Life is like a game and an individual has to play with work, family, health, friends and spirit. Work is like a rubber ball. If dropped it will bounce back but the other four aspects family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. Assuming one of these are dropped they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. One must understand that and strive for balance in life.
Industries have realized the importance of the above. Organizations are setting up policies for maintaining a work life balance. They are going in for innovative methods to keep their employees happy and satisfied, as it makes office a better place to work and also positively impact productivity. The concept of work-life balance (WLB) is not a new but with the changing pace of life and increase in stress levels, negatively affecting the quality of work, has made many organizations think about the strategies for maintaining a work life balance.
There is a strong link between work life balance policies and reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and job satisfaction. Other benefits include improved recruitment and retention rates with associated cost savings, a reduction stress, greater levels of job satisfaction and loyalty and an improved corporate image.
The work life balance strategy offers a variety of ways to reduce stress levels and increase job satisfaction of the employees. The fundamental principle of designing activities around the topic of work life balance is that work should be part of life.
Companies are ready to do everything possible to keep their employees happy and are pampering them like never before with new policies like flexi-timings, day care centers, fun and games at work, team outing spas and for kids, extended maternity leave, health care centers, medical insurances, fun and games at work, team outing, spas and gyms at office etc.
Employees tend to feel motivated when they feel that the organization is putting extra effort in providing a healthy balance between work and life. Motivated employees not only enhance the productivity but also help creating a positive work environment at office.
Work life balance is a choice an individual has to make. However, it is the organization that needs to take an initiative to help the employees. Today, an employee is not looking at their employer just a job but they want the company to care for their work life balance and their well being. If a company addresses these needs, in addition to providing great career opportunities, they can be very successful in providing job satisfaction to the employee.
Companies are adopting new means to ensure that their employees get enough time to enjoy their personal life and spend time with family.
Another recent trend is the sabbatical. Certain companies encourage employees on completion of certain period at work to take time for a year to rethink and re-plan his/her career or just to take a break, relax and rejuvenate.
Firms are going for innovative practices to keep their employees happy. Even a business solution providing company, promotes ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) culture within the organization, negating the age old dogma that equates physical presence with productivity and encouraging people to focus on working smarter rather than longer. Another attempt by the company to manage work-life balance is to encourage all employees to take a minimum of seven days annual leave in a year. It is the responsibility of the reporting managers or supervisors to ensure that the employees reporting to them take this leave.
Some organizations have initiatives to provide timely assistance to the employees in a crisis situation rising out of financial or personal problems.
At Accenture, they believe that telecommuting is one of the key tools for attracting and retaining employees especially women employees. Our employees have the flexibility to exercise a need based work from option as it helps them more in maintaining balance between work and home. The benefits of telecommuting include increased productivity, lower attrition, less number of leaves taken, cost savings on infrastructure and of course an extremely happy workforce.
Firms are not leaving it at this point. They also evaluate the results of these initiatives to ensure that all these initiatives have the desired impact.
Company heads talk informally with the staff to understand how they are balancing their personal and professional lives and whether the organization is facilitating this well.