What can management do to improve work / life Balance?

A Bangalore based software company has a mobile office concept, where employees can access the company servers from any landline or even work at the customers’ site without having to go to office. It helps save real estate costs and provides quality family time for employees. The company plans to convert four or five sales offices to mobile offices this year. On an average, its employees work from home once a week. It is an accepted policy, but not a written one. Krishnan Padmanabhan co founder of Coral Grid which has now acquired by Triple point, a US multinational company, has flexible work hours. A laptop, a landline phone connection, and Internet connectivity at home enable him to work from home from time to time. It is up to Krishnan how he schedules his office activities during the day, which also leaves him with sufficient quality time to spend with his wife and two little daughters.

Many employees continue to work an eight hour day, five days a week. They are full time employees who report to a fixed organizational location and start and leave at a fixed time. But consistent with managers, attempts to increase their organizations’ flexibility and to support a balance between work and family a number of scheduling options have been introduced to give management and employees more flexibility. In addition to an increased use of temporary and contingent workers contemporary companies are looking at other options: flextime job sharing and telecommuting.

How does flextime work?

Flextime is a scheduling option that allows employees, within specific parameters to decide when to go to work. Susan Talbot’s work schedule at State far Insurance is an example of flextime. But what specifically is it?

Flextime is short for flexible work hours. Employees have to work a specific number of hours a week, but they are free to vary the hours of work within certain limits. Each day consists of a common core, usually six hours with flexibility and surrounding the core. For example, exclusive of a one hour break, the core may be 9am to 3pm with the office actually opening at 6am and closing at 6pm. All employees are required to be at their jobs during the common core period, but they are allowed to schedule their other two hours before or after the core time. Some flextime programs allow extra hours to be accumulated and turned into a free day off each month. Flextime has become a popular scheduling option – especially important for professional employees and Gen Xers. For instance a recent of firms, practices to enhance work /life benefits found that about 60 percent offered employees some form of flextime.

The potential benefits of flextime are numerous – for both the employee and the employer. They include improved employees motivation and morale reduced absenteeism as a result of enabling employees to better balance work and family responsibilities increased wages due to productivity gains, and the ability of the organization to recruit higher quality and more diverse employees

Flextime’s major drawback however, is that it is not applicable to every job. It works well with the job tasks for which an employee’s interaction with outside his or her department is limited. It is not a viable option when key people must be available during standard hours, when workflow requires tightly determined scheduling or when specialists are called onto maintains coverage of all functions in a unit.

Can employees share job?

Job sharing is a special type of part time work. It allows two or more individuals to split a traditional 40 hours a week job. So, for example one person might perform the job form 8am to noon while another performs the same job from 1pm to 5pm or both could work full, but alternate days

About one fourth of large organizations offer some sort of job sharing arrangement. Job sharing allows the organizations to draw upon the talents of more than one individual for a given job. It provides the opportunity to acquire skilled workers – for instance single parents with young children and retirees – who might not be available on a full time basis. Further it s an option form managers to use to minimize layoffs. The major drawback, from management’s perspective is finding compatible pairs of employees who can successfully coordinate the intricacies of one job.

  • Flextime definitely works. My current job offers flextime – you can come in the office between 5:30AM to 9:30AM and complete your 8 hours thereafter (with 2 10-minute breaks & a 30 minute lunch break). This is working for me. My previous job was a traditional office-hours only company and there was a point that I get bored going to work on the same time everyday. Flextime allows me to choose my preference of when to go to work (5:30AM-9:30AM time window).