Balancing Work and Family Demands
Often, individuals working in an organization equally have other roles that they are responsible for and these primarily are those of the family. At times, individuals already are employed before they get into marriage and family life while at other times; there is prior planning such that the couple is able to pick out the job that is most relevant and suitable for the family’s economical as well as social needs. Both situations notwithstanding, couples and individuals often find themselves in situations where they face one challenge or the other pertaining how to create a balance between family responsibilities and those of work such that they can find personal fulfillment.
The challenges faced include: when both spouses are working such that there is no clear-cut margins on who should handle which family responsibility; when there is so much demand at work that there is no time to take care of vital family chores, when family gets the better of one’s time such that the work in the office remains sluggish and this may end up in demotion and; when there is too much office work that one is incapable of taking care of themselves (Balmforth and Gardner, 2006).
These are just a number of the possible weighty situations that could arise. These among others call for plans that will focus on creating a balance between work and family. This document presents three among quite a number of programs that have been effective in creating work-family balance in different organizations for different situations.
The programs that have been developed and used in various organizations concerning work-family balance have been developed across complex issues. As have been hinted in introduction, these issues include career path and development, financial values, time management, gender roles, among others.
Moreover, more complex factors determine how individuals make the choices that they do make. These constitute culture which is molded by religion, original families, societies and clubs, and pass times among others. All these shape decision, and decision has consequences that are far reaching in our lives.
On assessment of the various programs, a good balance has been found to have several characteristics. According to a study by Sandy Epstein on BlueMom.com, these ones include: they make one’s life feel comfortable by creating enough time for the family while at the same time not expending too much effort; they enable one to deal with minor drawbacks that are at the same time emergencies such as having a car breakdown; they enable one to make fulfilling goals that pertain their career development and professional path.
Given that time management is a critical factor that influences work-family balance, most of these programs include those that give scheduling options. The first on discussion is that of alternative work schedules. This one allows employees to use unconventional schedules unlike the usual 8 am to 5 pm schedule. They can work from 9 to 6 or 8 to 4, depending on the amount of work that needs to be complete in a given time. In addition, alternative work schedules allow for a lunch break long enough to take care of some family needs. For instance one could take their children to school during that break. Moreover, this type of program can allow the employees to complete their job descriptions either earlier on or later in the weeks such that they can have a day or two off from work to take care of other responsibilities that are under their mandate.
Flexi place has been used as a work-family balance program by many organizations. This one allows for a problem resolution on the aspect of gender roles. For instance, if the mother is expected to take care of the children, they can work at home and submit their work online. In addition, flexi place will allow for individuals to pursue other dreams such as taking up further education or when one is phasing into retirement. However, in as much as flexi place may seem as a viable program, care must be taken to ensure that one does not overwork at home and abdicates the responsibilities they were to take care of them.
Thirdly, job sharing has been another program that has been useful. According to a study conducted on professional couples who are dual earners and at the same time have thought of themselves to be successful in creating the work-family balance-the report has been documented in Zimmerman et al, 2003- marital partnership has been a most helpful aspect. The job sharing not only involves putting bread on the table but also doing house chores and taking care of the children.
Other programs that have been effective include part-time employment, defining roles in the family, and sabbaticals in the workplace, on-site child care and coverage for emergency child care among others. The adaptive strategy has also been found effective, where individuals choose to derive purpose and enjoyment from work and prioritizing family before office work.
Place Alternative work schedules, flexi place and job sharing among others have been found to be viable programs that deal with the need to create a work-family balance. The challenges of marriage and family do not come singly with a solution but involve more than one dimension of reasoning. Every individual so does every couple have suitable solutions for their own preferences.
Needless to say, it is important that there is prior planning, the willingness to plan and follow plans, and the ability to work together to effect the plans are inbuilt within any family unit to bring about effective work-family balance.