effect of work-life balance on organizational performance of the Nigerian manufacturing firms
The concept of work-life balance (WLB) is to craft and safeguard supportive and healthy work environments which enable employees to have balance between their paid work and personal/family responsibilities. It is defined as: “a satisfying, healthy, and productive life that includes work, play and love; that integrates a range of life activities with attention to self and to personal and spiritual development; and that expresses a person’s unique wishes, interests and values. It contrasts with the imbalance of a life dominated by work, focussed on satisfying external requirements at the expense of inner development, and in conflict with a person’s true desires” (Kofodimos, 1993, p. 13). As the demand of work is increasing the issue of WLB is becoming more and more relevant around the globe. Governments as well as managers are constrained to solve the issues of work-life balance. No doubt that in the upcoming years this issue is going to be one of the most imperative issues that the HR managers will be managing. Her Excellency the Governor General of New Zealand, Dame Silvia Cartwright, said in her state address: “Work is but one dimension of living and should not crowd out and distort family life, recreation and personal development… Work-life balance should seek to raise the profile of activities other than work and should contribute to the government goals of a growing economy and an innovative and inclusive society ” (Prebble, 2005, p. 3)
Though it looks simple, as a matter of fact, it is very tough to create a borderline between the two dimensions of life and fulfil the responsibilities of both ends. Organisations around the globe are becoming more proactive and trying to come out with policies and practices to create harmony in the work and family life of their employees. There is a general awareness among employers that without paying attention to the employees’ well-being it would be difficult to retain competent employees (Hughes and Bozionelos, 2007). Businesses are making a conscious effort to create a WLB to enhance performance and reduce the temptations of employees leaving a job. The WLB strengthens the loyalty and results into productivity of the employees. In the absence of this balance there will be an intrusion as described by Hayman (2005) that WLB refers to the sum total of the scores attained by the working professional on three dimensions, that is, work intrusion with personal life, personal life interfering with work and work/ personal life improvement as measured by WLB scale. Looking at the nature of roles that women play, they are more likely than men to report high levels of responsibility overload and caregiver stress. Obviously, women dedicate more hours to non-job related activities than men, i.e., domestic work, child and elder care. Moreover women also experience not as much of support from their spouses for their careers as men. It used to be the case that only women complained about the role overload but now men also complain of work-life conflict (Lyons et al., 2007). Such situations are making the employers increasingly aware of the cost implications associated with over-loaded employees such as: cost of operations and production, absenteeism, commitment, regularity, and performance (Birnbaum et al., 2005).