The Benefits of Work-Life Balance
Many leading organizations in overseas countries such as IBM, Merrill Lynch, Pfizer and Accenture have introduced work-life programmes within their organizations to help their employees achieve an effective balance in their work and family/personal life. These companies believe that it makes good business sense to provide such programmes to their employees due to the financial and non-monetary benefits that can be reaped.
In general, the implementation of family-friendly policies is associated with positive outcomes (Poelmans 2001). Some of the benefits in the implementation of family friendly policies are associated with less work-family conflict (Goff, Mount & Jamison 1990), reduced turnover intention (Grover & Crooker 1995) and reduced stress (Johnson 1995). Efforts by managers to enhance organizational commitment are likely to have the additional benefit of helping workers cope better with the competing demands of work and family (Berg, Kalleberg & Appelbaum 2003).
In addition, many overseas studies have also shown that there is a symbiotic relationship between work and person/family life. It is understandable that employees who are able to effectively balance the demands of work and their personal/family life are motivated to give their best a work. In short, work-life strategy can align the corporate and individual goals to attain a win-win scenario for all by addressing the business needs of the organizations and the individual needs of the employees.
While the direct financial payback of Work-Life Programmes is difficult to quantify, there has been already ample research evidence gathered on experience of firms in reaping the intermediate benefits of Work-Life. These intermediate benefits in turn contribute to the better performance of companies. Major intermediate benefits are:
1. Reduced stress, absenteeism and health costs:
Employees today are generally more stressed which reduce performance levels. Absenteeism due to family commitments and stress could be a major reason for low performance levels. Work-Life initiatives improves employee performance by reducing absenteeism, lateness, health care and sick-leave and hence their related costs. People who are free of worry about what is going on at home can be more productive at work.
2. Improved staff morale and engagement:
Work-Life helps employees lead a healthier and more balanced life by allowing them to better concentrate at work, improving the work environment by increasing motivation and job satisfaction. Other studies have shown that improved staff morale lead to more committed staff and better performance.
3. Improved customer satisfaction:
Better customer response is possible through telecommuting and the longer operating hours that can be arranged by giving employees flexibility. At the same time, more motivated employees who have their personal needs addressed are more likely to go the extra mile to keep customers happy. Turnover, and the subsequent need for re-establishment of relationship and rework, is also listed as major factor contributing to loss of customers.
4. Reduced costs:
Office rental and utilities savings due to telecommuting are the strongest quantitative researches to show the financial benefits of Work-Life Programmes.
5. Improved recruitment, retention and reduced turnover:
Work-Life initiatives give organisations a human face that allows prospective employees to distinguish one employer from another. To attract employees and hold on to them, forward thinking companies are letting their employees know that they are just as concerned about their employees lives outside work and about helping them to manage their work and personal commitments and aspirations. Work-Life Programme’s key advantage is therefore positive branding in recruitment and retention of talent. Employee referrals also increase.