One of the major challenges that career people face is striking a balance between their careers and family lives. This emanates from the complexity and demands of work life. Many careers are very demanding and therefore require long hours of work and absence from the family.
Many organizations have tried to solve this problem by developing flexible work schedules that are appropriate for employees with families. It is vital for employers to implement policies that encourage work-family balance to ensure that career people spend sufficient time with their children and spouses. Companies that help workers create this balance offer options such as telecommuting, maternity leave, paternity leave, sabbatical leave, job-sharing, and concierge services.
My preferred career-work balance
In the future, I plan to have a family. This means that it will be necessary to create career-family balance for me to play an active role in family matters. I would like to create that balance and ensure that I divide my time between work and family without leaning too much on one side.
Creating a work-family balance requires a lot of dedication and discipline because both are very demanding. That balance will ensure that I have a successful career as well as a happy family. I believe that the mindset of corporate America is not conducive to the type of work and family arrangement that would suit me because it does not offer maternity leave to employees (Shaw 2013). This discourages work-family balance that is an important aspect of job satisfaction.
Laws have been implemented to help employees create that balance. However, they have done little towards improving the situation. Many companies are offering their employees opportunities to play active roles in their families. For instance, they offer paid maternity and paternity leave to employees.
The United States government should require all companies to provide paid maternity leave. Also, it should help them implement such policies by offsetting certain financial expenses that emanate from such programs. The government has taken several measures to help employees create work-family balance. For instance, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires all companies to give paid leave to employees who need time to deal with matters that involve their families and health (Wallen, 2002).
Pregnancy and childbirth are examples of situations that are covered by the act. This act has limitations because it only applies to employees who have worked for a certain period at the same job. Therefore, it does not cover unskilled laborers. The government ought to play a key role in helping companies facilitate work-family balance policies. For instance, it should consider subsidizing child care and concierge services.
In the United States, statistics show that 54 percent of employed women are not paid during maternity leave (Wallen, 2002). The United States does not provide a good environment for people who want to pursue careers, and at the same time, play active roles in taking care of their families (Shaw 2013).
Steps for a specialized career-work balance program
It is necessary for companies to give paternity leave to employees who wish to play active roles in raising their children and spending time with their families. Only a small percentage of employers in the United States (less than 15%) offer paid paternity leave to their employees (Wallen, 2002). Men do not take paternity leave because if they do, they lose money. Many employers do not pay employees that are absent from work for long periods.
It is important for companies to make specialized organizational arrangements for workers who wish to combine career and child rearing. In case such arrangements are made, organizations would be required to take several steps to accommodate parental needs effectively. These steps include developing flexible schedules/working hours for employees, implementing the necessary police, considering options such as workplace childcare assistance, concierge services, and sabbatical leave, and adjusting financial expenditures.
One of the most effective options is to offer employees options for reduced hours to enable them to spend more time with their families (Shaw 2013). Another option is to offer employees paid leave in situations that warrant their absence from work. It is difficult for companies to introduce new benefit programs, especially in the current state of the economy. Therefore, employers can explore the option of flexible work schedules.
For example, they can introduce telecommuting and job sharing to allow employees to have time for their families (Wallen, 2002). In many companies, employees commute to a central workplace every day. However, telecommuting allows employees to work from home or other places that are convenient.
This is the most common method used by firms to enable the employee to create work-family balance. Employees should be ready to bear with the requirements of such arrangements because even though they provide convenience, it is easy to relax because of the absence of supervisors.
Employer responsibilities towards employees
One of the social responsibilities of an employer to an employee is to create an environment that promotes productivity and career development (Shaw 2013). A company must give employees to work out the particular work-family balance that fits them. Research has shown that companies that create organizational cultures that value their employees are more productive and valuable (Wallen, 2002).
Work-life flexibility is one of the strategies that many companies use to gain a competitive advantage because it leads to job satisfaction among employees (Shaw 2013). It is the social responsibility of employers to provide employees with meaningful work that promotes their welfare in different aspects of their careers. This means that the firm should make sure that its employees are happy and satisfied with their jobs.
Facilitating the development of work-life balance is one of the ways through which a firm can make its employees happy and satisfied (Shaw 2013). It is not beyond the scope of a firm’s social responsibilities because it is unethical to make employees miserable through inflexible work schedules that prevent them from spending time with their families. With current advancements in technology, it is easy to create flexible work environments that facilitate the creation of career-family balance.
Employers need to create flexible policies because that is the most effective way of attracting and retaining talented employees (Shaw 2013). Companies do several things to help employees create work-family balance. For instance, they create work environments fit for employees, offer childcare referral services, and implement flexible work policies.
Helping workers balance work and family is beneficial both to firms and employees. In today’s labor market, employers are interested in hiring people who can attain certain outcomes. This means that the number of hours spent at work is not as important as attaining the desired outcomes.
Shaw, William. (2013). Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases. New York: Cengage Learning.
Wallen, Jacqueline. (2002). Balancing Work and Family: The Role of the Workplace. New York: Allyn and Bacon.