In present competitive business environment, both work-life balance and flexible working are important contemporary agendas that can have both positive as well as negative impact on the businesses of an organization.
Many organizations are trying to focus on reducing the operational cost so that it can able to gain competitive advantage in the market. Therefore, companies look minimize its payrolls, as it considered as one of the biggest factor of the organizational cost base. Most of the organizations are looking to formulate strategy to avoid redundancy within the company. This increases the interest regarding the flexibility of workforce. It also allows an employee to have more time for his/her personal life.
In the situation, when an organization have to cut the number of employees, some may see it as an opportunity acquire new skill so that they can able to progress in their carrier. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the concept of work-life balance as it has different meaning for different group of people. It also depends on the hierarchical level of the organization. Since, perspective of an employee and of an employer is completely different regarding to the concept of work-life balance and flexibility in work.
Many employees believe that stressful workload is a significant determinant regarding work-life balance concept. Since, increase amount of stressful work have major impact on the health and wellbeing of an employee. Therefore, it is up to the organization to handle this concept in such a way that employees can feel satisfied about their organizational responsibility.
Earlier, organizations face huge amount of challenges in order to acquire best talents for the company. However, over the past few years, many organizations are looking reduce its part time work, workweek so that it can able to increase the flexibility. Therefore, many organizations are reducing the number of employees so that it can able to redesign the roles and responsibilities of the employee in such a way that will help employees’ to maintain their work-life balance.
The study highlighted that Juliet Bourke is not very comfortable with the argument of reshaped for flexibility. Since, workplace flexibility has the potential minimize overheads and boost the productivity of an employee. As Bourke, believe that flexibility only induces fewer people to give more at the workplace (Freeburg et al., 2014). Therefore, Bourke was so afraid of the kind of unintended consequences can happen due to this kind of thought process of the organization. Bourke represented her thoughts with the launch of a website, which is utilized to assist organizations in developing flexible work practices.
In case of economic crisis, employers can utilize the concept of flexible working hour concept very effectively. Since, it allows employers reduce the working hours of an employee at the time the company do not need them. In addition, workforce flexibility concept allows organizations to increase the number of working hours at the time when organizations need them the most. Therefore, it provided employers lot of opportunities to manage its workforce effectively.
A key factor regarding the work-life balance strategy includes comprehensive programs for employee assistance and employee flexibility and it would help to build a adaptive, diverse and high-performing workforce able to meet future and current needs of business. Leave options and voluntary flexible work can help to avoid redundancy and salaries and wages would have to be paid accordingly. However, in few organizations, whether there is a strong culture regarding work-life balance or not, redundancies are considered as inevitable. In addition, many executives have recognized the amount of benefits can occur from work-life balance strategies. It is more likely that management of any organization would like to explore different ways of work to minimize redundancies and reduce cost. Every organization knows that they need sufficient talents in order to keep on growing in the competitive market. According to Jones, Burke & Westman (2013) proper work-life balance strategy can also have positive impact on the employee engagement, as it can help to increase the job satisfaction level of the employees. In fact, flexibility demands more efficient and effective work from the employees regardless of the position in which they are working.
On the other hand, at the time of redeployment, natural attrition and flexible work practices, majority of the reduction comes, whenever the downturn is present and all the employees will have to remain agile (Stavrou & Ierodiakonou, 2015). In future, when the economy can able to recover from the crisis position, the demand of talent acquisition will also increase. Furthermore, employees also have identified that they have to work harder at the time of economic downturn. However, sometimes there is significant impact on the level of engagement that is crucial to productivity and discretionary effort. Since, it is very tuff to engage a group of employees if they are resentful. According to Deepika & Rani (2014) drive to get more out of the limited resources may always not have positive impact on the productivity. As a result, when organization requires high-level engagement from its employees, it can find itself working with low level of engagement.
Every organization puts huge amount of focus on the increase in the sales volume as well as reducing the operating cost so that it can able to increase the profitability of the company. Therefore, an expectation arises that organization would do everything so that it can able to get the result in a given time (Hobson, 2013). This is very important factor for those MNCs that operate in different parts of the world. Since, demands employees to work on different timeframe. However, organizations have to develop its structural efficiency in such a way that will help to redesign the job roles of the employees. As opined by COLLIER (2016) skilled and talented employees are often found to be significantly more profitable and productive. Therefore, stretching them too much can actually affect the performance level of the employees. Thus, flexibility concept has changed from its original paradigm to a certain extent that is inevitable and necessary.
In the present competitive environment, roles and responsibilities of every group of employees are completely different. Therefore, organizations will have to consider various factors so that it can able to fulfill the requirements. According to Richmond & Rohlfing (2013) extended working hour can have major negative impact on performance level of the employees as well as on those people that are associated with employees like their families. Many studies have identified the fact that long working hours have greater complex relationship with the risk factor. Since, working hour can influenced by different factor that includes employee performance, social life abnormalities and non-work responsibilities. Long working hour also creates negative impact on the sleeplessness and time for family and personal life. Therefore, it creates fatigue, turbulence, negative attitude at workplace that leads to fall in the performance level of the employees. Goodman (2012) mentioned that this not only dampen the performance level of the organization but also have negative effect on the community. Since, negative attitude towards the work can actually increase the chance of automobile accident, unintentional errors and industrial mishap. Particularly, the employees whom work in a 24 hours shift time, extended working hour can reduce attention, alertness and concentration level (Lewis et al., 2014). Many studies have identified the fact that longer shifts have major negative impact on the quality of work of an employee.
Hence, if organization keeps on extending the working hour of the employees to minimize cost and utilize flexibility concept, it actually hamper the quality of work. Therefore, it demands certain level of commitment from the management of the organization so that the motivation and the quality of work of the organization remain intact. Otherwise, the utilization of flexible working hour regarding work-life balance can have major negative impact on the business purpose of an organization (Bartlett, 2013). As a result, management of the organization will have to encourage all the employees so that they can feel motivated towards working for extended hours. Therefore, management role regarding the utilization of flexible working hour described as follows:
- Manager of organizations will have to set example to encourage its employees finish work within the time period.
- Organizations will have to provide sufficient amount of training regarding the time management technique so that the employee can able to balance their professional and personal life.
- Management also will have to separate all the important activities perform by the employees so that performance of every employee can be observed specifically.
- Management will have to develop effective horizontal as well as vertical communication system. This is crucial, as it will help employees to share their knowledge regarding an important decision of the organization. This will keep engage them at the workplace and also reduce the negative effect of the extended working hour on the work-life balances of the employees.
- Management also has to express their satisfaction at the time of achieving a particular target and also have to recognize the performances of the employees (Penson, 2016). Since, recognition has the potential to draw employee to work for extended hours that will minimize the negative impact of extended hours on the work-life balances.
- Management also has to encourage to avail their leaves during the lean season of the organization in order to minimize the stress level.
Therefore, the study highlighted that if an organization wants to utilize the present level of employees for extended hours, it have to motivate all its employees by taking care of their psychological and other needs through proper recognition, incentives and wages. Since, it will create positive impact on the motivational level of the employees (Lyness & Judiesch, 2014). Therefore, it will help them minimize the negative impact on the work-life balance. Hence, the performance of managers and employees need to measured and recognized properly to increase their efficiency for the betterment of the organization (Fenech, 2014). Otherwise, extended hours not only will damage the concept of flexible working hour but also will increase the dissatisfaction regarding the work-life balance of the employees.
In present situation, the concept of work-life benefits have moved forward from traditional approaches of providing cars, significant amount of bonus and other perks to satisfy the psychological requirement of an employee. Since, the present competitive business environment does not allow the companies to spend extra amount, which can actually cause to face reduce share of the market (Balance, 2013). Therefore, organizations do not only look to depend only on the monetary compensation to satisfy the psychological needs of the employees as they have done in the previous decades. As economic recession force to cut off the number of employees, it had created a sense of uncertainty on the mind of the employees. Hence, it becomes extremely crucial for the companies to manage the remaining employees after the layout. Therefore, the companies will have to focus on the provided amount of benefits along with other programs such as retirement plans and insurance. Particularly, health insurance is one of the most important benefits that every modern organization trying to provide to its employees and their families so that they can able to feel more secure regarding their position in the organizational structure. As opined by Kinman & McDowall (2014) organizations will have to provide significant amount of benefits so that it can able to get the best help possible help from the employees at the time of economic turnaround. Hence, it will help organizations to set its benchmark to the level where it can able to receive major benefits from the market.
Increase in the amount of pressure from different competitive work environment are leading to conflicting priorities for government and employees. Since, it creating considerable amount of stress for the employees, as they have to juggle with the family and work responsibilities. In addition, financial strains in the economy have led to cut some of present policies or postponement of the policy. Since, it is often identified that change in policy in the organizational structure can have huge amount of potential negative impact on the business processes of an organization. According to Saeed & Farooqi (2014), extreme workload and low level of job security can have major impact on the work-life balance of an employee. Since, in extreme work pressure an employee cannot able to manage time to spend with their families and even if they do, the mind will be still focus on the way they can able to perform their responsibility in an effective way. On the other hand, job security is a factor that is highly correlated with motivational level of the employees. Since, if employees can able to feel secure regarding the future of its job, they can able to manage or plan their professional and personal life in a much more effective way (Stokes & Wood, 2016). It also allows the employees to form a long-term plan for them, which have the potential to create a huge amount of impact in maintaining the personal as well as the professional life of the employees.
For maintaining the zeal of the employees at the workplace, employers need to implement effective steps (Darcy et al., 2012). For instance, organizations can make it clear that with the combined effort it can able to overcome the challenges that arises in the downturn. Hence, employees will have to give more than hundred percent at the workplace so that when market recovers both the party can able to achieve higher level of benefits. The organizations also have to share the knowledge to the employees regarding the kind of potential positive as well as negative impact flexible working hours can have on the work-life balance of the employees. The organizations also have to mention the importance of the employees regarding the success of the organization and cutting of the number of employees is forced on the organization by the economical downturn. Organizations also have to represent the present situation to the employees and also have to conveyed the message regarding the reasons for which organizations is looking to have extra hours of effort. As per the article by Shanafelt, Hasan & Dyrbye (2016) this practices of the organizations will help them to motivate it employees and they will focus more on the organizational well-being. Hence, it will not only help According to Harper (2013) economic downturn demands organizations to utilize each and every resources to its fullest. Since, economic downturn forces the organizations to cut its operational cost to a great extent. It forces organization to impose extra pressure on the available resources. Therefore, employers will have to encourage employees to finish their work within the allocated time. Hence, it will allow organizations to work with a greater efficiency. However, employees will have to provide appropriate knowledge so that they can able to perform in this extreme work pressure environment. Organizations also will have to ensure that time and other resources must not get wasted and margin for non-judicious will have to be prevented in an effective manner. Employees will have to ensure that every work has been performed in an excellent manner (Kinman & McDowall, 2015). Every job consists of many subparts that have to be handled properly. Hence, organizations first have to educate employees regarding which part of the job is more important and which is comparatively less important. This will allow organizations to focus on the important task much more effectively. Hence, company can able to allocate its resources effectively, which will help organizations to fight with the impact of economic downturn.
According to Kimura (2016) high work pressure increases the chances of grievances. Therefore, organizations will have to counter it by creating an environment in which management can share their views in an open and effective ways. This would help to develop a proper harmony in the workforce, which will increase the effectiveness of teamwork. As the per the case study, economic downturn need mutual cooperation from employers and employee, as it could leads to a sense of attachment in the mind of employees towards their company. This would lead higher commitment and better performance from the employees. Furthermore, employers should provide enough power to the employees and also give them confident to achieve stated goals (Gatrell et al., 2013). Hence, even if the economy is facing crisis, employers need to express satisfaction when the employees able to achieve desired level performance. Otherwise, employees might not show any interest to give extra effort for the well-being of the organization.
As per the article by Lunau et al. (2014) organizations also have to made a conscious effort to remain unbiased so that no employees can able feel neglected, which can major negative impact on the performance level of the employees. In fact, the organization will have to make sure no unethical judgment can be made on the organizational structure. Since, effective decision-making can lead an organization to utilize all its employees to its fullest. Hence, if an employers can able to implement these methodologies, it could definitely manage to provide employees a proper work-life balance at the time of economic downturn.
In present business environment, working hour and time is changing continuously. Therefore, employees will have to adjust according to the change in the requirement of the organizations. Since, flexible working hours allows organization to attain customers at any given period of time of a day, which not only increases the satisfaction level of the customers but also can influences the revenue level of the organizations as well. However, flexible working hour also has its specific level of disadvantage. As it create more pressure on the existing employees, management of the organization will have to provide necessary support to the employees. Otherwise, it can have immense negative impact on the organizational process. However, in presence of work-life balance, employees can perform their responsibilities in an effective way, as it creates a win-win situation for the company. Thus, companies will have to implement strategies so that it can able to maintain proper work-life balance in the economic downturn also.
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