Women employment has become a common feature in India. People have started realizing that it is an aspect of equality in practice and it is essential for women empowerment. Work-life balance is a recent concept applied to all the types of working population. But its application has significance very much with working women population. Most of the present day women employees are able to balance between work and life, as work is an advantage for their economic independence and empowerment. The present article is an outcome of a research study, a part of a doctoral study of the author that highlights the factors that induce the work-life balance among women employees.
The role of women was limited only to their house hold activities earlier. The present education and facilities available have encouraged women to attain their goal in this corporate world. Many organizations are at present ready to formulate various welfare policies for women in order to attract and retain women work force. In the present global scenario, without women participation the economy of the country may not be growing in the right direction. Organizations are ready to tap the knowledge of the women work force. Most of the women of the present day are career oriented to achieve good position for leading a comfortable life with self-confidence and economic independence. In order to support their parents or spouse and children, women are working hard to strike a balance between their personal and work life. Financial needs of the family make women to come out from home and work hard for their livelihood. Sometimes they tend to choose even difficult jobs in order to satisfy their need.
Need for the study
An attempt was made to study profiles of women employees who work in different organizations. It aimed to know as how women are balancing between work and life. What are all the factors contributing for balanced work life and personal life are the key area in this study. The main objective of the study is to determine the factors facilitating management of work and life for women employees working in different organizations in and around Coimbatore.
Concept of Work Life Balance
The biggest challenge for working women is how to balance the demands of family and career. Career and goals are the most important factors in life. Most of the women are coming forward to work in order to support their family. This change is now natural and dynamic due to change of environment and economic conditions. Women are getting into jobs and they continue to work even after marriage. But a married woman has more responsibility than man in taking care of young children and family.
Work-life balance is the optimal arrangement of an individual’s on-the-job and private time to facilitate health and personal satisfaction without negatively impacting productivity and professional success. Work-life balance is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home life with sufficient leisure. It is attaining focus and awareness, despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for their time and attention.
Reviews on Work Life Balance
Wesley and Muthuswamy (2005) in a study of 230 teachers in an engineering college in Coimbatore, India, found that work to family conflict was more prevalent than family to work conflict, thus indicating that permeability of work into family was more than permeability of family into work.
According to Powell and Greenhaus (2006), women may have difficulties managing their own Work-life balance, especially in work settings where they do not receive much formal support from their employer. If they want to strike any balance between work and their lives outside work, they must set this as a goal and find their own ways of achieving it.
N.Krishna Reddy , (2010) concluded in his article that the married women employees indeed experience Work Family Conflict (WFC) while attempting to balance their work and family lives. Thus, Organization needs to formulate guidelines for the management of WFCs since they are related to job satisfaction and performance of the employees.
Vijaya Mani (2013) has revealed the major factors influencing the Work Life Balance of women professionals in India such as role conflict, lack of recognition, organizational politics, gender discrimination, elderly care, and child care issues, quality of health, problems in time management and lack of proper social support.
Work life balance has gained considerable importance due to the demographic and sociological trends changing employee perception of work. It plays an important role in building the focus and it helps to have a cool and composed mind. The demand for these practices is definitely increasing at an unprecedented rate. Work life balance of women is a dependent variable being influenced by independent variables like age, educational qualification, spouse employment etc… A research study to understand the issue of work life balance is supposed to bring out such factors to light.
The research design used for the study is descriptive in nature. Descriptive research design is a scientific research method, which includes observing and describing the phenomena in detail. To know the factors influencing work life balance of the women employees a questionnaire was framed and collected data among women employees in different organizations.
All the organizations approached for research did not permit the researcher. Some organizations gave permission with a condition that only interested women employees have to be contacted for data collection. So, the type of sample is accidental sampling. As such the sample of the study is 309 women employees who are working in different organizations in and around Coimbatore.
Work Life Balance Scale
The questionnaire used to measure work life balance consisted of an arbitrary scale developed by the researcher with the help and support of the guide. The scale is divided into two parts. Part A was for Work Balance items and Part B meant for Life Balance. there were 25 Items. The reliability was worked out for a sample of sixty respondents and the value of Cronbach’s Alpha is 0.668.
Major Findings and Discussion
The data collected was analyzed using SPSS package. The results are classified as socio economic background of the women employees, the level of work life balance and the factors influencing Work-life balance.
Socio economic background of the Women Employees
The level of Work Life Balance of the Women Employees
The above table shows the classification of Work Life Balance levels among the respondents. Majority (33.7+34.6) of respondents are having low and moderate level of Work Life Balance.
Most of the women are choosing employment for financial support to the family. For this they are concentrating both in family and job. Being women their role expectation is more towards family than job. So, they have low and moderate level of Work Life Balance than high level of Work Life Balance.
The classification of ‘low’, ‘moderate’ and ‘high’ is done by working out Quartiles to the work life balance scores of the respondents. The Q1 value is 34 and the Q3 value is 38.
Factors influencing the Work Life Balance of Women Employees
Discussion on findings
Age: It was found that the respondents with 31 years to 41 years are having more work life balance. This is a middle age group. So, they are having clear cut idea for balancing work and life. So, it is easy for them to maintain Work life Balance in the middle age.
Order of birth: Based on the analysis that persons with their order of birth as “middle” have good work life balance than others. Usually first and the last order of children patronized by parents are not getting scope for balancing their life, whereas the middle order are supposed to balance their life situations on their own.
Education: It was established through this study that less educated have work life balance. This implies the value they attach with the work understanding the importance of work for their life. As they understand the importance of work they are able to have work life balance.
Native Place: It was found that the respondents who belong to rural native are having good Work Life Balance than others. Respondents with rural native may have their mother or some of the relative who would have made arrangements for balancing work and life. In this manner they have sources to sort out their balancing issues.
Marital Status: Based on the analysis it was found that the respondents who are married are good in Work Life Balance. For Employed women, their work life mostly starts before marriage. During that time itself they could have thought how to be balance between work and life.
Spouse Employment: It was found that the respondents whose spouse is not employed are able to manage with work life balance. When the spouse is available at home he may take care of most of the issues related to work life balance.
Nature of Job of the Spouse: If the nature of job of the respondents spouse is business it contributes for work life balance. Those who are engaged in business can adjust their timing to help the employed women. Such employed women are able to have better work life balance.
Number of dependents: It was found that the number of dependents of the respondents, if it is more than five, their work and life is balanced. If more number of dependents are available responsibility will not be more for the respondents alone and it can be shared.
Education of the Children: Based on the analysis those respondents who are having high school going children manage their work and life than others. As children are grown, helping them in their education by the working women is reduced. This contributes to their work life balance.
Tuition arrangements for Children: It was found that those respondents who have made tuition arrangements for their children are able to manage their work and life than others. After school hours homework the other educational related work of the children has to be carried out or monitored by the women in most of the families. In such situations tuition arrangements helps in maintaining work life balance.
Distance from Home to Work place: The data analysis shows that if the distance from home to office for the respondents is less than five kilometers, then their work and life is balanced. On the other hand when the travelling distance is more after working hours, it consumes more time to reach home. This makes them more tired and stressful to carry out rest of the family related work at home.
Qualification for the job: Based on the analysis of this study that the respondents, who feel that they are under qualified for the present job, have work life balance than others. There is every possibility for an under qualified employee to allot more time for work and less for family. They may maintain work life balance by making alternative arrangements to complete their family related role through neighbours, relatives help or by other means in order to fit themselves to their job.
Satisfaction with salary: It was found that the satisfaction with salary by the respondents is influencing the work life balance. As they get a considerable income from the job they try to balance between work and life. This is possible by spending money for home appliances or to pay for home maids which may reduce their time for home maker role.
Satisfaction with Leave Facility: Those respondents who are satisfied with leave facility are having work life balance. When enough leave facility is available it helps to carry out pending works at home especially for female employees.
Work life balance is really an issue for employees in the organization. This is more so for women employees. Perhaps this is the major reason for discussing on role conflict of women. An analysis of the findings of the present study clearly stipulates that women employees face work life balance. There are of course factors influencing the work life balance of women employees. Work life balance is very often influenced by personal factors than job factors. In organized sectors the work life balance problem of women is reduced by the provision of crèche and other welfare amenities. Employment of house maids, family members support, use of preschool centers and other secondary agencies may help women employees to balance between their work and life in the future years.
PhD Research Scholar in Social Work, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore-46.
Associate Professor & Head (Retired) Department of Social Work, PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore 14
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