WORK LIFE BALANCE

    
Work life balance may be defined as the ability of one to be satisfied and fulfilled in playing roles in both the family and professional sectors (Clark, 2000). In the ancient times, work life balance was referred to the idea of one dedicating more time to the professional sector than to the family. With the evolution of technology, there has been a shift on the definition on the basis that one’s family life is just as important as the professional life. In this sense the later definition of work life balance has been adopted (Tyson, 2000).

Work life balance in Saudi Arabia has effects on both the organizations and individuals. In organizations where these issues are not addressed, the environment is unfriendly and most employees tend to look for alternative places. Organizations that give attention to these issues have benefited in many significant ways (Beutell, 1985).

Organizations should incorporate work-life programs in their systems (Clark, 2000).This will help them in attaining new workforce methodologies and better relationship between the employers and managers. Employees can only work well if their needs are met. Once the issues of the employees are addressed, the productivity of the organization will increase. (Beutell, 1985).Work life may be viewed in different perspectives. One of the perspectives is the way in which the employee addresses the professional and family roles. An employee is expected to be the best at the work place at the same time, be the best in handling the needs of family life (Rothbard, 2000). Secondly, the way in which an employee is able to manage time allocated to organization’s work and family duties. The employee is not expected to be late for in the name that family issues were at hand. Similarly the employee is expected to give enough time to the family needs (Tyson, 2000).

Lastly the satisfaction, fulfillment and freedom the employee feels in playing the professional and family roles. The employee should be comfortable and at ease when handling both work related and family related issues. It is argued that these three perspectives have to merge in an employee’s life in order to term to balance the work life. Though the freedom of an employee sometimes becomes a threat to the development of the organization, it is paramount in ensuring that the employee delivers his best at the job place (Patterson 2005).

The human resource sector has developed in the recent years. . This development may be linked to the role the countries plays in supporting the private sectors like mining and agriculture and its efforts to boost the education system. With this, countries are able to grow economically and produce competent professionals. Saudi Arabia has a small population. These major challenges to organizations since most have to work with foreigners. In order to maintain their employees, most organizations have to adequately address the work-family issues that affect their employees. Programs and forums through which the employees’ needs may be discussed and addressed have been formed (Rothbard, 2000).Women have benefited a lot in organizations where work life issues have been addressed. This is linked to the fact that women have a major role to play in family life.

From their personal information, it was noted that six of the participants were male and two were female, all of them were married and had at least one child except one. All were working full time as Human Resource Managers and were nationals of Saudi Arabia. Six had attained a bachelor’s degree while two had master’s degree. Their ages ranged from twenty five to forty five years.The number of employee in the eight organizations ranged from 100-13,000.The average age in most of the companies were 35 years. Male employees were more than their female counterparts. Most of the employees were graduates and high skilled. Some of the employees were Saudi Arabian nationals while others were foreigners.

Most of the respondents cited work- life balance as a major concern in their organization on the basis that employees are  much productive when  all their needs are met equitably. For this, their organizations provide policies that are beneficial to the employees like loans with low percent or no interest, tickets for the employees’ family, house allowance, educational allowance, and flextime and furniture allowance. The participants confirmed that their organizations are attentive to work –family issues. To address the issue most of the organizations ensure that their employers feel secure in their workplace. This is achieved through addressing the work –family issue regularly. The organizations also form employees’ associations through which these issues may be raised. By addressing these issues, most of the organizations have been able to maintain their employees. The productivity of the organizations has improved with a larger percent and their employees have become more loyal.

It was noted that the   organizations freely adopts to work-family practices like flextime  contrary to the expectations that this adoption is due to pressure from   outside bodies like unions, government and societies. To adapt to these changes most organizations conduct annual surveys to determine the needs of the employees. Work-family practices are adopted to attract and retain employees since most employees will tend to leave their organization to others that address the changes. Employees will prefer in working in places where all their needs are met,

 

In Most organizations, employees are forced to work for long hours depending on work demand; this may be compensated through giving them bonuses and allowing them to rest when the workload reduces. In other organizations, work schedules are provided to help distribute the workload and avoid much pressure to the employees