This paper discusses the various trends in work life issues. Their pros and cons have also been mentioned and explained. The widespread impacts of factors such as ethics, social responsibility and workplace spirituality on current and previous thinking has been described. The aspect of HR with reference to strategic partner to business and other such impacts have been elaborately explained in this essay.
Current Trends in Work-Life Issues; Pros and Cons
Both, positive as well as negative trends exist when it comes to the work-life issues. They are as described under.
A benefit that is observed in the current trends in the work-life issues is that most organizations are offering flexible working time to its employees. The most common kind of flexible work that is observed is the trend of part time work. 30% of the employees are found to benefit from this out of this ratio, 24% are men and the rest is women. It also includes 35% of managers that are found to have taken advantage from this facility.
A large number of organizations are focusing on methods to create balance between the work-life issues. Almost all the employees prefer to work from home and the reasons they provide for doing so is related to work. Approximately 80% of the people who work from home are managers. (Thaw, 2000)
The trend of making the employees stay for long hours is the most persistent among all the cons. A large number of employees are found to work in excess to the normal work hours. This includes almost half the number of employees. It is recorded that the staff works for an extra of 9 to 10 hours. The managerial jobs also face this issue. The managers are estimated to work for approximately 60 extra hours per week. Women obviously cannot adopt such working trends hence men are most commonly found to suffer from this problem. This problem leads to another issue and that is rise in the health care fee. People working for long hours are subjected to the problems of stress. The baby boomers tend to retire more quickly than the required time. The intensity in the work environment increases as the organizations aim to achieve their goals with insufficient employees. (Thaw, 2000)
Impact of Ethics, Social Responsibility and Workplace Spirituality on Previous and Current Thinking
Impact of Ethics:
Ethics has a very important impact on the current thinking of the work-life issues. The ethical behavior can change due to a number of factors that exist in eth workplace. For example work load can bring about a negative change in an individual’s behavior. Employees tend to become cranky. An employee needs to be decisive rather than being dictatorial and demanding. A manager’s ethical behavior requires him to be persuasive rather than exhibiting the characteristic of dramatic and sentimental. These kinds of ethical attitudes can have an adverse effect on the work-life issues.
Impact of Social Responsibility:
The steps taken with respect to the social responsibility are working hours, paternity leave, childcare, vacation, telecommuting etc. Organizations have been providing their employees such packages that prevent them from working more than 40 hours in a week. Paternity leave is an issue that has gained popularity since the Family and Medical Leave Act has been passed. This is done in order to give relief to the pregnant women. US organizations offer a leave of minimum 12 weeks. The methods that are offered in the area of child care is that the organizations are providing programs after the school timings, subsidized infant care, transference of services etc.
HR as a Strategic Partner to Business
With the changing trends in the business environment, HR has become an important element in the process of business. Being on the position a strategic business partner, HR has been able to create durable value. The post of HR sets the platform for the strategic qualities. It provides direction and information for the HR generalists who further work to implement and become accustomed to these strategic tones. HR’s function is to take part in the strategic planning process regarding the corporate sector. This is important so as to understand the requirements of the business for the upcoming year. It is also essential for the HR department to focus on setting and planning their personal calendar and focus needs to be laid on the corporate agenda in order o give support to the position of HR as a strategic partner to business. The role of HR as a strategic partner to business can also be understood with alignment to a line manager. In order to become an effective strategic partner to business, HR should take serious steps where the formulation and implementation of a particular strategy is concerned.
HR as a strategic partner to business needs to keep in mind the two major factors involved in the business cycle. They are as follows; they need to plan out the strategies in such a manner that they are in complete collaboration with the organization’s goals. Secondly, the reviews related to organization and leadership is carried out in the same time as the reviews related to business and operation. (Ulrich, 1997)
How Generation X/Y Are Changing Work-Life Issues
Before we analyze the changes that are being brought about by generation X and generation Y, we need to know who they are. There is no consensus on the birth dates of that could define generation Y. A general agreed upon concept states that generation Y includes more than 70 million Americans who were born in the period of 1977-2002.
Generation X and generation Y are bringing about a number of changes in the work-life issues. This is due to a change in their attitude towards work. They are young and they are smart having the ability to change the world around them.
Unlike boomers, who were most likely to put high priorities in their work careers, today’s workers are more concerned with making their job fit in with their life style. They require jobs that offer flexibility, vacations, leaves, telecommuting facilities etc.
It is very common in the generation X and generation Y to adopt methods that would assist them in saving money for their retirement. They start doing so even before they have reached the age of 25.
The common trend of changing jobs has become persistent in both the generations. They do not expect to stay in a job or career for too long. They are referred to as multistakers i.e. they can deal with a number of tasks at one time. This is indeed very beneficial for the organizations. (Salkowitz, 2008)
Impact of Leadership on Work-Life Issues
Effective leadership is important and essential for all the organizations and vice versa. The impacts that leadership has on the work-life issues are described below:
The factor that contributes the most to an employee’s commitment is to identify and recognize the employees’ needs as far as the work/life needs are concerned. A leader carries out these functions in an effective manner. He communicates with the employees and hence has complete knowledge about their needs and desires.
If the work-life issues are not addressed in a proper manner, they are bound to have adverse and damaging effects on the credibility of an organization. It is important for a leader to offer perks and facilities to the employees so that they are satisfied with their jobs and can carry it out in an efficient manner. (Kossek, 2005)
The above article reviews the various work life issues that exist in an organization. Their nature has been discussed and methods have also been suggested which might prove to be helpful in coping with these issues.