Factors Determining Work-Life Balance

The main objective of study was to know that what Factors determine the work life balance and what causes may be hurdle in work life balance practices in pharmaceutical sector in Pakistani culture. The questionnaire technique was used in conducting for this study. The results show that high rate of absenteeism cause work life unbalance and time management practice leads to work life balance activities. Furthermore, the study shows that demographic variables for employees play an important role for work life balance.
Key Words: work-life-balance/”>Work-life balance, Absenteeism, Time Management, Human Resource.
Decenzo, Robbins & Verhulst have written (2008) that Human Resource is the most important resource for organizations irrespective of; they are commercial or non-commercial organizations. This is because the organizations having a lot of buildings and latest equipment, cannot achieve their goals without well talented human resources.
Nowadays in global perspective, organizations compete with each other. They try to get such advantages which cannot be attained and achieved easily by other organizations. In order to get some competitive advantages, they use different techniques and try to satisfy their employees.
Eikhof, Warhurst & Haunschild have studied (2007) that organizations need to maintain competent and satisfied workers to achieve their goals. Work Life Balance (WLB) plays important role in employee’s performance. In these days, it is considered as an important and hot Issue which is explained in meetings and conferences whether these are conducted by governments, practitioners and academic forums is work life balance. In order to get competitive advantages, the talented, well happy and satisfied employees are needed to the organizations. They satisfy their employees to provide different facilities. But nowadays work-life balance system is being practiced to satisfy their employees. Gregory & Milner (2009) say that the Work life Balance is an important for employees. That is why the representative (Unions) of employees demands for such policies which maintain the work life balance for employees.

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It has been discussed that work-life balance influences employees’ performance and their satisfaction level. During of making policies for employees in developed countries, the work life balance is being paid specific attention (Gregory & Milner, 2009). Scholarios & Marks (2004) have studied that work life unbalance is considered as most important issue which has impact on the employees performance. Managing and maintaining work life balance increases employee’s performance and satisfaction.
There has been choosing only two factors time management and absenteeism to examine the factors that influences work life balance. There may be other factors. For example, Worker easiness, satisfaction etc. This is because that I have observed my roommates doing in pharmaceutical company. They were in trouble due to work life unbalance. They told these factors. That is why I chose only these two factors.
The objective of study is to explore that the work efficiency, absenteeism and time management can be made determinant factors for work life balance or not? This study will provide solutions to these problems which are created by not to be work life balance.
There are three dependent and independent variables. Dependent variable is Work- Life Balance. Independent variables are Absenteeism and Time Management.
Literature Review
Work Life Balance
According to Redmond, Valiulis & Eileen Drew (2006) the work-life balance it may be different for different persons. The term used in the literature to refer to policies that attempts to achieve a greater complementarily and balance between work and home responsibilities. Beauregard & Henry (2009) stated that numerous organizations are paying significant attention to provide work-life balance practices to facilitate their employees. Having work-life balance practices, they are attracting worker to themselves and are enhancing their employees’ performance.
Promotion and improvement of work-life balance is the most hot issue which is presently being debated among governmental departments and all other persons and departments which have concerns to the employees (Fleetwood, 2007). White, Hill, McGovern, Mills, & Smeaton, D (2003) have studied that Politicians and policymakers are exploring solutions. There are some new concepts which are related to employees, are emerging all over the world. One most new of them is Work-Life Balance.
Greenblatt (2002) has studied that Achieving and maintaining employees work life balance has become a strategic part of many organizations. In perspective of global competition for personnel, some industries have attracted talented human resources to provide them the facility of work life balance. Attracting them, the industries are getting competitive advantages to compete their competitors (Greenblatt, 2002).
There is a thing in which employer support influence on which it is out of work activities and responsibilities. The employer support influences the extent to which graduates can’t balance between home and work. Due to unbalance between them, the graduates face conflict between home and work. It shows two things: positive and negative. (Struges & Guest, 2004).
Employees as well as the managers demand solutions to solve problems that create due to work-life unbalance practice. As a result, the work- life- balance has considered as a worldly serious topic in government and corporate meetings as well conferences. In next decades, work-life-balance would become the most debatable topic which will be managing by executives and human resources professionals (Bird, 2006). There are much discussion about work-life balance and family-friendly employment used to conduct among politicians and businessmen. Some workers do their work at home. Doing working at home, usually is not considered as an included within such these practices (Felstead, Jewson, Phizacklea & Walters, 2002).It has been studied that work-life balance’ practices have significant impact to improve their’ job satisfaction level both for male and female. Due to having doubt in high level job satisfaction for gender gap, they don’t want to explain it. These practices cause the getting benefits which increase the worker’s satisfaction level regarding to basic and salary perspective. There are several policies and rules and regulations by which the use of work-life balance practices are encouraged (Asadullah & Fernandez, 2008).
The most important issue is Work life balance. The organizations recognize this issue as a most important part of their strategy. The employees also consider it as a most important thing for themselves (Guest, 2002). The employer has an own view is that work-life balance makes people happy with their job. The employees are satisfied with it. Due to having work-life balance practice in organizations, they do their work and responsibilities very well. Using work-life balance, the employer can have support in recruiting and retaining of its staff. Work-life balance practices have m any benefits both for employers and employees (Manfredi & Holliday 2004).
It has been discussed, the organizations are urged to follow completely rules and regulations that are lay down from code of Corporate Social Responsibility. This concept of CSR considers it as a most important factor. Now organizations understand that WLB can have a most important role in enhancing employee’s performance and satisfaction. They can observe and then compare to previous figures the benefits of this practice, if the employers have practices of work-life balance (Welford, 2008).
Traditionally definition of absence is ‘non-appearance for scheduled work’. It means not to be physically an employee in the workplace. Due to do working in virtual offices, the appropriate meaning of absence has become changed and has become difficult to understand absence (Kristensen et al., 2006). There are many factors which increase the expenses of establishment. One of them is absence with team production. The absence rate can be reduces through additional monitoring. But it is too much expensive. And it results in lower absence rate (Heywood & Jirjahn, 2004).
In spite of notifications from organizations to the employees due to be absence, the workers are not paying attention to minimize their absenteeism (Vardi & Wiener, 1996). It has been discussed that increasing rate of absenteeism is a big problem not only in United State but also throughout the world. Making absence from class, the students miss a lot of instructions and learning materials which are delivered from their respected teachers. Figures show that absenteeism can cause the students truancy which leads later students to the young crime and law-breaking (Yepern & Hagedoorn, 1996). Until few years, a lot number of economists not used to consider absenteeism as an important issue. But nowadays it has become as an important issue and it almost is discussed in every conference conducting on labors related problems (Frick & Malo, 2008). Due to increasing rate of work absence in work place in many European states, the owner’s attention are attracting to this issue. In developed countries, the maximum employees are protected by insurance companies and laws (Broström, Johansson & Palme, 2004).
The greatest factor among blue-collar employee which creates a trouble in the assembly lines is absenteeism. It has a negative impact on value and operation’s expenses (Mateo, 2008). It may be nature that worker demand some days of vacations. But the entrepreneur influences the vacations of worker. He can make more costly to take leaves for workers or he can make workers ‘schedule very tight (Jaarsveld & Yanadori, 2011).
Lishchinsky & Rosenblatt (2009) have taken results that there are four moral ideas. These are helpful climate, proper environment, inclination to behave badly and technical fairness. Helpful environment is related to absence period and others are related to absence frequency. Due to demand of absence policy from employees, the employees absence policies and procedures are being developed. They may make getting absenteeism easier for employees and may make most benefits for them (Dalton & Perry, 1981). If absenteeism increase in high level in short term, it will lead to decreasing of employees’ performance in long term (Harrison, 1998). absenteeism leads to decreased performance in the
Time Management
Time management involves the process of determining needs, setting goals to achieve these needs, prioritizing and planning tasks required to achieve these goals (Lakein 1973).
Claessens, Eerde, Rutte & Roe (2005) stated that the importance of practice of time management is growing. Time management training is being conducted in competing organizations. Vasiliadou, Derri, Galanis & Emmanouilidou (2009) have written that the usage of schedules and guidelines and the application of time and instruments play a most important role to increase the usage of session time.
Organizations must have more interest in time because of it is a scarce resource and it involves the various resources of the Organization, if time wasn’t managed, nothing else will be managed. And a good management of time is useful in providing the resources and the costs of the Organization (Alsarayreh , 2012). Time management is a good technique to check up more patients in less available time. This technique can be used by using centralized Data Stream Management System DSMS(Srivastava & Widom ,2004).
It has been studied that teachers ‘abilities can be improved if different kind of time management trainings are provided to teachers. Studying in parallel manner affects the student’s ability and achieves. It would lead in more complete conclusions. He effect of the program on student achievement or on teacher (Vasiliadou, Derri, Galanis & Emmanouilidiou , 2009). Clinical physicians are facing some major issues in today’s wellbeing care atmosphere. One of them is lack of time management practice. Due to lack of time management practice, cost of some activities is increasing gradually (Kleshinski, Dunn & Kleshinski, 2010).
Time management, and its impact on performance and achievement, has been researched extensively over the last few decades. Many people believe that time management is the key to success in academics, business and many other aspects of life. However, previous research on time management has not produced consistent findings as to whether or not time management is imperative to academic success (Time Management).
The use and understanding of time-based structures is an important component for good individual time management. Four properties of individual time management include planning, meeting deadlines, sensing a lack of time control and engaging in procrastination. Scott (2011).
Anand (2007) 26 urged that if employees are skillful at a beginning stage then time management designs are implanted in them and they remain during their workplace lives.
This study was conducted in pharmaceutical sector. That is why the population of this study is the worker of vision pharmaceutical company.
The questions used in this study were an adaptation from different articles. Questions of work life balance used in desertion of Chaney (2007) which is written to fulfill the requirement for the degree of doctor of Education… Alpha thornback reliability is 0.78. Questions of time management were used in thesis of Vander hall (1995) which was submitted in partial fulfillment of the re quitrent for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Alpha thornback reliability was 0.7.
Absenteeism questions were used by Lishchinsky and Risenblatt (2008). Cronbach’s Alpha Reliability is 0.75.
In order to make this study, 150 questionnaires were floated in vision pharmaceutical company. 113 filled questionnaires are understood reasonable to make this study.
A questionnaire which is used in this study consists of purpose of this study. There are two part in questioners. First consists of demographics: gender, age, education, marital status, family size and income level. In this part likert scale was used.
Second part consists of 24 objects to measure Work-life balance, Absenteeism and Time Management. 5 items were used to measure Work-Life Balance, 11 were used to measure Absenteeism and 8 for Time Management. All the items were supported with 5 point Liker scale ranging from 1. Strongly Disagree to 5. Strongly Agree. Cranach’s Alpha values of each variable are mentioned in table.
Theoretical framework
Work-Life Balance
Independent Variable
Time management
Dependent Variable
In order to check the relationship between the independent and dependent variables, two hypotheses were developed.
H1: Workers’ high rate of absence causes work-life unbalance.
H2: Time management practice will lead to work-life balance.
Data Analysis
Demographical analysis shows that out of sample of 113, 85 are men and 18 are women. Due to women’s lack interest to do job in Pakistani culture; women’s length is less than men. Most of them are between 36-45 years old. Most of them are those who got Intermediate education. There are two specific questions that were used in questionnaire. These questions have most impact on work life balance. These are about marital status and monthly income.
Descriptive statistics is used to determine the main features of the collected data in quantitative terms. It is used to examine the central tendency of the data in terms of mean, median, mode and standard deviation. All the items used in the instrument (questionnaire), were based on 5-point Liker scale therefore, the mean values greater than 3.00 for all the three variables. (Work life balance, Absenteeism and Time Management are showing the significant positive trend. The correlation analysis is used to find out the strength of the relationship between several variables.
Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
The regression analysis is used to determine the dependence of Work life balance upon the
Independent variables i.e. Absenteeism and Time Management. The results showed that up to 0.49 of the variation in criterion variable (Work life balance) is explained by two of the predicting variables i.e. Absenteeism and Time Management. The values of coefficients of coefficients were found as 0.352 for absenteeism and 0.398 for time management. Hence, the results found that adjusted R Square of absenteeism is 0.116 and of time management is 0.151.
Discussions and Findings
Work life balance is a most important among employees. This is because that lack of work life balance practice causes the employees’ satisfaction. The main motive of this study was to check that what factors can determine the work life balance. Results show that all the selected elements affect the work life balance.
The results of this study of employees of pharmaceutical company shows that if the employee’s absenteeism rate is less in company, work life balance can be achieved here. Time management practices determine the work life balance.
Descriptive results shed light on the positive trend of each of the variables selected for the study.
Time management also plays a major role. If a time management is being practiced in company, work life balance can be achieved here. Pharmaceutical sector is the most important sector in which time management practice can provide work life balance for employees. The research study has shown that most of the time management practitioners are influenced.
Time management and Absenteeism are found having positive relationship. This study also validates this notion as if there is less absenteeism rate in company; work life balance can be attained in this company.
The research study has shown that independent variables that are Absenteeism and Time Management play a very important role in getting work life balance practices. Each independent variable influences dependent variable in this study. The human resources are the most important and most valuable assets in each and every organization. That is why the organizations want, try and struggle very well to make their workers satisfied. Satisfied employees would be able to make long term profitable relationship with company.
This study was conducted to determine the factors that influence and have impact on work life balance. There are many factors available in this field that can be chose for this study. But only two factors were taken for this study. Due to having observation regarding to these two factors. The results show significant relation among independent and dependent variables. Time management has a positive and significant relation to work life balance. It means that if time management practices were being practiced in organization, then their employees can have work life balance practices. This practice will lead to enhance organization’s performance. Similarly second independent variable is time management. It has positive impact on work life balance. It means that if absenteeism rate is high, it will lead to work life unbalance. It will create troubleness among employees’ work life balance.
There is significant effect of absenteeism on work life balance. If there is high absenteeism rate in organizations, it will cause work life unbalance. The employees cannot manage their work life balance activities.

The concept of Work-Life Balance

The concept of Work Life Balance has always existed, it just wasn’t until recently that experts put a name to it. Employment has been traditionally thought of the means to which you support your personal life, with Work Life Balance principles employers can now gain competitive advantage from creating a more symbiotic relationship with a persons home and work. This allows for lower stress in the work place and greater enjoyment in the home. The results of this are increased performance in the work place and great repertoire for marketing to new employers. As this is difficult to establish in any industry and this is very true with recruitment agencies. The following is breakdown of the Work Life Balance principles along with a company analysis of the Irish Recruitment company CPL.
Work Life Balance
The major concept of Work Life Balance in employment is that the employer gives the employee the ability to handle their responsibilities in and out of work while generating self worth. This can be done by a multitude of ways:
Although hard in many industries the company’s structure should enable an employee to work flexible times so that they can satisfy their out of work obligations. This can include anything from leaving early to pick up their children from school to being allowed to work via the Internet when the employee is required to handle home problems like construction work. The requirement of this is simple as the balance of work and life is not something that you can attach an actual number to. Certain weeks your personal life will require more time and other weeks your professional life will need a greater investment, with flexibility in the work place and home you can ensure neither will be neglected.              
As this is a balance between life and work an employee must have the ability to succeed in their profession. The employee needs to be able to succeed in and out of work to achieve this. The structure of the person’s professional life needs to allow for progression in accordance to performance. Through this the person can truly shape their own destiny generating self worth and in conjunction with other work life balance concepts they will be able achieve in home life as well.
There are many employees who can be happy in any situation as long as they view it accordingly. Enjoying life is something that everyone can do and is integral to the work life balance. A person must be able to work in a setting that they can not only achieve but also enjoy their success. Tied in with the concept of flexibility a person needs to understand that in order to do well in work you need to be enjoying work and life. A happy person will be able to perform better through increased energy and drive which helps the organization maintain their competitive advantage.

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“Conceptually the idea of Work Life Balance seems relatively simple. If you can maintain flexibility, achieve well and enjoy life you can add value to your life” (Holden and Renshaw, 2004, pg 91). This system gets complicated as employers try to help everyone who has similar responsibilities outside of work which creates a strain on the whole performance. The balance itself is there to support the employees so that they support the firm, symbiotic relationships like this are always fragile from their codependence and true balance is near impossible to maintain in certain industries. Recruitment is one of those hard industries.
The main advantage occurring from Work Life Balance policies in an organization is the improved performance from your employees. It has been proven that an employee who has the flexibility in their job to handle their personal lives will produce the following:
1. Higher quality work2. Less missed time3. More employer loyalty4. An overall more enjoyable workplace as all employees are achieving and enjoying5. More innovative ideas as employees care about their job6. Strong recruitment marketing for future employees which increase the talent pool
This all results in a greater competitive advantage for the firm which will enable them to reach their own goals (Holden and Renshaw, 2004).
Irish Recruitment Industry
Ireland’s economy is booming but is also in close proximity to the powerful pound of the UK. This has resulted in a very cutthroat recruitment industry where people vie for coveted positions. The result of this has been a large hindrance for employees ability to manage their Work Life balance. Several forces are the result of this trend.
Company example- CPL
Background Information
CPL was founded in 1989 to capitalize on the strengthening information technology industry in Ireland. The founded, Anne Heraty worked as a self employed recruiter until she managed to gain enough clients to hire more and expand. The company went public in 1999 for added investor support to promote their current expansion trends. From there the company has grown to employing over 2,750 temporary staff at any one point and being the largest recruitment company in Ireland.
Current actions to promote work life balance
Educational Policy
Promoting greater opportunities within the work place, CPL has used a very flexible educational policy to promote a work life balance. Within their scheme they are willing to pay for an employees education as long as it is something that will benefit the firm. On top of this any employee currently studying receives five extra days of holiday on top of their regular annual leave to further encourage self improvement.  Being an employee with them means that you are entitled to any number of their educational schemes including:
1. Conflict Management- where they learn about how to deal with problems with other employees, clients or suppliers2. 5 minute manager- learn general management skills3. Business strategy- learn basic competitive strategy principles4. Any education- any external education can be funded by CPL and given the extra holiday time.
Leave Policies
CPL strives to ensure that large leave requirements are handled as fairly as possible. They are ranked in the top 25 companies in Ireland to work for and one of their main strengths is the benefits they give their employees for certain personal life requirements. This includes paid leave for pregnancy, marriage, family tragedy, illness. Along with this they also give guaranteed job placement after these leaves should the employees return as added incentive.
Personal Performance
Recruiters work under a single company name but the main bulk of their wages is dependent on personal performance. A recruiter normally is required to establish new clients for the firm and they are paid in accordance to the amount of employees they place. Within this the recruiters all have their own team of temporary employees in which they find work for from the client field. Being paid in accordance to these principles makes it very difficult for employees to operate within a Work Life Balance as they are required to work longer hours to earn more money as well as constantly recruit new talent to further their goals. Flexible hours in this situation are near impossible to do as CPL expects their recruiters to perform for the client as well as any time taken off directly affects your wages.
This is slightly different for the placed temporary employees but they still are required to perform exceptionally well in each job they take to ensure that they will be given another. The jobs they take are normally to cover someone who needed leave for personal responsibilities or to handle increased work load, either one the employers expect the worker to fill in the gaps and take little to no time off for themselves.
Personal performance standards do not just hurt the required working hours for the employee but also takes away from the job enjoyment. Trying to find new clients can sometimes place the recruiters into direct competition with each other that increases the overall stress in the work place.
This leaves room for professional achievement but little for personal enjoyment which is detrimental to the balance.
Client Orientated hours- Not work load orientated
The recruiters and temporary workers both are required to adhere to the volume of jobs available instead of a standard work load. CPL employees do not know when the demand for their services will increase or decrease and neither does CPL management, what this ends in is you are required to work around your client’s needs. Working around the needs of your client disables your ability to take flexible hours for your self as if CPL cannot handle the clients needs when they need it then they will just go to the next recruiter. Not having a standard amount of work to complete in the course of the day automatically hinders the employees Work Life Balance. Having low volume of work does not mean that the employee can take time off for personal reasons as that may not be required at the time. For a person to establish work life balance they need to have both flexible.
Cutthroat industry standards
The recruitment industry is extremely competitive as they all strive for the same competitive advantages. The cost of the temp employees is dictate by the job not by the standard at which the temp agency operates. That means all recruiters are trying to operate on the highest quality to ensure they maintain high volume performance. Having an entire industry based around this means everyone needs to be fighting for their own positions or they will lose contractors and clients. Recruiters are expected to work those extra hours in order to produce results and increase client relationships for future work. CPL is an industry leader in Ireland for these reasons which once again gives strong opportunities for employees to achieve and enjoy their professional life but difficult for the flexibility requirement in their personal life.
Volume orientated performance
A recruiter is paid based on the amount of employees they place in jobs. The nature of this payment means right away that in order to succeed the recruiter will be required to sacrifice more time. Work Life Balance in this situation cannot exist as for the employee to achieve and enjoy one, they must sacrifice the other.
End Result
Work Life Balance in the recruitment industry is near impossible to maintain. Employees are required to work around the requirements of the clients instead of what is set forth by the company. On top of this employees also are paid in accordance to the volume of service they provide with a requirement to continue to produce high quality. This results in a system which requires the employees to achieve only within the company and is forced to constantly be on call for client requirements. This makes it very difficult for employees to establish a solid Work Life Balance as all their professional achievement is based on catering to the job first.
Remote Working
As recruiters are basically operating as small businesses on their own within CPL, they should have the option of working from home if required. Company calling cards and remote internet access will allow the recruiter to stay in touch with clients and employees at all times to handle any problems should they arise. Although this should not be the norm, it will allow for employees to establish a more balance life outside of work so that they can lower stress and perform better within the job.
Client Contacts
As the normal case for recruitment agencies is that each recruiter has their own contractor squad and own set of repeat clients it would be very effective to the Work Life Balance for recruiters to stop working on a personal performance standard and focused more on their ability to perform as a team. By having key contacts for a client but not necessarily only one contact can enable for some flexibility in the work place along with a more diverse employee pool to satisfy the client needs. This also helps with increasing the enjoyment and achievement within the organization as employees are now working towards a great good together instead of being in competition with each other.
Cross Training
CPL had it right by offering educational programs for their employees. Educating the employees allows for them to not only be happier in the job but also gives them opportunities to stretch out into new fields which can be very fulfilling. Within this they should try and institute cross training practices to create an internal structure in the organization that can support many stresses. Having employees who can cover for each other will create a sense of unity along with enabling people who have other responsibilities to handle those as well. These concepts are key to the Work Life Balance.
Employee Services
CPL is a large enough organization that they should look into having services which can help support employees personal lives. Several example services to support the employees Work Life Balance are as follows:
1. Day care center2. Dog walking service3. Activity days for employees 4. Career counseling5. Benefit packages
Implementation Plan
Remote working is something that can be started right away as it only requires minimal IT servicing to set up a remote portal. Calling cards or company mobiles can also be purchased and given out with little work. The cross training program can fall under the current policies that they have for education but will require an analysis of current operations to see what training will be required. Employee services will require a longer implementation period as the needs and plausibility of each service will need to be accessed then the resources will need to be found in order to create the required packages.
Work Life Balance is hard to be developed in industry which is highly competitive and based on personal performance. An employee cannot establish a balance as there is a teeter totter effect occurring with work performance. For an employee to succeed within a recruitment agency, they need skill but they also need to invest time. Recruiters them selves see a direct comparison to the amount of time they spend in a job and how much they earn while the contractors need to commit large amounts of time to a job where they cannot satisfy any other personal responsibilities as the client is paying for stability. As a company within recruitment CPL is trying to help establish this balance but their current situation makes it hard for them to be a front runner on these ideals. CPL can institute policies which will help alleviate the strain on an employees balance but it will always be difficult to establish equilibrium as per the industry standards.
Holden, Robert and Renshaw, Ben. Balancing Life and Work Dorling Kindersley, 2004.
“CPL homepage” http://www.cpl.ie  update March 2005. Accessed April 16th 2005.
“CIPD- The human resources development website” http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/wrkgtime/leave updated August 17 2004. Accessed 16th April 2005.

The Relationship Between Flexible Work Arrangements, Work-Life Balance, and Job Satisfaction


With today’s fast-paced society, filled with conflicting responsibilities and commitments, work-life balance has become a major concern among employees as well as employers. In recent years, the values of personal and family lives have moved to the forefront among the workplace. A 2001 survey conducted in the United States found, “82% of men and 85% of women ages 20 to 39 placed family time at the top of their work-life priorities” and “90% of working adults said they are concerned they do not spend enough time with their families” (Lockwood, 2003, p. 3). Due to the overwhelming desire for a balance between one’s personal life and professional life, the implementation of flexible work arrangements has become more prominent in the workplace. More organizations are offering flexible work arrangements to meet employees’ demands for work and family balance (McNall, Masuda, & Nickin, 2009). McNall et al. (2009) states that research has shown that schedule flexibility has a negative correlation to work-family conflict. In comparison, Shockley and Allen (2007) explain that the execution of flexible work arrangements is a vital key in the effort to help employees balance competing work and family domains. Flexible work arrangements also have a positive impact on several other work-related constructs. In a meta-analysis of 31 studies, flexible workweek schedules were related to productivity and performance, job satisfaction, absenteeism, and satisfaction with work schedules (Baltes, Briggs, Huff, Wright, & Neuman, 1999). The construct of job satisfaction has significant correlations with attitude and behavioral outcomes, which can impact the entire organization. This facet alone emphasizes the idealistic reasoning behind a flexible work environment. Overall, flexible work arrangements positively impacts work-life balance and job satisfaction.

Work-Life Balance

In organizations, the challenge of work-life balance is a growing concern. Work-life balance is defined as “a state of equilibrium in which the demands of both a person’s job and personal life are equal” (Lockwood, 2003, p. 2). Although this definition is fairly generic, work-life balance has multiple meanings, which depend on the context and the individual for which it implies. Work-family balance is a term that is frequently overlapped with work-life balance. Work-family balance is one domain of work-life balance and is defined as an “accomplishment of role-related expectations that are negotiated and shared between an individual and his or her role-related partners in the work and family domains” (Grzywacz & Carlson, 2007, p. 458). Frequently, researchers refer to work-family balance as the absence of work-family conflict. Lockwood (2003, p. 3) describes work-family conflict as “the push and pull between work and family responsibilities.” According to the National Survey of the Changing Workforce, 43% of employees with families reported that their jobs interfered with their family lives (Shockley & Allen, 2007). Friedman and Greenhaus (as cited in Lockwood, 2003) in their book, Work and Family-Allies or Enemies, emphasize that conflict between work and family can significantly influence an individual on various levels.

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In order to reduce work-family conflict, men and women are more likely to search for a career and organization that has family-friendly benefits and work-life programs. This search process can be daunting and have a negative impact on career attainment, such as constraints on career choices, limited opportunity for career advancement, and career success. Work-family conflict can also cause stress, which in turn can lead to low employee morale, poor productivity, and decreasing job satisfaction (Lockwood, 2003). Fortunately, family-friendly benefits and work-life programs positively impacts both the employees and the organization. According to Lockwood (2003, p. 6), work-life initiatives “promote employee commitment, improve productivity, lower turnover, result in fewer employee relations challenges, and decrease the likelihood of unethical business practices.” In the Society for Human Resource Management 2003 Benefits Survey, “the percentage of employers offering family-friendly benefits continues to increase” (Lockwood, 2003, p. 7). The top five family-friendly benefits documented in the survey were as follows: dependent care flexible spending accounts, flextime, family leave above required leave, telecommuting on a part-time basis, and compressed workweeks. Three out of the five family-friendly benefits relate to flexible work arrangements.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements are defined as “alternative work options that allow work to be accomplished outside of the traditional temporal and/or spatial boundaries of a standard work-day” (Shockley & Allen, 2007, p. 480). The two most common terms of flexible work arrangements refer to “where” work is completed (flexplace) and “when” work is completed (flextime). Flexplace and flextime have become common tools for organizations to attract, motivate, and retain key talent (Allen, Johnson, Kiburz, & Shockley, 2013). According to an Employee Benefits Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (as cited in McNall, 2010, p. 63), “59% of human resources professionals reported that their organizations offer employees flextime.” In relationship to work-life balance and work-family conflict, the literature proposes that flextime may be more effective than flexplace (Byron, 2005). Theoretically, there are several reasons why flextime may be more efficient compared to flexplace. Telecommuting, a type of flexplace may require the telecommuter to be by his/her computer from eight to five. This arrangement has little flexibility considering the telecommuter must remain on the computer for a designated time frame. Also, telecommuting may cause work-family conflict if the work location is at home. Therefore, two specific types of flexible work arrangements will be analyzed that focus on time flexibility rather than location flexibility. A flextime schedule is a non-traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour workweek. Employees are capable of arriving and departing at varying times throughout the day if they complete an eight-hour workday. Unlike a flextime schedule, a compressed work schedule allows employees to work a traditional 40-hour workweek in less than the conventional number of workdays. For example, instead of eight-hour days for five days, employees would work 10- hour days for four days. Pierce and Dunham (as cited in Baltes, 1999, p. 496) elude that “alternative work schedules, such as flextime and compressed workweeks, have been adopted by an increasing number of organizations over the past several decades.” In a survey of 1,035 organizations conducted by Hewitt Associates LLC (as cited in Baltes, 1999, p. 496), “66% offered flexible work schedules and 21% offered compressed work schedules.” Although the availability of flexible work arrangements such as flextime and compressed workweek are meant to help employees manage work and non-work responsibilities, a flexible work schedule can also be associated with higher job satisfaction.

Job Satisfaction

Kinicki and Fugate (2018, p. 62) define job satisfaction as “an effective or emotional response toward various facets of your job.” Job satisfaction is the most frequently studied outcome in the organizing framework. There is a positive relationship between job satisfaction and other organizational attitudinal outcomes like motivation, job involvement, withdrawal cognitions, and perceived stress. Job satisfaction also has a positive connection with two constructive individual-level behavioral outcomes known as job performance and organizational citizenship behavior (Kinicki & Fugate, 2018). On account of job satisfaction having the ability to effect organizational attitudinal and behavioral outcomes, it is necessary for organizations to determine what leads to job satisfaction. In an analysis performed by Tjalling C. Koopmans Research Institute, Possenriede and Plantenga (2011) discovers that access to flexible work arrangements has a positive impact on job satisfaction, with access to flextime having the largest impact. Another study investigated the effects of work-life balance across seven different cultures and found that “high levels of work-life balance were more positively associated with job and life satisfaction” (Haar, Russo, Sune, & Ollier-Malaterre, 2014, p. 361). This demonstrates that flexible work arrangements and work-life balance programs can cause an increase in job satisfaction and be beneficial for employees across various cultures.

Flexible Work Arrangements, Job Satisfaction, and Work-Life Balance

In a study led by McNall et al. (2009), the relationship between two flexible work arrangements (flextime and compressed workweek) and work-family enrichment were examined as well as the relationship between work-family enrichment and job satisfaction. While work-family conflict has negative consequences for both employees and organizations, work-family enrichment refers to experiences in one role that help improve the quality of life in the other role (McNall, 2009). This study included 220 working adults (96 men, 107 women, 17 unreported) and the mean age was 37.39 years. Out of 220 participants, 116 worked for a company that offered flextime while 66 worked for a company that offered a compressed workweek schedule. Participants were required to indicate their level of agreement to a number of statements in the survey. The level of agreement used a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

At the end of the study, McNall et al. (2009) discovered that the availability of flexible work arrangements did have an impact on work-family enrichment, which was related to job satisfaction. This study found similar results to Greenhaus and Powell’s (2006) work-family enrichment model. In Greenhaus and Powell’s (2006) model, resources gained from one role (e.g. work) promote improved performance in another role (e.g. family) either directly or indirectly. More specifically, “resources that an employee gains in his or her work role (e.g., flexibility) may directly improve his or her parenting role or may indirectly produce positive affect (e.g., enthusiasm, alertness, high energy), which, in turn, benefits the employee’s interactions with his or her family” (McNall, 2009, p. 64). Overall, flexible work arrangements influence work-family enrichment by showing that the organization wants to help employees balance work and family. McNall et al. (2009) also suggests that employees who experience more positive emotions about their work should lead to an increase in job satisfaction. In comparison to McNall’s findings, other studies have also found that employees who have reported greater work-family enrichment were more likely to have reported higher job satisfaction (Aryee, Srinivas, & Tan, 2005; Balmforth & Gardner, 2006). In a meta- analysis Baltes (as cited in McNall, 2009, p. 66) has similar results finding that “both flexible work schedules and compressed workweek schedules have a positive effect on job satisfaction.” 


As a result of societal changes, such as increasing numbers of women in the workforce, dual-career households, and work-leisure time expectations, the need for work flexibility has increased. According to Lee (as cited in Baltes, Briggs, Huff, Wright, & Neuman, 1999, p. 496), “these changes have increased employee demands for flexibility in their work schedules so that they can better adjust to and master life outside the workplace.” In conclusion, the findings of work-family literature emphasize the relationship between flexible work arrangements, work-life balance, and job satisfaction. The opportunity of a flexible schedule can improve the balance between work and life, which in turn increases employees’ job satisfaction. Therefore, it is important for organizations to invest in family-friendly benefits and work-life programs. Providing employees with flexible work arrangements verifies that the organization cares for the well being of its’ employees not only at work but also outside of work. Ultimately, this becomes evident to the employees who in return, form positive attitudes toward the company leading to an increase in job satisfaction. This perspective is known as perceived organizational support, which is defined as the “extent to which employees believe their organization values their contributions and genuinely cares about their well-being” (Kinicki & Fugate, 2018, p. 61). Perceived organizational support can positively benefit organizational support by increasing employee engagement, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and greater trust (Kinicki & Fugate, 2018). A recent Global Workforce Study with 90,000 employees in 18 countries found “work-life balance as a top driver for considering a job and ability to balance work and personal life as a driver of retention” (McNall, 2009, p. 77). Globally, this strengthens the idea that organizations should consider offering policies that permit greater schedule flexibility in order to attract and keep well-qualified individuals. In the end, the implementations of flexible work arrangements positively relate to work-life balance as well as job satisfaction.


Allen, T. D., Johnson, R. C., Kiburz, K. M., & Shockley, K. M. (2013). Work-family conflict and flexible work arrangements: Deconstructing flexibility. Personnel Psychology, 66 (2), 345-376.

Aryee, S., Srinivas, E. S., & Tan, H. H. (2005). Rhythms of life: Antecedents and out-comes of work-family balance in employed parents. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90 (1), 132-146.

Balmorth, K., & Gardner, D. (2006). Conflict and facilitation between work and family: Realizing the outcomes for organizations. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 35 (2), 69-76.

Baltes, B. B., Briggs, T. E., Huff, J. W., Wright, J. A., & Neuman, G. A. (1999). Flexible and compressed workweek schedules: A meta-analysis of their effects on work-related criteria. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84 (4), 496-513.

Byron, K. (2005). A meta-analytic review of work-family interference and its antecedents. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 67 (1), 169-198.

Greenhaus, J. H., & Powell, G. N. (2006). When work and family are allies: A theory of work-family enrichment. Academy of Management Review, 37 (1), 72-92.

Grzywacz, J. G., & Carlson, D. S. (2007). Conceptualizing work-family balance: Implications for practice and research. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 9 (4), 455- 471.

Haar, J. M., Russo, M., Sune, A., & Ollier-Malaterre, A. (2014). Outcomes of work-life balance on job satisfaction, life satisfaction and mental health: A study across seven cultures. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 85 (3), 361-373.

Kinicki, A., & Fugate, M. (2018). Organizational behavior: A practical, problem-solving approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Lockwood, N. R. (Ed.). (2003). Work/life balance. Society for Human Resource Management, 1-10.

McNall, L. A., Masuda, A. D., & Nickin, J. M. (2010). Flexible work arrangements, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions: the mediating role of work-to-family enrichment. Journal of Psychology, 144 (1), 61-81.

Possenriede, D., & Plantenga, J. (Ed.). (2011). Access to flexible work arrangements, working-time fit and job satisfaction. Utrecht School of Economics, 11 (22), 1-24.

Shockley, K. M., & Allen, T. D. (2007). When flexibility helps: Another look at the availability of flexible work arrangements and work-family conflict. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 71 (1), 479-493.


It Is the Employer or Employee’s Responsibility to Maintain a Work-life Balance?

Who should we assume primary responsibilities for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, the employer or the employee?

 Work-related stress in this current industrialised world is becoming one of the root causes that are reducing productivity and performance. The increase in workloads over the past decades has been a major factor in stress phenomenon. Stress is a serious issue which eventually leads to serious consequences in the business environment. Recent studies indicate that almost 60% of all lost-working days are related to occupational stress (Leka, Griffiths and Cox, 2003). Nowadays, more and more organisations are becoming aware of how the work-related stress should be managed carefully in order to obtain a competitive advantage over other businesses. Several factors such as reward imbalance, work pressure and unrealistic demands, ineffective workplace management, minor illness and mental health issues are the most contributed factors that has caused Britain 15.8 million working days in 2016 and 15.4 million working days in 2018 (HSE, 2018). Work-related stress directly affects the employees’ life and the causes can be minimised by the employers through several methods and implementations. In addition to that, employers hold the legal responsibilities to take care of their employees ensuring their health, safety and wellbeing (HSE, 2018).

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 According to HSE, in the year 2015 and 2016, over 480,000 people in UK reported that work-related stress was making them ill and not only that, reports show that there were 1,320 cases per 100,000 workers that are found to be suffering from stress, depression and anxiety in this time period. Psychological hazards are no doubt one of the causes to work-related stress in fact there is a strong evidence showing a link between work-related stress and psychological hazards (Cox, Griffiths & Rial-Gonzalez, 2000). In addition to that, statistics are showing those who are at professional occupational level have higher rate to suffer from work-related stress, depression and anxiety comparing to other types of occupations. As described in HSE annual statistics, the rate of workers suffering from those symptoms mentioned above are 2,760 cases per 100,000 workers in nursery and midwifery occupations and 3,020 cases per 100,000 workers in teaching professions and 4,080 cases for Welfare professions. Professional occupations are almost two times higher comparing to other occupational groups such as skilled trades and Elementary occupations (HSE,2018).

 There are several major causes to work-related stress such as long working hours, work overload and pressure, lack of control over work and lack of participation in decision making, poor social support, unclear management, work role and poor management style. Because of the imbalance in demand, many individuals have brought demands to their homes and social lives. “Long uncertain or unsocial hours, working away from home, taking work home, high levels of responsibility, job insecurity, and job relocation all may adversely affect family responsibilities and leisure activities” (Michie, 2002).

 One thing to note is that when employees are having to worry about their childcare responsibilities, financial worries and housing problems, these may potentially affect their performance at workplace. Employees become stressed out because they cannot cope with both social life and workplace demands at the same time thus leading to a circle where there is no balance.  Women are most likely to experience these types of stress because the domestic responsibilities they carry. Men working in the service sector, low skilled manual jobs, private sector or in large or very large firms and temporary contractors are at higher risk of work-life imbalance (Lunau, Bambra, Eikemo, Van der wel & Dragano, 2014).

 Many employees are suffering from work-related stress although more and more employers are becoming aware of this issue. Causes such as workplace overload, demands and capability imbalance are the major issues that can be minimised by implementing a better workplace management and standards. Statistics from HSE (2018) indicates that workload has the highest contribution to work-related stress in Great Britain followed by Lack of support, violence, threat or bullying, changes at work, role of uncertainty and lack of control. Employers should be aware of the process and states of employees at the workplace to ensure workers are not being assigned tasks that are not matched with their capabilities as they become lack in ability and productivity when they are stressed. Research findings shows that employees suffer stress the most when they are not capable of performing the task because of the lack of knowledge and experience (Leka, Griffiths & Cox, 2013).  This too can be clearly minimised by implementing a better workplace management. Certainly, some of the causes cannot be corrected or minimised by the employers such as when the imbalance in workplace and social life started, employee may hold the liability to maintain work-life balance. However, work-life balance can be maintained by the employee to an extent.

 As described by HSE (2009) in How to Tackle Work-related Stress, there are six areas of work that need to be balanced in order to maintain healthy work environment such as Demands, Control, Support, Role, Change and Relationships. Demands as in how much works must be done by the employees, control as in how much an employee has in the way they do their work. Support is one of the key issues why employees are suffering from work-related stress. In order to make changes to make more flexible working environment, employees have to speak out when they are struggling and when they are not able to or in some cases where there is no effect even when they do, lack of support or encouragement or resources supported by the organisation become a major factor to work-related stress. Lack of job security can also be the reason why several employees are stressed. Therefore, health of workplace environment must be up to date with the standard. For example – employees must be able to cope with the demands of their jobs and they should be able to communicate to the support team for any concerns.

 Job designs also play a crucial part relating to stress at workplace. They can be designed to ensure employees’ skills and abilities are matched to the job demands. From the workplace perspective, introducing policies relating to reducing stress and initiatives which provides options for the employees for any aftereffects from work-related stress can be effective. For example – there are existing employee assistance programmes options such as on-site childcare, flexible working arrangement or compressed hours and on-site fitness facilities.

 All employers have legal responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation (Northern Ireland) 2000 to ensure stress at workplace is kept minimum. Board members, directors and CEOs are the main group to steer to reduce work-related stress (HSENI, 2019). Directors can monitor the rate of absenteeism, staff turnover rate, performance and conflict between staff and make sure these issues are settled. Depending on the structure of the organisation, HR and health and safety managers can enforce best practises relating to work-related stress, make sure employees are getting support from workplace. Human resources managers and Health and Safety managers should be able to work together to tackle work-related stress for example – health and safety managers should be able to support line managers in preventing and managing individuals with work-related stress and to identify new policies that may help reduce work-related stress. Furthermore, employees should inform their managers if there are any concerns that are limiting their performance on workplace such as any medical condition that happens to be long term and affecting their ability. Trade union representatives are the first call for staff that are in need of help as they will be able to work with the organisation to develop new policies  to reduce stress, make solutions, encourage employees to inform their managers about the problem and tackle the issue.

 In conclusion, work-related stress, depression and anxiety is a significant ill health condition in Great Britain. In 2017 and 2018 alone, these issues have caused Britain more than 50% of the working days. It would be argued that in some cases, employees carry the responsibility to maintain work-life balance. However, major issues such as workplace overloads can be overwhelming and impossible to be corrected by the employees unless the responsible individuals in the workplace make changes about it. Furthermore, by implementing such polices as mentioned above, work-related stress can be minimised, and output will be maximised.


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