’s website states “Millennials have now surpassed Generation X to become the largest generation in the American workforce, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.” to some, the first reaction to a quote as such would assume the main concern would be to look after the millennial generation, but their portion to the pie is only 35%. Employers should be able to immediately pick up the fact that there is another 65% of the workforce to be concerned about. With that said, there are many individuals who tend to thrive in office settings and do not require as much attention to the matters of work-life balance. Generalization of everyone being on board can create some sort of tension between colleagues who do not share the same ideas, for example when it comes to relaxed rules on working from home or following “flexible time-off” schedules. Xii.
Out of any other reason, there is to think a work-life balance initiative would not fit in with a workplace culture would be the potential harm done to top management who have the power to execute. Businesses will always run the risk of those select few who take advantage of the system and ruin the possibilities of such wonderful decisions made by management such as a work-life balance culture. The key here is to realize the overarching goal and bigger picture at stake. When the select few who disregard boundaries set forth by management, it is in the best interests of operations to keep steady ahead and not let the minority discourage from further developments of Human Resource success.
The generation of Millenials is going through a tough time. The previous generations thought of education as a birthright, some saw it as a path towards a bright future. However, for the Millenials, education is both a birthright and a path towards a good future, but it is also a huge expense. Moreover, the competition has increased. There are lesser jobs but more job expectations. The summary of statistical data concludes that previous generations did not ask for perks at work. They would think of work as their duty. However, the current generation puts their life before their work. Family time has become the first priority. This has made organizations work hard to persuade the youngsters into working for them. For these purposes, institutions arrange perks such as putting beanbags and giving away free coffee. This is still not enough as Millenials ask for a work-life balance. This has put HR at a difficult point; technological advancements, increase in customer expectations, globalization etc. The HR is trying now to improve employee engagement, enhancing performances at both collective and individual levels, attracting talent etc.
As a team, we have concluded that as more Millennials enter the workforce work-life balance is a trend that will continue to grow and take on a new meaning. The approach and level of knowledge regarding the rather new trend of “Work-life balance” have increasingly grown over time and as we speak it continues to evolve. Before setting in place a “one size fits all” approach, we should ask questions such as the type of employees we are dealing with. In our workforce, we currently have several groups of employees which include Baby boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Each of these groups came from very different time periods and deserve to be handled on a case-by-case basis. Perhaps Baby Boomers rather more vacation time to spend with their families as they are readying themselves for retirement. On the other hand, an appropriate approach to handling Millennial work-life-balance may prompt you to think in terms of “lifestyle” for these employees.
According to an article found on Forbes regarding the debacle of work-life-balance trends and the appropriate approaches for HR purposes, they go on to state, “To satisfy the assumed desires of millennial employees, many employers overcompensate by adding game rooms and beanbags to spruce up the work environment.” Being young and vibrant professionals and speaking as a Millennial, we tend to worry about our lives outside of work quite frequently and the sacrifices at hand when taking on a big career move. “Will I be able to continue my annual backpacking tour in the summers” or “will I have time to volunteer and continue to give back to my community” are all questions that are relevant and important to the approach of work-life balance for the Millennial workforce.Previous generations did not ask for perks at work. They would think of work as their duty. However, the current generation puts their life before their work. Family time has become the first priority. This has made organizations work hard to persuade the youngsters into working for them. For these purposes, institutions arrange perks such as putting beanbags and giving away free coffee. This is still not enough as Millennials ask for a work-life balance. This has put HR at a difficult point; technological advancements, increase in customer expectations, and globalization. Creating an environment that promotes work-life balance can seem like a challenge for many employers. This is why companies are now trying to improve employee engagement, enhancing performances at both collective and individual levels, and also attracting talent. When employers offer a flexible work environment for their employees of any generations they can start to satisfy the need for a work-life balance.
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