The Relationship between Work and Family Life Table of Contents Abstract2 Introduction2 Objectives of the Study3 Review of Literature3 Work Life Balance4 Topics Targets of Research4 Methodology5 Findings and Discussions7 Number of Children7 Response Level to Statements of Section B8 Preferences on Methods9 Availability of the Methods9 Factors that Hinders Balancing the Work and Family Commitments10 Conclusion11 Recommendations12 References13 Appendix A — Questionnaire14 List of Figures
Figure 1 – Number of Children7 Figure 2 – Response Level to Statements of Section B8 Figure 3 – Preference on Methods9 Figure 4 – Level of Availability of the Methods10 Figure 5 – Factors that Hinders the Work & Family Commitements11 List of Tables Table 1 – Demographics of Sample7 Abstract This study attempts to investigate the relationship between the work and family lives. The research data was collected from 45 IT professionals working in a reputed software development firm based in Colombo.
The company, having a flat organizational structure, has about a total of 125 employees working at a stretch to meet tight deadlines. The findings of the study reveals the level of awareness, the fact that the employees do experience an imbalance between their work and family lives, the factors which leads to the above issue and the methods which could be used to overcome the situation. Based on the findings several recommendations are discussed at the end of the report. Introduction Today we live in a world where everything is happening and changing at a rapid phase.
Our ‘wants’ have become so complicated that most of us feel, doing one job is not sufficient. In addition due to certain factors such as globalization, high competition organizations strive to make maximum profits using minimum resources. As a result employees have become workaholic that they do not even have time to think that they do have a personal life as well. In the mean time the employees also do have many responsibilities, out of the office such as issues of spouse, children, parents, relatives have to be taken care though neglected.
In simple terms unlike good all days where people ‘work to live’ now the concept has changed to ‘live to work’. The ‘alienation’ concept which was introduced by Kalr Marx is very much applicable today. The increase in female labor, single parent families, dual career families, aging population has made the situation more complicated. “Employees, especially the younger generation who are faced with long hours, the expectations of 24/7 connection and increasing pressure of globalization are beginning to demand changes from their employers.
Also, people in the elderly employee segment are working longer now than in the past and are demanding different work arrangements to accommodate their life style needs. ” (Abercromby, 2009) However the present trend has created many new socio psychological problems. It has a direct impact on the individual which affect their physical and mental health, relationship with the family, society etc. On the other hand it does affect the employer as well. Low productivity, high turnover, increased absenteeism, accident rates are few examples.
Therefore many organizations have taken several initiatives such as sending on compulsory paid leave, offering flexi working hours, compressed working days etc, to mitigate this problem. Since, ultimately this issue affect the society and becomes a social problem, many governments have taken initiative by setting several standards, imposing laws etc. Being professionals or for those who are looking a career in any profession, it is important to have a thorough knowledge on the above issue, and have a clear idea, thereby it will be useful in the practical implication.
Also knowing the importance of the subject matter, many academics have already started to conduct comprehensive researches, studies and have introduced several models for academic purpose, made several recommendations to the individuals, organizations as well as to the governments. Finally, the most important fact is that the self management, where the individual should know to control their behaviors, expectations, understand their roles and limitations regarding work life balance. Objectives of the Study The main objectives of this study were to : 1) To identify the perception of the employees regarding the work family balance. ) To determine whether the employees of this organization do balance their work family lives 3) To identify the methods which could be used to balance the work family lives. 4) To identify the factors of this organization which hinders the work family balance. Review of Literature The main purpose of this literature review is to discuss what is exactly meant by work and family lives The above subject is referred in different names, such as work-life conflict, work-life balance etc. In addition an extract related to the work family conflict has been included to get a brief idea about the subject.
Work Life Balance Few of the definitions given by different authors are given below : “The notion that simultaneously engaging in multiple work and family roles is beneficial for the physical, mental, and relationship health of individuals. ” (Greenhaus & Singh, 2003) “… low levels of inter-role conflict and high levels of inter-role facilitation represent work-family balance. ” (Frone, 2003) According to Clark (2000), work-family border theory “explains how individuals manage and negotiate the work and family spheres and the borders between them in order to attain balance.
Central to this theory is the idea that ‘work’ and ‘family’ constitute different domains or spheres which influence each other…Given their contrasting purposes and cultures, work and home can be likened to two different countries where there are differences in language or word use, differences in what constitutes acceptable behavior, and differences in how to accomplish tasks”. In general we could say that, proper prioritization between the career life (work) and the personal life (family, pleasure, leisure, spiritual development), which should be equally treated as important can be considered as work family balance.
The moment we lose the balance then comes the ‘work family conflict’. Therefore the above two terms are closely inter related to one and other. Topics Targets of Research Zedeck (1992) describes the following three topics as targets of research in work family conflict. 1) The effect of work on family This area examines what impact work factors have on family matters. To express this relationship in terms of research design, ‘work’ is regarded as the independent variable and ‘family’ is the dependent variable. This perspective is most typical in organizational psychological research.
A common finding is that aspect of work (such as job stress and work schedules) have negative effects on families. 2) The effect of family on work This perspective is the opposite of the former and generally focuses on how structural or development aspects of the family have an impact on work behavior. For example some researchers have viewed family life as a “shock absorber” in that, if home life is positive, it blocks disappointment at work. Others view family responsibility as a major determinant of work absenteeism, tardiness. ) The family work interaction This third perspective views work and family as interacting and concludes that there is no simple or direct causal link between work and family matters. One view of the family work interaction concerns the compatibility or incompatibility of family work relationship and their impact on other process, such as the transition between roles. However there are many articles, journals regarding the subject matter, especially in the internet, and it is hereby recommended to read such materials for the enhancement of knowledge.
Methodology The organization which was selected to gather the data was an IT firm which develops software and market it to local as well as international clients. The organization had a very flat structure and the employees were mainly software developers, software engineers, quality assurance engineers, project managers and the CEO. The questionnaire was distributed and recollected in the form of softcopies which enabled the subjects to respond and to the researcher to collect, analyze data easily and quickly.
Sample: The sample for this study consisted of 50 randomly selected employees out of the population of 125 employees, representing all levels of the hierarchical positions and different age groups. This represents approximately 40% of the entire population. Out of the 50 employees 45 of them responded to the questionnaire yielding a response rate of 90%. Tool: The main tool used to collect data was a questionnaire which is a very effective tool in gathering data. The questionnaire consists of four (4) sections consisting of structured closed questions.
The questionnaire was carefully designed to cover a wider area using less questions. In addition informal interviews, discussions were conducted to get an idea about the organization and its nature of the business. Section A There are five (5) sub questions prepared to collect the background information of the subjects. Section B Section B consist of five (5) simple statements to find the subject’s perception, attitudes about the work, family balance as well as to find whether the subject is also a victim of the work family conflict.
Section C In this section five (5) common methods which are used to balance the work family lives are given to check the preference as well as it’s availability. Section D In this section four (4) common reasons which hinders the work family balance are given to check the applicability. The primary consideration regarding the physical form of the methodology is to provide subjects with an easily answerable questionnaire. Please refer Appendix A for the complete questionnaire. Demographics of the sample are shown in table 1. Total responses |45 |95% | |Gender |Male |40 | | |Female |5 | |Marital status |Married |30 | | |Unmarried |15 | |Age |Below 30 |35 | | |31 – 40 |6 | | |41 – 50 |4 | | |Above 50 |0 | |Number of children |1 |26 | | |2– 3 |3 | | |More than 3 |1 | | |Not applicable |15 | |Job category |Management |3 | | |Executive/Supervisor |20 | | |Rank & File |22 | Table 1 – Demographics of Sample Findings and Discussions The data obtained from the questionnaire were entered into an Excel file and several graphs were derived in order to analyze the data. Number of Children Firstly, to get an idea about the dependents, the number of children were obtained and the results are illustrated in figure 1. [pic]
Figure 1 – Number of Children When analyzing the data we note that 7% have two or three children and 33% are unmarried and therefore the number of children is not applicable. The remarkable facts are that 58% have only one child whereas only 2% have more than 3 children. Response Level to Statements of Section B The level of response (as a percentage) for the statements in this section was obtained and the results are illustrated in figure 2. [pic] Figure 2 – Response Level to Statements of Section B When we analyse the response the following important points were idenfied. • 100% believe that they can perform well when they can balance their work and family lives. 84% thinks that the employer also has a role in assisting the employee to balance his work and family lives. • 100% believe that, it is their (employee’s) responsibility to manage the work and family lives. • There is a mixed opinion about the flexi hours as some 42% believe that supervision is not necessary, 38% believe that supervision is necessary and the remaining (20%) has no comments. • 89% believes that they have to pay more attention in their work and family balance as they feel an imbalanced situation. Preferences on Methods The preferences on methods which will be useful to balance the work and family lives, were obtained and the results are illustrated in figure 3. [pic]
Figure 3 – Preference on Methods When we analyse the responses the following important points were idenfied. • 100% preferred to have, o Flexible working hours o Paid Time off for family emergencies and events o Paternity leave entitlement o Compressed working week • Only 7% preferred Part-time or reduced work hours, that is 93% did not prefer the option. Availability of the Methods The availability of the methods which will be useful to balance the work and family lives, were obtained and the results are illustrated in figure 4. [pic] Figure 4 – Level of Availability of the Methods When we analyse the responses the following important points were idenfied. 51% were enjoying the flexi hours facility where as 49% had stated that it is not applicable to them. • 100% confirms that paid time off for family emergencies & events and Compressed working week is not available. • 89% confirms that paternity leave is not available where as 11% has selected that it is not applicable to them. Factors that Hinders Balancing the Work and Family Commitments The factors which do hinders the work and family commitments were obtained and the results are illustrated in figure 5. [pic] Figure 5 – Factors that Hinders the Work & Family Commitements When we analyse the responses the following important points were idenfied. Long work hours (100%), weekend work (93%) has been chosen as the main factors that cause the imbalance. • 49% have problems in working overtime whereas 51% has stated that it is not applicable to them. • Shift work is not a problem at this particular organization because 100% confirms that is not applicable to them. Conclusion This particular study was carried out with five objectives. Upon analyzing the data, we could arrive into the below conclusions. • The perception of the employees regarding the subject matter, we could say that the majority of them has a clear idea about the subject, do believe that both the employer and the employee has an equal role in handling this matter. Majority of the employee are victims of this social problem. • A couple of major methods were identified to help overcome this situation and they are : o Flexible working hours o Paid Time off for family emergencies and events o Paternity leave entitlement o Compressed working week • A couple of factors which hinders the balance of work and family lives, in this particular organization, were identified and they are : o Long work hours o Compulsory over time o Weekend work We conclude our report with the following recommendations. Recommendations It was noticed that the flexible hours facility was given only to certain level.
Considering the fact that this is an IT firm, where the employees are required to meet tight deadlines and when needed they might have to work overnight, it is recommended to grant the flexi hours facility to all levels of employees who are directly involved in the software development process. Also if the Organization could try to implement the below it will be useful to the employees and to the organization as well. • Instead of working half a day on Saturdays, they could extend the working hours and have a five day week. • If the requirement for working overtime is considered as a common practice, it is recommended to increase the manpower. If the employees work long hours, it is recommended to give them sufficient breaks in between as well as granting some paid leave at the end of the project. • Though in Western countries paternity leave has been granted, in countries like Sri Lanka much concern has not been given to this aspect. However some organization do give 3 days paid leave to it’s employees as paternity leave and if this could be introduced and practiced it will be very helpful to the employee. • If an organization can have a policy for granting emergency leave the employees will get an opportunity to actively get involved in any emergency situation of his/her family.
In addition to the above, when we analyse the number of children (Figure 1) of the employees it was a significant fact that majority of them do have only one child. Since this study was not focused on the above subject, it is recommended to conduct a study to find the exact reasons for them, not to have many children, because in the long term this might cause many other socioligical problems. References Abercromby, M. (2009). A report on the importance of work-life balance. Retrieved December 05, 2010 from http://www. bia. ca/articles/AReportontheImportanceofWork-LifeBalance. Clark, S. C. (2000). Work/family border theory: Retrieved December 05, 2010 from http://wfnetwork. bc. edu/glossary_entry. hp. Frone, M. R. (2003). Work-family balance. Retrieved December 05, 2010 from http://wfnetwork. bc. edu/glossary_entry. php. Greenhaus, J. & Singh, R. (2003). Work-Family Linkages, Retrieved December 10, 2010 from http://wfnetwork. bc. edu/glossary_entry. php. Zedeck, S. (1992). Introduction : Exploring the domain of work and family careers, pp 1-32. San Fransicso Appendix A — Questionnaire Questionnaire on Work / Family Relationship December 2010 This questionnaire is designed to check the relationship between the work and family. Please provide your honest feedback and we assure that the confidentiality will be highly secured. Section A Gender | | |Marital Status | | | Male | | | Married | | | Female | | | Unmarried | | | | | | | | |Age Range (yrs) | | |Number of children | | | Below 30 | | | 1 | | | 31 – 40 | | | 2-3 | | | 41 – 50 | | | More than 3 | | | Above 50 | | | Not applicable | | | | | | | | |Job Category | | |Manager | | |Rank & File | | |Executive/ Supervisor | | | | | Section B Please give your opinion on the following. S# |Statement |Agree |Disagree |Neither | | | | | |Agree nor | | | | | |Disagree | |2 |It is the Employer’s responsibility to assist employees to balance their family lives. | | | | |3 |It is the Employee’s responsibility to manage his family life. | | | | |4 |Close supervision will be need for those who work on flexi hours | | | | |5 |I feel that it’s high time to focus on work family balance, as at the moment I feel | | | | | |there is an imbalance. | | | | Section C Which of the following, you think that will help you more balance your work and family commitments? S# |Method |Yes |No |Not available |Not applicable to | | | | | | |me | |2 |Paid Time off for family emergencies | | | | | | |& events | | | | | |3 |Part-time or reduced work hours | | | | | |4 |Paternity leave entitlement | | | | | |5 |Compressed working week | | | | | Section D Do Any of the following affect you, balancing your work and family commitments. S# |Factors |Yes |No |Not applicable to | | | | | |me | |1 |Long work hours | | | | |2 |Compulsory over time | | | | |3 |Weekend work | | | | |4 |Shift work | | | | Thank you for your time.