The Importance of Work-Life Balance

Subject: Family, Life & Experiences
Pages: 16
Words: 6686
Reading time:
25 min
Study level: Master

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation is to address the concept of balancing between the way people work and their private life is an issue of great concern in this corporate world. Many governments and business organizations have a better understanding of the concept of work-life balance and its now becoming a vogue. The literature review offers more detail about issues of work and private life. Top managers all over the planet are exposed to considerable pressures at their workplaces, which further impacts on the balance between their lives and their jobs. For workers to be comfortable and able to work properly they have to enjoy the work they are doing and also get time to enjoy their lives. Harmony between Job satisfaction and general wellbeing is very difficult to achieve. This study analyses different perceptions on the issue of life-work balance with much regard on the benefits and possible disadvantages of such arrangements on the workers. The method used to collect information structured questionnaires that sought to investigate if it was possible to have work-life balance, how it was being done the benefits of it and possible disadvantages. Results indicate that there are far more advantages of having a good work-life balance than being too inclined on either side.

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Introduction

Work-Life Balance

This research investigates whether there are significant benefits of have a balanced work-life relationship. Since the mid 20th century, the labour market, working environment and private lives have changed tremendously as a result of several factors of development like increased women participation in the job market. demographics, higher educations levels, transformation in social; structure, changes in the conventional employment models and increased number of dual breadwinner family set up also contribute to the change. Due to these transformations, there has also been a change in the time allocation at workplace, leisure, home production and working from home. In the current corporate environment, the decision and allocation of time between work and private life is very different for man and women. As a result, there is also a private and public policy distress and dispute concerning whether the value of work-life and private life should be left to erode and why work-life is slowly transforming into work-life crisis. The major concern is that the societal changes are increasing the work-life crisis that is seen to manifest in increased number of stress reports, and increased expenses on medication and also suffering other unconstructive social consequences.

In the IT industry for instance, though people can easily get jobs and are paid well, their work-life gets totally stressed with time. This is because there will be many pressures at work requiring the employees to work at odd hours, make weird working schedules as the duties will be complex and too demanding due to the unpredictable peaks and off-peaks. Working is hence made hectic and exhausting as well hence leading to development of health problems as well. On the other hand, employers are required to draw and retain esteemed employees in the highly competitive job market as a gesture of strong motivation and increased organisation awareness. They are also to act with consideration of the human resource policy and traditions that deal with work-life balance.

The goals of the research included and were not restricted to the following;

  • To promote knowledge and encourage research in gender concerns and work-life balance by spotting the parts that require investigation, facilitate sharing of information and findings
  • Foster chances to enrich women professional lives and allow them to achieve their full capacity as workers or practitioners and enhancing their increased participation in professional service
  • To offer forum where workers can have a discussion on the impact that increased involvement of women in professional practise has had on work-life balance
  • Enhancing equitable treatments of workers in workplace and offer knowledge and sensitivity to gender and work-life balance concerns
  • Increase the knowledge of the policies that help professionals to effectively combine career and family.

Purpose of Study

The objective of this investigation is to assess the work-life balance in the corporate society (Bachmann, 2000, p. 102). Workers need to lead a balanced life for them to be efficient. This will be done by exploring the fit between employers and the employee’s real conception and understanding of the issue at hand and the related needs. The questions to be answered will be whether employees benefit from work-life balance policies and what are the facilitators and obstructions to these policies (Bachmann, 2000, p. 102).

Problem Statement

To investigate the work-life balance concept and issues that concern it in the corporate environment with special scrutiny at facilitators, benefits, obstructions and disadvantages of such arrangements in an effort to fulfil work needs and private life needs as well (Gaskell, 2002, p. 79).

Background

There are very many health benefits that can be gained when a person is able to attain a balanced life. Stress levels will definitely go down and output will be higher. Work-life balance brings in the struggle between the time and energy to invest in work and play other roles as an individual (Carrington & Holdtrom, 2004, p. 28). A person’s life can be described as unbalanced in case the amount of time taken on the job is causing problems on or it’s conflicting with other life responsibilities. The choices that people make can result in conflict with their bosses, workmates and family (Harpaz, 2002, p. 72). Stress can then set in as an individual is very much worried about issues at work and working on demanding task at the same time or some get a lot of anxiety about their jobs while at home.

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Over the years, people have worked very hard in different professions to ensure that they can be able to meet their basic needs and also enjoy their private lives (Houston & Waumsley, 2003, p 123). So the big concern is: what has brought change? Basically, there have been considerable societal changes and technological advances since the middle of the 20th century. These changes seem to have had a great impact on the work and life at the same time (Carrington & Holdtrom, 2004, p. 28). Traditional gender and family responsibilities have changed and there has been an increase in performance expectations from work due to sophisticated technology.

In the 1940’s to 1960’s, society organisation was very simple as the men were responsible for work while the women took care of family issues. Women handled the domestic chores and the hassle of bringing up a good family. As a result of this, the chances of developing stress were very low. In case the man was required to increases concentration at work, he could do so with a lot of ease (Clark, 2001, p. 349). However a serious change occurred in the 1970s as more women got to the job market. This societal change blurred the traditions of division of gender roles that had defined who was to handle family issues and who was to deal with work almost exclusively (Bachmann, 2000, p 103). Both men and women in the working environment are now required to handle the issues of homemaking and also breadwinning at the same time. (Houston & Waumsley, 2003, p.123) This sometimes result in people being worried about life matter when they are supposed to be working hard since they feel some element of guilt about work conflicting with their private lives (Clark 2001, p. 350). They also worry too much about work when they are supposed to be having some good time home alone or with family and friends.

Significance of the Study

The working relationships that have been created at workplaces are getting more and more complex. This is no longer about simple appearance at the office and little effort to carry out a pre-defined task to earn money, rather people want to find purpose and enjoyment in life (Clark, 2001, p 349). Organisation or employers on the other hand are looking for workers who will have real commitment to be engaged on the job and be very productive so that the business offers products that add value to clients and hence stay ahead of competition (Harpaz, 2002, p 72).

The investigation will help in understanding that people really need to be satisfied so as to be productive in reaction. Since the employers and the employees have different interest in the industry, this study will be significant in finding the common goals and the benefits that will be expected in case work-life balance can be achieved (Duxbury & Higgins, 2005, p. 113).

Literature Review

Introduction

Work-life balance and the need to have flexible time to work have been very crucial topic for debate over the past few years. The initiative for this debate is basically due to the changing societal norms. Many people now demand that their employers offer them flexible working hours like sharing job tasks, possibility of working from home, and compressed working hours so that there is better balance between social needs in life and attaining a satisfying career (Duxbury & Higgins, 2005, p. 113). This concept of Work-life balance is based on the idea that being paid to work and living a personal life should not be seen as competing priorities in life rather complementary aspects of real life. In order to involve employers in the system, it’s important to reveal that benefits will be derived from better working policies and practices that sustain work-life balance and that there will be effort to mitigate the possible negative effects (Duxbury & Higgins, 2005, p 113).

Work-Life Balance Definition

Most of the workers play different roles at different times. During time of duty, they could be bosses or subordinates while at home they are husbands, wives, mothers and fathers or friends. Every “hat” they put on has a different duty and demands. This requires time and energy to accomplish. When there are cumulative responsibilities for any of these duties so that it’s very difficult to undertake one role or the other, work-life crisis results (Cromptom, 2005, p. 347). In the past, people viewed the idea of work-life balance as being able to allocate equal time to task that are work oriented and the life demands. However current research has found out that the process is far more complicated (Tausig & Fenwick, 2001, p. 118). It’s divided into three perspectives:

  • Time management – this concerns the time allocated for work and life duties
  • Involvement balance – this deals with the extent to which one is psychologically involved in or dedicated to life responsibility and work duties
  • Satisfaction balance – the degree of contentment with job and life roles.

This description of work-life balance description has expanded in scope and now integrates time, satisfaction and engagement differently to accommodate a wider and a more comprehensive approach (Cromptom, 2005, p. 349). For instance, if someone works for three days and spend the remaining weekdays with family may be having unbalanced life work lifestyle in terms of time committed while he/she could be balanced in terms of involvement if he/she is seriously committed to the job (Houston & Waumsley, 2003 p. 123). A person working about 50 hours a week may be seen as having no time for private life and hence unbalanced time though he/she could be contended with the higher pay while an individual working only 34 hours a week and does not exactly enjoy the job and wastes a lot of time searching other satisfying activities could be unbalanced with regard to involvement (Peper, 2005, p. 112).

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Work-Life Balance Conception

The concept of balancing between life responsibilities and work duties is based on the new values that do not discriminate those with private life commitments and also offers a chance for people to attain their full potential at work and private life. Many nations for instance the UK introduced some fair policies for people with families considering that women were expected to take care of families and also attend paid work to earn a living (Cromptom, 2005, p. 347). However, this was greatly opposed by employers and some workers who did not have much family commitment.

A new perception was quickly developed based on the idea that employers had a responsibility to help employees lead a balanced lifestyle. This means that the concept is not just restricted to family or nurturing of children at home (Stredwick & Ellis, 2005, p. 89). Either it’s not about less work and working hours but rather it’s about working convenience. This is when a person is fresh enough to be able to function at work and outside work in without jeopardizing either of the roles. It’s considered to be a necessary thing for everybody regardless of the stage in life. The idea here is to assist employees to manage their time to work and time to deal with non-work issues (Stredwick & Ellis, 2005, p 89). There are several ways through which this can be achieved. They include;

  • Reducing working hour by job-sharing or part-time jobs
  • Change working hours as in flexitime and compressed weeks
  • Changing place of work like working from home (Fiona et al, 2006, p 145).
  • Offering leaves like study leave parental leave and career breaks.

It’s important that people are able to manage their lives, do their job to full capacity, enhance economic competence and at the same time contribute to the sustainability of the future generation (Cromptom, 2005, p. 347).

Need for the Balance

There are several factors that necessitate the need for work-life balance in corporate world. The investigation will address these factors as follows; work demands, demands of life and time pressures (Gambles et al, 2006, p.108).

Work demands are a major driving force behind work-life balance. There are some arrangements that allow employees to work and care for their young ones at the same time. However, this can have some other problems (Fiona et al, 2006, p. 145). In the United kingdoms, mothers are allowed to work part-time so that they can perform their motherly duties. However, the part-time employees have limited access to pension benefits because of the disproportionate working arrangements (Bruce, 2007, p. 67). The UK also has the highest rates of people with very long working hours. About 30 percent of the full-time workers do their job in excess of 45 hours every week while the rest of Europe the rate is 12 percent. The consequences of this could be exhaustion, irritation and limited social lifestyle like involving in family events and children activities.

Individual working long hours also experience some very bad healthy problems and are also less likely to be involved in physical exercise (Fiona et al, 2006, p 145). Even when they reduce these hours they never reverse to normal per se. New technology has increased volumes of work to be done and also the job or performance expectations. People are doing a great deal of job hence attaining short-term benefit while long-term negative effects are overlooked.

Demands of Life require that people take care of their young. With increased participation in employment, this task has to be balanced with work duties since they are still child bearers. It has been suggested that parenthood be shared between husband and wife for healthy lifestyle (Fiona et al, 2006, p 145.

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Obstructions to Work-Life Balance

The following are some of the reasons why it has been very difficult to attain work balance among working individual. They include having to work very long hours, unpredictable working schedules, working in shifts and very high-performance targets (Richenda, 2006, p. 67). Night shifts are very distressing and inconvenient for proper functionality. Working extra time without compensation contributes a lot to work-life crisis making it workplace traditions or culture greatly influence work-life balance as expectations to offer much from bosses, workmates and supervisors are very high (Kelliher & Anderson, 2010, p. 83).

Advantages and Disadvantages of Work-life Balance

Saving on Some Critical Costs: having flexible working hours or work-life arrangement workplace is very important; the first advantages are that the employee is able to gain some financial savings from such arrangements (Peper, 2005, p. 45). Some of the provisions in flexible working hours and work-life hours are to work from home. Essentially when one works at home, she/he saves a lot of money that could have been otherwise used on car wear and tear, commuting expenses, parking tolls, fuelling, road taxes and also other indirect expenses like having to wear professionally hence maintaining a very expensive wardrobe and cleaning (Peper, 2005, p 45). Other savings include those of taking care of children like daycares or having to hire a nanny or house-help. This is critical in ensuring that balancing between work and life like taking care very young children.

Most businesses also appreciate the significant and practical benefit that result from the strategic arrangement of flexible working hours (Richenda, 2006, p 67). Most of the organization now realize that in implemented with the correct support, there are a number of benefits that can potential transform the organization in a positive way. Businesses also realize that having to travel to very far destination for very brief meetings or business trips can become very uneconomical and burdensome. For these reasons, applying the new technologies and offering balance of working hours, the employees will be able to do the available job despite their location (Richenda, 2006, p. 67). This translates into a working tradition that is cost-efficient, effective, very maximal productivity, less overheads and successful process.

Flexibility: through provision of this kind of working practice, the employees are able to work at their convenience and enjoy flexibility of completing their job at the most appropriate time and place most appropriate. This flexibility gives the employees motivation that makes them feel very confident and being control of their job tasks and in this way, they will be good in managing their workloads (Richenda, 2006, p 67). The workers able to sustain a work-life balance especially very beneficial for employees with involving family need to those who wish to avoid travelling hassles and stress especially the traffic that is experienced at peek times (Coussey, 2000, p 45).

Motivation: A provision of work-life arrangement of work-life and flexible working hours has a great impact on the motivation and psyche of the employees. The flexible working hours offer so much flexibility the employees feel that they have so much in power over what they are doing and for that reason feel more contented (Kelliher & Anderson, 2010, p 89). Flexibility at workplace translates to greater productivity, job satisfaction and employee enthusiasm and very low levels of worker churn. The employees also tend to stay longer at the job that offers greater satisfaction and hence the company also benefit from great employee retention (low employee turnover). This is very important since the company will save on the cost of recruitment like the expenses encountered when holding interviews and training new workers (Taylor, 2004, p 56). For these reasons, many firms are embracing more and more of the advantages that come with flexible working hours despite the legal obligations.

Business Continuity: In real sense, even the most ordinary of the situation could force firm to close down or result in a catastrophic loss of information. The greater benefit of having flexible working hours is that even in the event of a disaster; a business organization can get back on track and still run like before very quickly (Kelliher & Anderson, 2010, p 92). This is because the firms will not lose all the relevant resources at once and it would be very easy for them to outsource some specialist who would help in retrieving continuous backup and other files that would have been lost.

Less Stress: when flexible working hours are provided, workers enjoy a working set up close to freelance working. In these cases, there are able to reduce human detractors and other environment destructions. Cases of intense traffic like the irritating noise and bumper-to-bumper movement where time is also wasted on the roads are eliminated (Stevens, 2004, p 91). Many people are usually irritated by the noises and the bad traffic that is experienced in cities of most states and therefore get disgruntled and even more exhausted before the day begins at work or when getting home. This is even worse when the workplace is too far from the residential home. Flexible working hours mitigate these cases since the employee will be able to set convenient times for working and that only on few occasions will there be such stresses (Stevens, 2004, p 91). Other stresses that are eliminated include inhospitable colleagues, unnecessary interactions from co-workers, unnecessary meetings and suboptimal environment. Flexibility can allow you to avoid all these problems by setting office at home which free from all the environmental disruptions and also obstructed from other likely interruptions (Taylor, 2004, p 56).

Proximity to Home and Family: being close to hoe mane family is very essential to many people who have good family relationships. This is because it would be very convenient and extremely calming. The parents are hence able to take care of their children and bond with them (Stevens, 2004, p 91). At any instance that the parents are called upon, they can easily be found.

Better Health: in most cases, a journey of about one to three hours is often very tiresome. At the same time, this is what many people spent going to work and getting from work in a day. This has a very negative impact on the mental health and physical fitness as well (Taylor, 2004, p. 56). Working from home or creating favourable days and hours to go to work enables a person to save on time and this can be used on physical fitness like taking a walk, sprinting in the morning or checking in at a local gymnasium before going to work (Woodland et al, 2003, p. 272).

Disadvantages of Work-life Balance and Flexible Working

Isolation: there are professional who are complaining of isolation and loneliness due to the problems of flexible working hours. This is particularly so for those employee work from home. They feel secluded from their bosses and workmates and this is proving to be very depressing to some of them (Woodland et al, 2003, p 272). The colleagues may not treat you the same way they would have if you were working with them on the same shift of work. For this reason, the workplaces provide an ideal location for people to work from and associate, mingle, make friends (Conran, 2002, p 78). In fact communication is enhanced in such an environment. Those employees who are not on the job at workplace and the ones who work on odd shifts have to create creative means of getting to know their colleagues or work extra hard to ensure that they actually get used to each other very fast in short episodes they may happen to meet (Woodland et al, 2003, p 275).

Distractions: people who work from home claim that it benefits them by avoiding workplace destructions. However, working from home has different types of destructions which can come up. Such destruction includes disturbance from the family member like the children, friends, domestic chores, neighbours who could really be very disruptive (Conran, 2002, p. 79). This calls for extra effort to be taken to ensure that such disruptions are not available. In reality, this is very difficult to achieve considering the fact that the work will be doing job responsibility and his/her presence at home will still be felt.

Complicatedness in Untying Home from Work: The major problem is to make sure that job responsibilities do not mix with the family or domestic roles. This had been a very big problem to most of the people since the mere presence at home creates a different influence (Fine-Davis et al, 2004, p. 89). There is also a very big temptation to engage the household issues in work responsibility since the individual is at home and the charisma is very strong. Such cases include being obliged to start doing some other domestic duties like cleaning the room or rushing for some shopping, dropping children to school, carrying out some home finances and socializing with family and friends while at the same time requires beating job deadlines and meeting to the work objectives as well (Taylor, 2001, p. 23). This, therefore, means that it’s very imperative to create strict boundaries between home and work in order to avoid problems in both sectors.

Failing to Meet Deadlines and Business Objectives: in many, organizations beating deadlines, fulfilling organizational mission and vision is an obligation for everybody to see to it that it’s achieved; working from home, however, can be a challenge in ensuring that these is met (Clutterbuck, 2005, p. 78). This is because of the reason that there is no supervision at home. It’s also very evident that most people usually fail to do their job seriously when there is no one else to oversee it. When strict working hours are not enforced, there is great temptation that the worker will not work harder (Fine-Davis et al, 2004, p. 89). The job becomes endless. As a consequence pressure builds to work for long hours and this is compounded by the fact that there is great expectation from you due to the fact that you are working from home or by provision of flexible hours. One can get tense by struggling to prove him/herself that she/he is competent and this outs a staring on an individuals capability. Moreover, when there is not physical separation of work and home, the pressure builds even more and the job can be done endlessly (Taylor, 2001, p. 23).

Alienation from Day to Day Business Progress: there is very big change that can take place in one day in the firm. When a person misses out several days, there could be so many changes that the individual would feel removed from the firm’s critical developments like new venture, changes in business structure, staff reshuffle and new competitive intelligences among others (Clutterbuck, 2005, p. 78).

Risk of Being Overlooked for Promotion: there is a big danger of being disregarded when it comes to important staff appointments and career enhancement opportunities (Fine-Davis et al 2004, p. 89). Employers always favour the employees who are always present at the job and who are actively involved in company activities and are more visible in company events. It’s very important to maintain communication with the management or administration and also keep constant appearances at the office so that your job commitment is proved (Clutterbuck, 2005, p 78). Flexible working hours or working from home requires of high-level of self-discipline. Its takes a lot of commitment for one to be able to work from home and be able to meet deadlines without falling prey to destructions (Taylor, 2001, p. 23).

Methodology

Research Design

The study was completed in a period of four months. Primary tools for collecting data were used (Jones et al, 2006, p 111). Secondary research was also conducted to offer support to the findings and help draw conclusions. The research involved both qualitative and quantitative analyses.

Target Population: The sample population was Tesco’s workers. Several cadres were included in the research like managers, supervisors, waiters and customer care personnel. Responses were recorded in questionnaires and calculations were made and accordingly filled.

Sample Size: 197 employees were selected from Tesco which is one of the leading retailers in (N = 197). Basically, there were three important aspects highlighted in the questions (Hill 2001, p. 72): Work-life issues addressed problems faced at work in professional undertakings; family life issues were those that addressed time one spent with their families and self-life matters were framed to question time people had for them (Clutterbuck, 2005, p. 78). Semi-structured questions formed the primary source while secondary data was collected from previous reports, books and articles.

Sample Characteristics: Of the 197 respondents, 100 were men while the other 97 were women. This balance in gender was not by default, rather it was by design. The research was designed to be unbiased, and therefore final results could not be faulted in terms of lack of gender balance.

Managers in the study were 20, supervisors were 31, customer care people were 61, cashiers were 30 and waiters were 76. This was done to cut across the different categories of work for diversity and maintain representation. The participants were picked from Tesco branches all over the UK. 96 participants were married while 101 were single.

Sampling Procedure: participation was voluntary though sampling was had to be stratified to allow gender balance and greater variety of job categories. The workers who expressed knowledge of work-life balance were allowed to participate after signing the informed consent form.

Admission of Interviews: The rationale of this research study is to evaluate how and why work-life balance has been impacting on the wellbeing of Tescos workers. The study put emphasis on the internal and external causes of stress at work. It also addressed the causes and the impact of work-life balance (Clutterbuck, 2005, p. 78). The study also evaluated the various alternatives that that can be used to attain the same goals of work-life balance. The questionnaires used are structured (and semi-structured) in nature (Clutterbuck, 2005, p. 78).

The research design selected contributed toward making the study have high degree of accuracy. It’s asserted that a good design should enable all the components in the research to work harmoniously to promote the study’s integrity (Clutterbuck, 2005, p. 78). The design adopted should be reflexive of the entire research process. These include the process of collecting, analyzing and elaborating the research questions. Qualitative research design is detailed which enables it to provide in-depth assessment of the issue under consideration. Also for the fact that most of the data collected from the workplaces were qualitative in nature. In addition, it gave the researcher ability to collect a wide range of information regarding work life balance in Tesco supermarkets (Clutterbuck, 2005, p. 78). In conducting the study, the researcher focused at individuals from Tesco so as to gain understanding on their views regarding work life balance qualitative data is non-numerical and usually, results are in terms of statements, commentaries, phrases and detailed descriptions. This means that the data obtained from the field through qualitative research is comprehensive and requires further interpretation (Clutterbuck, 2005, p. 78). This makes the design to be interpretive whereby the researcher analyzes the data to identify the themes and categories. Interpreting the data enables the researcher to make useful conclusions.

Research Questions: Considering that time constraints and the need to take care of young ones seemed to be crucial factors, the research questions were designed to address these parameters – Gender, time constriction and marital status. Time constriction was used to assess the time shortage that people faced, time taken to carry out office duties, time taken to be with family and time spent doing other things of own choice (Peper, 2005, p 112). Gender addressed how people were able to manage time and work considering that the corporate works have many women into employment working with men shoulder to shoulder (Coussey, 2000, p. 45). Marital life assessment is important because this status come with additional duties. It’s important to see how they varied among married and singletons.

The work-life analysis was done to assess the amount of time a worker spent in a day in total (time working in office and also at home but working on office assignment). It also addresses job satisfaction. Family life is very critical in this research and this aspect assessed the time workers spent with families each day (Hill 2001, p. 72; Coussey, 2000, p 45). Self-life aspect assessed the time a worker had for his/her holistic growth like hobbies, spiritual duties and taking part in social events and even sleep.

Data collection: The method of data collection used depended on the site from which the data was gathered. The site of study here is localized in one workplace which is the Tesco Supermarket. A number of methods were utilized in the process of collecting data from the field. They included use of focused interviews, mailed questionnaires, telephone survey, and group interview, structured and personal interviews (Jones et al, 2006, p 111). Several primary methods of data collection were used to ensure high credibility of the data that is collected from the field. The ultimate result is that the quality of the study is enhanced. The various methods of data collection considered in the study included use of interviews and questionnaires (Jones et al, 2006, p 111). To ensure that the process of data collection was effective; a reconnaissance study was carried out so as to get familiarized with the working environment of Tesco Supermarket.

This was considered as cost effective. Interviews enabled the researcher to understand the underlying reasons in relation to a certain individuals (Coussey, 2000, p 45). Group discussion on the other hand allows people to open up as they share problems and realize that they could have some things in common or had different opinions. Group’s attitude and behaviour are exposed. To ensure that data collection through the telephone was effective, a voice recorder was used. In addition, notes were taken in the process of interviews and discussions of specific questions. Use of voice recorder made it possible to re-play the interviewees response later (Coussey, 2000, p 45). This made it possible for the researcher to analyze the responses by identifying the thematic elements. The research study employed semi-structured interviews. This was attained by asking questions in which the respondents had an opportunity to express themselves at length. Semi structured questions allowed the researcher to digress a bit according to response from participants.

Analysis and Discussion

The sample was segregated in terms of gender with 69 percent men and 31 women.

Work-life variable was assessed from the questions that were meant to enable determine the amount of time spent by every employer at work. This means that the office working hours and time spent working even at home was assessed. In one week, the working days were 5, 6 and 7. From this, 75 percent of men worked 5 days, while 24 percent worked 6 days. The rest worked for 7 seven days. 74 percent of the women worked for 5 days and 26 percent worked 6 days a week. Marital status assessed revealed that 65 percent were married and worked for 5 days, 30 percent worked for 6 days while those who worked seven days were 5 percent. Of the single people, 77 percent worked for 5 days while 23 percent did 6 days. This means they almost worked the same hours.

Analysis of working hours revealed that women were less likely to work for long hours (Gambles et al, 2006, p. 108). 81 percent of the men worked between 8-10 hours a day while 16 worked 10 – 12 hours. 90 percent of the women worked 8 – 10 hours while only five parent 10 to 12 hours. On marital status, 75 percent of married employees worked 8 – 10 and 23 percent of them worked 10 – 12 hours. Only 2 percent worked more than 12 hours. Singles had a percentage of 4 working less than 8 hours. 86 worked 8 to 10 hours. 10 to 12 working hours was 9 percent. Married people are seen to work long hours.

Worrying about job at home showed that more women tend to worry more about their job compared to men when at home. 78 percent of women carried work stress at home compared to 60 percent of men. About 90 percent of the married females carried work stress home compared to 60 percent of single females who did.

Family life analyses revealed that men spent very little time with families while women spent a little more time with family. Married people on the other hand tend to spent more time with family after work while singles engaged in other activities like drinking, browsing and watching TV (Jones et al, 2006, p. 111). Assessing time taken off work for vacation, about 75 percent of married people at least when for vacation once a year while only 25 percent of singles took time off for vacation. Probably little family commitment gave them more dedication to work (UNIFI Organization, 2001, p 134).

Self–life is very critical to the performance of individuals. An average sleeping time for normal healthy individual is estimated to be 5 to 6 hours by medical theorists. About 90 percent of the participants slept for at least six or more hours. Regardless of work stresses, the majority of participants had enough sleep. On marital status, singletons slept for six of more hours while married people had strict schedule of 5 to six hours of sleep. Recreation activities are very pertinent to holistic development (Johnson, 2004, p 178). Analyses of this showed that about 50 percent of men engaged in some activities while most women did not. 25 percent of participants indicated that they had the interest in recreational activities but could not find the time.

Limitations

Whereas the information did not explicitly reveal some generalised variances with regard to perceptions of work life balance, there are some controls on how outcomes can be generalised to fit the natural population (Johnson, 2004, p. 178). Sample used was in essence college-trained workers and this could be inclined to a certain social class. There was no ethnic diversity and still the participants of a cohort need to have experiences similar conditions while growing up. Though experts say that similarities in populations existed in spite of socioeconomic status and ethnicity, it’s very difficult to extend this finding to other statuses or traditions (Hill, 2001, p 72). Due to restriction in geographical coverage, the findings could be biased (UNIFI Organization, 2001, p 134).

Conclusion

Tesco supermarket offers the benefits of having to take some days of duty to attend to family or private life issues. All the 270,000 workers are eligible for the benefits. This eligibility is usually determined by the performance of the employee and time in service. The minimum is one year. Time off duty can be used for travelling, spending time with family, taking vacation and just spending time at home. The company asserts that through this, it has been able to retain its talented workers. Since Tesco has been very outspoken on the issue of staff and work-life balance, it’s believed that this plays a very important role in employer branding. Following work-life balance awareness, Tesco introduce career breaks of up to two months as opposed to the traditional two weeks of duty.

The work-life balance idea is about the factors that enable individuals to find a balance between private life and the job commitments. They play a very significant role in creating a workers schedule and way of life. Problems like stress, time for private matter, personal space and time to develop hobbies reveal themselves when there is imbalance between work and personal lifestyle. Having taken the parameters of time, marital statues and gender in the study to help in analyses, it’s important to also look at the effort by the employers to tackle counter obstacles in achieving a balance. Employees on the other hand should be able to put in place efficient time and stress management measures. Work-life balance is only achievable if both employer and employee put in the required efforts. The research shows that people at least spend some time for the three fronts only that the amount of time designated for each varied. The variations could ebb due to personal choices, personality or time constraints. However, it could also be due to personal consideration of the best way to balance for every individual. The study indicated that time pressure was not the prime concern fundamental work-life crisis. It’s the psychological invasion of job into family realm and vice versa. It then narrows to personal factors like viewpoint of work-life balance, individual values, attitude about job and family and personality.

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