QUALITY OF WORK LIFE (QWL)
It is almost impossible today to pick up a newspaper of news-magazine without finding a reference to quality of work/working life. In the search for improved productivity, manager and executives alike are discovering the important contribution of QWL. QWL entails the design of work systems that enhance the working life experiences of organizational members, thereby improving commitment to and motivation for achieving organizational goals. Most, often, this has been implemented through the design of jobs that afford workers more direct control over their immediate work environment.
According to J. LIoyd Suttle, â€œQuality of work life is the degree to which members of a work organization are able to satisfy important personal needs through their experiences in the organization.â€? More specifically, QWL may be set into operation in terms of employeesâ€™ perceptions of their physical and psychological well-being at work. It includes virtually every major issue that labor has fought for during the last two decades.
Major Issues in QWL
Jerome M Rosow, president of the Work in American Institute, has identified seven critical factors which will affect the quality of work life during the years ahead. These are pay, employee benefits, job security, alternative work schedules, occupational stress, participation and democracy in the workplace.
QWL must be built around an equitable pay programs. In future more workers may want to participate in the profits of the firm.
Since workers are now better organized, educated and vociferous, they demand more from the employers all over the world-apart from the pay-in the form of social security and welfare benefits as matter of right which were once considered a part of the bargaining process.
Conditions in the work environment must be created by the employer which will give all the employees freedom from fear of losing their jobs. A system must be created in which there are healthy working conditions with optimum financial security. The points stressed above are essential to improve the QWL in organizations.
Alternative Work Schedules
With a view to tackle job boredom, modern organizations have been experimenting with several forms of alternate work schedules such as four-day work week, flexi-time and part-time work. Compressed work week is a work schedule in which a trade is made between the number of hours worked per day, and the number of days worked per week, or order to work the standard length hours-four days, 10 hours each day or three days, 12 hours each day are examples of the QWL schedule. In India this is being implemented by a few companies successfully.
Managers of large manufacturing organizations report substantial savings by reducing start-up time and increasing energy conservation as well as the savings typically gained from increased employee morale, where the four-day work week, the oldest alternative work schedule, is utilized. With the condensed workweek, the employees gain no control over when he will work. In contrast, flexible working hours or a flexi- time schedule gives such control to an employee. Typically, the organization defines a core time (10 a.m-3p.m) during which all employees are expected to work, and then allows a range of time before and after this core period from which employees can decide their own arrival and quitting times, thus offering a real opportunity to reconcile personal and organizational demands. The reported success rate of flexi-time programs is impressive. Increased productivity, lower unit labor costs, and improved morale have been attributed to flexi-time. In the past decade, part-time work-especially in developed countries-has become a very popular innovative work scheduling alternative. The tremendous influx of women into the job market has increased the supply of part-timers as have family members looking for second incomes to keep pace with inflation. At the same time, managers have begun to realize the benefits-higher enthusiasm and lack of boredom â€“which part-time employees bring to specialized jobs.