Work Life Balance

Work Life Balance (WLB) &
                  Time-use Analysis

 According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary 2017, work can be defined as-

§  An activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something;
§  A sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result;
§  The labor, task, or duty that is one's accustomed means of livelihood
§  A specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity;

If we try to summarize all these definitions of work, it may be defined as the task which is essential for living. If some one is not working, he or she might be sick or have a disability or are simply not alive. Work can be physical or mental. Work is anything you do that is not leisure. Work can be paid or unpaid labor. The opportunity to earn a living for yourself/family. We put our professional abilities or opinions to use to benefit a firm/business’s daily operations or profitability. Work also gives you the ability to enjoy the finer things in life (hobbies, travel and/or interests).

The work can be defined into two categories, one being domestic work such as household chores, cleaning, gardening and so on for one’s own pleasure. The other definition of work to me is society’s view of working for a wage. The idea of employment and having citizens work not only from pleasure but for an incentive. For instance, the work I do at home like cleaning the house or gardening outside in the backyard is for my own pleasure, compared to the work I do for the public that may be for labour or community service.
Therefore, work is significant in life and makes you active. Now. If we consider the evolution of working time and how it evolved during the course of time, we should relate the analogy of work from the hunter gatherers to the workers of the Industrial Revolution.
Hunter-gatherer societies worked very few hours compared to modern industrial and agrarian societies (i.e. 6-8 hours of work per week compared to 40+ now).
            The current paper will rely on the qualitative work of gathering material from the sources obtained from the journal articles, books, and articles from magazines. The work-leisure dichotomy was invented in the mid-1800s. Paul Krassneer remarked that anthropologists use a definition of happiness that is to have as little separation as possible "between your work and your play". The expression "work–life balance" was first used in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s to describe the balance between an individual's work and personal life. In the United States, this phrase was first used in 1986.
Most recently, there has been a shift in the workplace as a result of advances in technology.  Employees have many methods, such as emails, computers, and cell phones, which enable them to accomplish their work beyond the physical boundaries of their office. Researchers have found that employees who consider their work roles to be an important component of their identities will be more likely to apply these communication technologies to work while in their non-work domain.
Many authors believe that parents being affected by work-life conflict will either reduce the number of hour’s one works where other authors suggest that a parent may run away from family life or work more hours at a workplace. This implies that each individual views work-life conflict differently.

What is Work Life Balance?
Work-life balance is about effectively managing the juggling act between paid work and the other activities that are important to people. It's not about saying that work is wrong or bad, but that work shouldn't completely crowd out the other things that matter to people like time with family, participation in community activities, voluntary work, personal development, leisure and recreation.
The 'right' balance is a very personal thing and will change for each person at different times of his or her lives. For some people the issue is being able to get into work or find more work rather than having too much work. There is no 'one size fits all' solution.
A balanced life is one where we spread our energy and effort - emotional, intellectual, imaginative, spiritual and physical – between key areas of importance. The neglect of one or more areas, or anchor points, may threaten the vitality of the whole.
What is the Main Issue?
 Work-life balance is increasingly an issue for any country. Jobs, the workplace and the workforce are changing as:
Ø  More women and sole parents go into work.
Ø  More people juggle more than one job.
Ø  The workforce ages and is increasingly diverse.
Ø  Businesses continue to compete globally to hire skilled workers.
Ø  Technology changes the way we work - e.g. cell phones and PCs blur the distinction between work and personal time.

For any country, the two biggest work-life balance problems are:
ü  People with not enough work or income
ü  People who have too much work: the low paid who need to work long hours to earn enough and the higher paid who may feel trapped into working more hours than they want to.

Through the consultation, employers told that they wanted to address work-life balance issues in their workplaces, and that they wanted practical tools to implement work-life balance initiatives. Workers, families, and individuals told us that the key issues for them in achieving work-life balance concerned their caring responsibilities, workplace practices and cultures, and the need to earn sufficient income.

Drivers for change
Work-life balance has become increasingly important for a number of social and economic reasons that are making:
Ø  organizations think about how they work
Ø  Government think about how people balance paid and unpaid work and care
Ø  Individuals think about the role work has and will have at different stages of their lives.
Broadly, this shift is influenced by changes to markets, ways of working, the labour market and expectations of work. In the public sector, these drivers mean:
Ø  Pressures to increase efficiencies while at the same time responding to the demands of service users, creating more flexible and responsive public services.
Ø  That there is a need to understand better and respond to customer requirements in a population that is becoming older and more ethnically diverse. Therefore, people who possess these skills and relationships are crucial to helping organizations understand new customer segments, promote creativity and cope with increasingly complex business models.

Effects of WLB
The case for work-life balance tends to be made on two counts.
v  First, that work-life balance improves individuals’ health, wellbeing and job satisfaction.
v  Second, that business can benefit from work-life balance because these policies:
Ø  improve productivity and worker commitment
Ø  reduce sickness absence
Ø  increase retention rates for talented workers and reduce replacement costs
Ø  allow organizations to recruit from a wider pool of talent
Ø  Enable organizations to offer services beyond usual business hours by employing workers on different shifts that fit in with caring responsibilities.


Ø  Work Life Balance Business Benefits.
Ø  Not constant, comes and goes with life changes
Ø  It takes WORK
Ø  The process of seeking balance can be deeply rewarding

Work Life Balance benefits as
Ø  Attracts new employees
Ø  Helps to retain staff
Ø  Builds diversity in skills and personnel
Ø  Improves morale
Ø  Reduces sickness and absenteeism
Ø  Enhances working relationships between colleagues
Ø  Encourages employees to show more initiative and teamwork
Ø  Increases levels of production and satisfaction
Ø  Decreases stress and burnout

Some reasons for WLB
A review of public holidays and paid holidays across a sample of countries, including Australia, China, France, Germany, Singapore, the US and the UK shows that India is actually quite comparable in terms of the number of days of vacation and holidays provided by law and general practice. It would, therefore, be fair to assume that the intent of law as well as the espoused values of organizations seems to be in favor of providing a fair amount of leisure and balance. Whether it has translated into reality is another matter.
Ø  Gender Concerns
Ø  Young Generation
Ø  Identity Through Work

 Gender concerns

Similar discrimination is experienced by men who take time off or reduce working hours for taking care of the family.
For many employees today—both male and female—their lives are becoming more consumed with a host of family and other personal responsibilities and interests. Therefore, in an effort to retain employees, it is increasingly important for organizations to recognize this balance.

Young generation

Per Kathleen Gerson, Sociologist, young people "are searching for new ways to define care that do not force them to choose between spending time with their children and earning an income" and " are looking for definition of personal identity that do not pit their own development against creating committed ties to others readily. Young adults believe that parents should get involved and support the children both economically and emotionally, as well as share labor equally. Young people do not believe work-life balance is possible and think it is dangerous to build a life dependent on another when relationships are unpredictable. They are looking for partners to share the house work and family work together. Men and women believe that women should have jobs before considering marriage, for better life and to be happy in marriage. Young people do not think their mother’s generations were unhappy. They also do not think they were powerless because they were economically dependent.

Sometimes these identities align and sometimes they do not. When identities are in conflict, the sense of a healthy work-life balance may be affected. Organization members must perform identity work so that they align themselves with the area in which they are performing to avoid conflict and any stress.

A study of the Employment Standards in Ontario
These are the general rules in Ontario about hours of work and overtime pay. There are exceptions and special rules for some employees under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). To see if your occupation is subject to special rules or exemptions see the Special Rule Tool.
Your employer cannot intimidate you, fire you, suspend you, reduce your pay, punish you in any way or threaten any of these actions for exercising your ESA rights.

Hours of work
The maximum daily and weekly limits on hours of work are:
§  8 hours a day (or the number of hours in your regular work day, if it is more than 8).
§  48 hours a week.

Rest periods and eating periods

§  Your employer must give you at least:
§  11 consecutive hours off work each day (a “day” is a 24-hour period – it does not have to be a calendar day);
§  8 hours off work between shifts (unless the total time worked on the shifts is 13 hours or less, or you and your employer have otherwise agreed in writing); and
§  24 consecutive hours off work each work week (or 48 consecutive hours off every two work weeks).
§  You must also get a 30-minute eating period after no more than five hours of work. You can agree with your employer to split this eating period into two shorter breaks.

Overtime pay
For every hour you work over 44 hours a week, your employer must pay you at least 1½ times your regular rate of pay (“time and a half”).
§  Excess hours of work and overtime averaging.
§  You do not have to but if you choose to, you can agree with your employer in writing to.
§  Work more than 8 hours a day (or the number of hours in your regular work day, if it is more than 8).
§  Average the hours you work over periods of two or more weeks to calculate overtime pay.
§  You can cancel an agreement to work excess daily or weekly hours by giving your employer two weeks’ written notice. Your employer can also cancel an agreement by giving you reasonable notice.
§  Overtime averaging agreements must have an expiry date and cannot be cancelled unless both you and your employer agree.
§  Generally, if you are represented by a union your union would make agreements with your employer on your behalf.

Now the question is, do you think a shorter work week is good for workers and businesses?
A top public health doctor recently said that long working hours was a big cause of mental ill health, and a big 2015 study linked long working hours with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
Less time at work would mean more time to care for children and family, be a school governor, look in on elderly neighbors, or organize a game of football. It would mean more time to create the community spider web of connections and favors and reciprocation that keeps the world going round.

Annotated Bibliography
Binnewies, C. (2016). Current perspectives on work–life balance: Moving toward a resource-oriented framework. Zeitschrift Für Psychologie/Journal of Psychology, 224(1), 1-2. 

            The current source is useful in time analysis project because it highlights the identity through work processes. According to Binnewies (2016) by working in an organization, employees identify, to some extent, with the organization, as part of a collective group. Organizational values, norms and interests become incorporated in the self-concept as employees increase their identify with the organization. However, employees also identify with their outside roles, or their "true self". Examples of these might be parental/caretaker roles, identifications with certain groups, religious affiliations, align with certain values and morals, mass media etc. Most employees identify with not only the organization, but also other facets of their life (family, children, religion).


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