Work- Life Balance, Quality of Life and Standard of Living: HR’s role in managing

these factors



Prepared for:
Feihan Ahsan
Faculty, BRAC Business School


Prepared by:
Shihab Anwar (ID# 12104109)
Safayet Aziz Khan (ID# 12104)
Ishtiaq Ahmed (ID# 12104011)
Sadia Amreen Mumu (ID# 12104121)
Samiha Nusrat (ID# 12104146)
Ayesha Siddiqua (ID# 12304014)




Date of Submission: April 15, 2014
2

Table of Content:





Description Page Number
1)Introduction 06
2)Topic acquaintance 06-07
3)Purposes and objectives
4)Methodology
5)HR‟s role in ensuring work life balance
a. A glimpse at real stories

6)HR‟s role in ensuring quality of life


7)HR‟s role in ensuring standard of living


8)Survey report
a. Bangladesh findings
b. International aspects

9)Recommendations
10)Limitations
11)Conclusion
12)References
3

1) Introduction:
“To manage is to forecast and plan to organize, to command, to coordinate and control”-
Henry Fayol. This is what management does. Manage all the factors to run and to guide a
company or organization to the goal they long to achieve. It is vast area where everything
needs to be synchronized properly and correctly in order to get the job done effectively and
efficiently. From planning to staffing and organizing to controlling, all the aspects play a
prime role in management but, the one that has submerged all others regarding importance is
the one called staffing and it is also the one where a new branch of management get initiated;
which is human resource management (HRM). HRM is the process of hiring, managing and
developing employees so that they become more valuable to the organization. It also includes
the task of conducting job analyses, planning personnel needs, recruiting the right people for
the job, orienting, training, managing wages and salaries, providing benefits and incentives,
evaluating performance, resolving disputes and communicating with personnel‟s at all levels.
As Edward L. Gubman observed in the Journal of Business Strategy, "the basic mission of
human resources will always be to acquire, develop, and retain talent; align the workforce
with the business; and be an excellent contributor to the business. Those three challenges will
never change."A human resource (HR) manger has to manage and supervise all these work in
a systematic and flourishing way because it ensures employee satisfaction, increase their
motivation level, boost up the standard of living, ensures quality of life, manage work life
balance and most importantly help the organization to snatch the goal it sets. Work life
balance is those services, programs and policies are designed to help employees to balance
their work and personal lives. According to Chimote, N., & Srivastava, V. N.(2013),work life
benefits become “win win” benefits because employees see the cost/ benefits value as
measured by reduced absenteeism turn over and reduced stressed related physical and
emotional illness. Hackman & Othman (1976) drew attention to psychological growth needs
as necessary considerations in Quality of Work Life. These needs include skill variety, task
identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback. And standard of living means the amount
of money employees have to meet their basic needs. As par the topic of our term paper we
conducted our research and we will highlight only on Work-Life Balance, Standard of
Living, Quality of Life and project our analysis based on how HR act in managing these
factors.

4

2) Topic Acquaintance:


Figure: 01
Work life balance:
Work-life balance is a concept that supports the efforts of employees to split their time and
energy between work and the other important aspects of their lives. Work-life balance is a
daily effort to make time for family, friends, community participation, spirituality, personal
growth, self care, and other personal activities, in addition to the demands of the workplace.
Work-life balance is assisted by employers who institute policies, procedures, actions, and
expectations that enable employees to easily pursue more balanced lives. Federico, R. F.
(1998) mentioned that there has some importance of work life balance. Such as it reduces
absenteeism, enhances employees‟ loyalty and commitment, reduces the employee turnover.
It enhances job satisfaction as well as reduces job stress. Work life benefits practice has
positive impacts on individual and organizational productivity
Quality of work life:
Quality of work life refers to the favorableness or unfavorableness of the work environment.
eHOW.com, a scholarly website defines QWL as the level of (satisfaction/ happiness) or
dissatisfaction with ones career. Various authors have proposed models of quality of working
life which include a wide range of factors. Taylor (1979) came up with components such as
extrinsic job factors (e.g. wages, hours of work & working conditions) and intrinsic job
factors. He states that quality of work life must have considerations such as:-
 Employee participation in management
 Fairness and equity
 Social support
Work Life
Balance
Quality of
life
Standard of
Living
5

 Self development
 Meaningful future at work


Standard of living:
In general the amount of goods and services employees can buy with the money they have is
called standard of living. Standard of living also refers to the degree of wealth, material and
comfort available to an employee. It includes factors such as income, quality and availability
of employment, class disparity, poverty rate, quality and affordability of housing, quality and
availability of education, cost of goods and services, social safety and security.

3) Purposes and Objectives:
There are some purposes and objectives behind making this term paper. It has helped us
finding the role of HR managers and their importance. Few points are given below –

- HR managers are the responsible person for recruiting employees for a company.
Previously there was no structure in recruiting employees. Upper level managers used
to hire them. Now days those people recruit employees who have expertise in HRM
section. They know whom to recruit or whom not to recruit. They choose the right
person for the right job and make sure their standard of living. By ensuring standard
of living they are helping them to improve their quality of life.

- In these days, nature of the world of work and employment has been changed
tremendously. HR managers hire quality employee for a position and balance their
work life.

- In workplace conflicts among employees are common. HR has a big role here. They
come up with solutions and imply those to reduce the number of conflicts.

- HR motivates employees to work better and sometimes they give incentives to
motivate them so that they can improve their standard of living.
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4) Methodology:

To conduct this study we have collected our required data from both primary and secondary
sources. In primary data collection part we conducted a survey on 255 different individuals to
find out the current position of work-life balance, quality of life and standard of living in
Bangladesh. Then we have talked with one of our relative who is a HR professional to gather
some idea about what roles HR professionals can play to ensure our today‟s topic. After that
in the secondary data collection part we have taken help from different websites and journals
of several scholars.

5) HR roles in ensuring work life balance:
There is a word buzzing in today‟s employer branding, something which every employee
wishes for and a prime theme in the Great Places to Work survey. It is not very mystic to
guess this enchanted word to be „Work life balance‟. This single phrase can raise the wave of
enthusiasm but it‟s a tougher concept to travel with just like balancing a stick while walking
on a rope with career & ambition on one side and health and family life on another side.

Figure: 02
As per the HT and Synovate survey, Nov 2013 in Mumbai, maximum number of participants
rated work life balance as one of the important features of a job. It is a consciously emerging
trend, requiring involvement from different stakeholders (employees, bosses, employers,
customers, etc). The success of any such initiative ultimately depends on employee and
his/her boss‟s commitment and HR professionals can play a vital role in this process through
a variety of interventions. There has to be clear communication from the HR professionals in
7

any employer branding campaign about the work settings to set realistic expectations from
the employee‟s side.

Figure: 03
HR‟s role can fall in to five brackets Policies, Benefits & facilities, Training, Change
Management, Counseling as shown in the figure.
Policies, Benefits & facilities:
Organizations which like to stay ahead of changes in the external world will have to
frequently fine tune their employee benefits programs. In this direction HR professionals can
introduce a variety of options which can influence the work life balance of the employees.
Only when there is a highest degree of coordination between line and HR managers Work
Life Balance (WLB) is possible.
Companies have different types working conditions depending on the project and the
associated client. Certain projects require additional effort from employees including long
working hours. Such employees may be given additional leaves and sponsored vacations
once a heavy task is accomplished. HR managers in collaboration with line Managers can
design customized benefits to each employee to balance the work and life as much as
possible. Sabbaticals for eligible employees are also a good remedy to prevent burnout of
employees.
Initiatives such as -- Doctor on-site, Crèches for employees‟ children, adult care centre,
laundry service, take away stores, vegetable stores, and common assistant personnel to a
8

group of employees in the office premises, etc. can increase the quality time available to the
employees. A single day family outing sponsored by the employer once in 3 months can
enhance the employee engagement resulting out of increased work life balance.
Organizing classes such as aerobics, yoga will improve the metabolism and concentration of
employees leading to higher productivity and improved efficiency in meeting deadlines
leaving additional personal time for employees.
HR‟s can also design various company sponsorship plans for employee health diagnosis. This
can detect early the possible maladies and treating them early will reduce absenteeism and
avert the possible workload on fellow employees and the employee himself. Spouse referral
and relocation programs can increase the time spent by the employee with his/her spouse if
both of them work in the same premises.
Many companies offer flexi time these days especially in IT and ITES sectors. Along with
this there is an emerging idea to move to a third party work location which is away from both
the employee‟s home and office but nearer to employee‟s house. This can reduce the travel
time and offer higher flexibility to employees. Recently wireless employee tracking systems
are available in the market which can remove the reporting hassles of sales executives and
employees who work away from their desk. Keeping in line with such latest developments,
HR managers can frame policies accordingly.
Training, Change Management & Counselling:
Many times it so happens that the employees spend most of their time in peripheral activities
outside their job due to inter team conflicts, politics, miscommunication and end up working
for longer hours. HR professionals can act as change agents by resolving conflicts,
conducting team building activities and deploying different interventions to increase harmony
between different teams and hence free up more time to employees so that they can
concentrate on their core work and finish tasks early.
HR professionals in learning and development arena can track the performance appraisal data
of employees, talk to supervisors and design training programmes for employees in time
management, assertive communication and negotiation skills, stress management. Once
9

employees gain expertise in these skills they can plan their activities well and give maximum
output in minimum time.
The onus is on HR professionals to reduce the red tape in organizations so that real burning
issues gain maximum attention. This could be accomplished through proper communication
and feedback mechanisms. HR professionals can also act as counsellors when employees face
workplace troubles. They can help employees in relocation and cross rotation when there are
genuine issues with WLB.
a. A glimpse at real stories:
a) IBM India has various Work Life Balance policies such as flexible workweek
schedules, work from home, counselling for family, part time employment, and leave
of absence programs, etc. They have sabbatical programs, recreational activities;
programs helping employees cope up with life changing activities. Work life balance
is strategic HR tool used by the company for talent management. Now and then, the
HR in the organization reiterates its commitment to achieving employee work life
balance.
b) TCS in addition to offering flexi time with mandatory hours of work and a five day
week conducts sessions on nutrition, stress management and better living conditions.
c) Zensar Technologies provides child care facilities along with crèche and has a well-
known programme called „Madat Online‟. This service is offered to employees to take
care of their daily personal activities like dropping cheques, paying children‟s school
fees, cash withdrawal etc. Employees are given information on housing and
educational facilities for children. The company regularly arranges stress management
programs, fun at work, family days aimed at employee work life balance.
d) Another inspiring story is of the famous multinational company „Shell‟. Like many
companies Shell gives flexi time and work from home benefits to it employees. Every
year the company conducts Global People Survey which gauges the employee‟s
perceptions on the company‟s status on how far the work life balance is achieved and
what are the steps needed. Working overtime and on weekends is discouraged in Shell
and one striking factor is that leaves cannot be encased or carry forwarded. The HR
executives in the company put focused efforts to frequently update the various work
life balance programs.
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6) HR’s role in ensuring Quality of Work-Life:

Quality of Work Life a multi-faceted concept it means having a work-environment where an
employee‟s activities become more important by implementing procedures or policies that
make the work less routine and more rewarding for the employee There exists a relationship
between Q.W.L and productivity.
The people involved in a qualitative work life get a sense of satisfaction in their work. Work
then becomes not a burden but a means by which the abilities of a person can find expression.
Mass-production technology has made worker‟s job monotonous and it is of little meaning to
him. Results of low Q.W.L are absenteeism, low performance, poor morale and occasional
sabotage. Ultimately it is the organization that suffers.

This concept originated after Industrial Revolution, the importance of human factor reduced
because of the vast mechanization. Various problems like job dissatisfaction, boredom,
absenteeism, lack of commitment etc came up. Most mgt theories gave emphasis on
production, manipulating the skills of the employees. Tavi Stock Institute of Human
Relations, London conducted some research on “workers‟ problems in Industrial world” and
they produced a study approach called Socio-technical system in which they gave great
importance to “Job Design” to satisfy human needs adequately and the need for Q.W.L in an
Organization was emphasized.

Meaning and definition of Q.W.L is any conscious effort for improving working conditions,
work content, and its safety, security, wages and benefits, etc. Q.W.L can be said to be all the
original inputs which aim at improving the employees‟ satisfaction and enhancing
organizational effectiveness Q.W.L is a concern not only to improve life at work, but also life
outside work It is nothing but having a work environment where employees activities become
more important. This means implementing procedures or policies that make the work less
routine and more rewarding for the employee. These procedures or policies include
autonomy, recognition, belongingness, development and external rewards. Work then
becomes not a burden but a means by which the abilities of a person can find expression
Q.W.L is just humanizing the work Q.W.L = The sum total of physical (working conditions),
psychological and economic factors which affect the job Objectives of Q.W.L To improve
the standard of living of the employees To increase the productivity To create a positive
11

attitude in the minds of the employees To increase the effectiveness of the organization
(Profitability, goal accomplishment etc.)

Factors affecting Quality of Work Life:
Some people consider Q.W.L as the existence of a certain set of original conditions and
practices. They agree that high Q.W.L exists when Democratic management practices are
prevalent in the organization When employees‟ jobs are enriching they are treated with
dignity and safe working conditions. Countries that practiced Q.W.L initially are Sweden,
Denmark, Holland, Switzerland, Australia and USA.
Companies practicing Quality of Work Life are General Motors Ford Motors with UAW,
XEROX, IBM, BHEL, Hardwar, TISCO etc.
Measuring of Q.W.L Questionnaires and interviews are relevant here. In General Motors the
management gives a questionnaire of 16 critical dimensions of Q.W.L to its employees each
year. The responses are then used to measure the employees‟ perception of their work life.

Implementation of Q.W.L Management and Employees’ co-operation:
A worker-Mgt committee on work improvement can function effectively to increase co-
operation. Action plans developed must be followed to completion Support of middle-
managers by top management and bottom-level employees to implement the program. The
objectives of Q.W.L should be a joint one, i.e., for workers it is to improve Q.W.L; for
management it is to improve organizational efficiency.

Barriers to Q.W.L:
Resistance to change both by mgt and employees There is a general perception that Q.W.L
implementation will cost much to the organization Continuous increase in Q.W.L may result
in less productivity, i.e., after a certain level the productivity will not increase in proportion to
the increase in Q.W.L.
Moreover, Q.W.L can be defined as " The quality of relationship between employees and the
total working environment.”
QWL is a process by which an organization responds to employee needs for developing
mechanisms to allow them to share fully in making the decisions that design their lives at
work.


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Programs that can be undertaken by management to improve employee’s Quality of
Life:

a) Fair compensation and job security: The economic interests of people drive them to
work at a job and employee satisfaction depends at least partially, on the compensation
offered.
Pay should be fixed on the basis of the work done, responsibilities undertaken, individual
skills, performance and accomplishments.
Job security is another factor that is of concern to employees. Permanent employment
provides security to the employees and improves their QWL.

b) Health is wealth: Organizations should realize that their true wealth lies in their
employees and so providing a healthy work environment for employees should be their
primary objective.

c) Provide personal and career growth opportunities: An organization should provide
employees with opportunities for personal/professional development and growth and to
prepare them to accept responsibilities at higher levels.

d) Participative management style and recognition: Flat organizational structures help
organizations facilitate employee participation.
A participative management style improves the quality of work life. Workers feel that they
have control over their work processes and they also offer innovative ideas to improve them.
Recognition also helps to motivate employees to perform better. Recognition can be in the
form of rewarding employees for jobs well done.


e) Fun at workplace: This is growing trend adopted by today‟s organizations to make their
offices a fun place to work.
f) Provide health care to the employee’s: Organizations can provide health care
programmes to the employees that may include vaccinations, routine check-ups, medications,
etc. This will lead to less absenteeism of the employees and also avert their workload. This
13

will lead to better quality of life as the employee will be content with his work as well as
his/her health.
g) Providing Insurances: Regarding insurances, we can assume that an employee had an
accident while he was on his way to his workplace or had an accident while he/she was
working at the designated workplace, so in that context the organization (the employer) will
pay for his medications, saving the employees from bearing the medical expenses thus
ensuring quality of life.

The aim of QWL is to identify and implement alternative programs to improve the quality of
professional as well as personal life of an organization‟s employees.
7) HR’s role in ensuring Standard of Living:
HR plays a vital role here. Without job people cannot earn and live properly. If you do not
have money, you cannot have a standard of living. HR are the persons who will hire you and
make sure your salary and other incentives. BY having those, one can easily improve or
maintain one‟s standard of living.
a) Direct Financial Payments: HR managers deal with this directly. They give payments to
the employees which will directly put an impact of their life. With the money, they can feed
their family and live better. You have quality but employer has no sound knowledge about
your potential, he/she may not hire you for the particular position. Here HR managers play
the role. They have that knowledge and skill to employ right person for the right job. If
someone is getting hired in a company, that is just because of HR.
b) Incentives: Basic salary is not the only thing that can motivate an employee or even
improve an employee‟s standard of living. Sometimes they need transportation cost,
telephone bills, health care etc. HR gives them these to make sure they are satisfied. With
these they can save money from their income and expense those in other sectors and purchase
more which will help them to improve their purchasing power and it will eventually improve
their standard of living.
c) Salary Increment: After a period employees wait for an increment. HR handles this for
the betterment of the employees. Cost of living is increasing day after day. With the
14

increment, they can get back to their previous life and purchase more and maintain the same
or higher standard of living than the previous time.
d) Housing: You need to a better place to live to maintain standard of living. You have job
but you do not have a quality house for you. Sometimes you cannot buy a house because of
money. HR can solve this problem. They can give house loan for a minimum rate of interest.
Now you can purchase your own house and pay the money time to time without having hurry
or pressure.
e) Paid Vacation: Employees take vacation in a given year. HR does not deduct their
payment for taking vacations. These vacations are paid vacations. They are earning the same
amount of money.
We can say that HR plays a vital role in ensuring standard of living. Without them, their
might be a vulnerable situation.

8) Survey report:
To find out the real life situation of employees work life balance, quality of life and standard
of livings we have added some survey reports here. These reports are broken down into two
parts- Bangladesh findings and International aspects.

a. Findings of Bangladesh:
We collected secondary data from a survey which was conducted over 255 employees of
different organizations across Bangladesh based on their work life benefits, standard of living
and quality of work life in their respective organizations. The survey was done on people
from all walks of life so that it gives an overall idea about the whole condition of the country.
The following database shows that whether the employees are getting the benefits while
working on the organization or not.
15


Table: 01
The findings that we got from that particular survey are broadly discussed below:
1. Personalized annual leave: Among 255 employees 191 employees says that they
have the benefit of personalized annual leave in their organization and 64 employees
are not getting the benefit from their organization. Therefore, the percentages of
employees who are getting the benefit are 74.9% and 24.1% employees are not
getting the benefit.

Table: 02

Figure: 04
2. Unpaid leave: Among 255 employees 169 employees agreed that they have the
facility in their organization and 86 employees denied that they do not have the
facility. As a result, 66.3% employees are enjoying the facility in their organization
and 33.7% employees do not have the facility.
Frequency Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulativ
e Percent
n 64 25.1 25.1 25.1
y 191 74.9 74.9 100.0
Total 255 100.0 100.0
Valid
personalized_annual_leave

16


Table: 03

Figure: 05
3. Study leave: 157 employees are enjoying this benefit in their organization and 98
employees do not have the facility. Hence, 61.6% workers are getting the benefit
while 38.4% workers are not getting the benefit from their organization.

Table: 04

Figure: 06
Frequency Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulativ
e Percent
n 86 33.7 33.7 33.7
y 169 66.3 66.3 100.0
Total 255 100.0 100.0
unpaid_leave

Valid
Frequency Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulativ
e Percent
n 98 38.4 38.4 38.4
y 157 61.6 61.6 100.0
Total 255 100.0 100.0
study_leave

Valid
Study leave
n
y
17

4. Maternity leave: 199 staffs are receiving the benefit from their organization and 56
staffs are not receiving the benefit in their organization. Therefore, 78% staffs are
getting the benefit while 22% staffs do not have the facility in their organization.

Table: 05

Figure: 06
5. Paternal leave: Among 255 employees 91 employees are enjoying the facility in
their organization and 164 employees do not have the facility. Hence, 35.7%
employees are enjoying the facilities while 64.3% do not have the facility in their
organization.

Table: 06
Frequency Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulativ
e Percent
n 56 22.0 22.0 22.0
y 199 78.0 78.0 100.0
Total 255 100.0 100.0
Mat_leave

Valid
Frequency Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulativ
e Percent
n 164 64.3 64.3 64.3
y 91 35.7 35.7 100.0
Total 255 100.0 100.0
Valid
paternal_leave

18


Figure: 07
5. Time off for medical screening: 199 workers in their organization have the benefit
and 56 workers do not have the benefit in their organization. As a result, 78%
workers are enjoying the facility and 22% workers do not have the facility in their
organization.

Table: 07

Figure: 08
6. Substitute employee: In different organizations 162 employees are receiving the
facility while 93 employees are not receiving the service. Therefore, 63.5%
employees have the benefit and 36.5% employees do not have the benefit in their
organization.
Frequency Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulativ
e Percent
n 56 22.0 22.0 22.0
y 199 78.0 78.0 100.0
Total 255 100.0 100.0
time_off_med_screening

Valid
19


Table: 08

Figure: 09
7. Preretirement leave: Among 255 staffs 97 workers have the preretirement facility in
their organization and 158 workers do not have the facility. Hence, 38% workers are
enjoying the facility while 62% workers do not have the facility.

Table: 09

Frequency Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulativ
e Percent
n 93 36.5 36.5 36.5
y 162 63.5 63.5 100.0
Total 255 100.0 100.0
substitute_employee

Valid
Frequency Percent
Valid
Percent
Cumulativ
e Percent
n 158 62.0 62.0 62.0
y 97 38.0 38.0 100.0
Total 255 100.0 100.0
preRetire_leave

Valid
20

Figure: 10
8. Flexible work hour: Among 255 employees 49% employees says that they have the
benefit of flexible work hour in their organization and 51% employees are not getting
the benefit from their organization.
9. Job sharing: In different organizations 63% employees are receiving the facility of
job sharing while 37% employees are not receiving the facility.
10. Telecommuting: Among 255 employees 35% employees say that they have the
benefit of flexible work hour in their organization and 65% employees are not getting
the benefit from their organization.
11. Loan program: 38% employees are enjoying this benefit in their organization and
62% employees do not have the facility.
12. Health insurance policy: Among 255 employees 45% employees say that they have
this benefit in their organization and 55% employees are not getting the benefit from
their organization.
13. Recreational activity: In different organizations 66% employees are receiving the
facility of recreational activities like annual picnic, annual cultural night etc. while
34% employees are not receiving such facility.

The survey showed that most employees generally feel they are able to balance their work
life due to work life management policy of the company. About 58% employees had positive
feelings about the work life benefits of their organization. Whereas, 22% employees said that
they did not get proper facilities to balance their work and personal life. However, 20%
employees had neutral opinion regarding this fact in their organization.

21


Figure: 11
The study also includes information about quality of work life in the different organizations
across Bangladesh. Employees gave more priority on four factors such as job security, health
facilities, personal and career growth opportunity and work life benefits in maintaining the
quality of work life in their organizations.
1. Among all only 40% employees said that they have job security and 55% said that
they do not have this facility. However 5% gave no comments on this topic.

2. In case of health facilities 33% employees had this facility on their organization and
rest 57% did not have it. 10% employees were neutral and did not comment on this.

Work life balance
Yes
No
Neutral
58%
22%
20%
22


Figure: 12
3. Only 38% employees felt that they have personal and career growth opportunities in
their present working conditions. Whereas, 53% majority thought that they do not
have this opportunity.

4. The work life benefit is the only case where majority about 48% told that they have
this facility in their organization and 42% did not have it.

Whether the employees had a good quality of work life or not 75% said that the presence of it
would definitely help to improve their productivity at work. Even though, 25% still think that
it had nothing to do with their job performance.
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
Yes
No
Neutral
40
55
5
33
57
10
38
53
9
48
42
10
23


Figure: 13
The database collected from 255 employees of different organizations across Bangladesh
based on their work life benefits also shows that whether the employees are satisfied with
their present job or not and if they are able to maintain the standard of living they are suppose
to maintain or not. Most employees said that they were not paid enough to adjust their
salaries with the inflation rate. 39% employees said that they are happy with their present job
and are able to maintain their expected standard of life. On the other hand, the majority of
46% were not satisfied with their job as well as standard of living. However, 15% employees
were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their job and standard of living.

Figure: 14


Quality of work life
Yes
No
25%
75%
Standard of living
Yes
No
Neutral
39%
46%
15%
24

b. International Aspects:
The United States is the greatest country in the history of everything, if you just listen to its
leaders, and a disgrace among developed countries. The health care system is famously
expensive and inaccessible.
The OECD Better Life Index, released last week, feeds the American instinct toward both
jingoism and self-deprecation. In housing access and family wealth, it concludes that the U.S.
really is the best country in the world.
There are some simple reasons why the U.S. places far below Scandinavia and other
European countries among work-life metrics. We work longer hours to make all that money.
So we have less down time. Also, we don't have national laws, like mandatory paternal leave,
that alleviate the burden on working moms.
The surprising fact is that American leisure time has actually been increasing for most
families for decades, and American men work less today, and have more down time, than
ever recorded. Even if you consider that to be bad news (and many do), less work should
improve just about any definition of work-life balance. Still, the most important reason why
we rank barely above Mexico is the increase in single mothers who, in the U.S., face an
extraordinary burden relative to their overseas counterparts.
Surprise: Leisure Time Is Growing (But Not For All)
Since 1950, personal hours worked have fallen dramatically all over the developed world,
thanks to advances in overall productivity and the shift away from certain kinds of time-
intensive manufacturing. They've fallen the most in European countries and the least in the
U.S.
25


Figure: 15
But those gross averages hide the fact that the workweek has undergone two parallel
revolutions in the U.S: More paid work for women and less paid work for men. Hours
worked by moms have doubled since 1960. Higher education attainment and the rise of the
service sector have allowed many women to trade chores for paychecks, as this graph shows
(data via Valerie Ramey).

Figure: 16
In the meantime, men have picked up some of the slack at home. In the 20th century, the
typical working woman's week hours rose by 230 percent; in parallel, men are doing about
370 percent more housework.
26


Figure: 17

"Leisure" means different things to different people. But to economists it means time spend
not working -- either the kind that involves doing chores or the kind that involves doing
Excel. In the last century, lifelong leisure time in the U.S. has grown significantly, due to at
least three factors: (1) the decline of the workweek, which most affected men; (2) technology
making house work more efficient, which most affected women; and (3) people living longer
in retirement, which affected both men and women.

Figure: 18
You might think the increase in leisure would be highest among the rich, since nations have
generally earned more leisure time as they've become more productive. But strangely, it is the
27

least educated and poorest men who have seen the highest gains in leisure. This has created
what economist Eric Hurst, among others, calls, "leisure inequality," which mirrors income
inequality. Poor working men have more leisure time than ever, but the highest educated men
have less downtime than they've had in 50 years.

Figure: 19
The OECD's "work-life" balance measure counts long hours, leisure time, commuting time,
satisfaction with job, and the employment rate of mothers with school-age children. Although
the U.S. places near the bottom overall, it actually places among the top countries in
commuting time and job satisfaction. And as you can see, we're making strides in overall
leisure time as well. But the most important category where we fall far behind other rich
countries is with mother -- especially single mothers.
The Single Mom Crisis:
Women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households today. But in most of
those families, women are the primary earner because they are the only earner. One if four
houses are now led by a single mom, who earn an average income of just $23,000.
Balancing work and leisure without a partner isn't easy no matter where you live, but single
working mothers feel a particular pinch in the U.S., for two reasons. First, the U.S. has the
fourth-highest share of single mothers in the OED. Second, they work the longest hours and
have more children than most rich countries, according to a study of family time. "Lone
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mothers in the US have less available time than lone mothers in any of the other countries"
the researchers studied.

Figure: 20
Single mothers are more likely to work than the average adult -- after all, the vast majority of
them simply must -- but they're also more likely to work less. In the U.S., where single
mothers work the most, only 4 percent punch in more than 50 hours a week.
So when you hear that American work-life balance ranks poorly, remember that there really
isn't any such thing as "American work-life balance." Instead there are intersecting trends --
only a handful of which I've touched on here -- showing that, although the workweek has
fallen, the changing composition of families has put tremendous time-stresses on more
mothers. Overall, research shows that lower-income men have never had more downtime,
while working single mothers have never been more common. The first part is a problem.
The second is a crisis. The top 25 Companies who ranked best in Work Life Balance are
MITRE and North Highland received the highest work-life balance rating (4.5 on a 5-point
scale) from its employees over the past year. MITRE employees comment on the high value
the company places on work-life balance as shown through flexible schedules, generous paid
time off and other great perks like an on-site cafeteria and gym. North Highland employees
speak to the company‟s family-friendly work environment. This is also the second year that
29

MITRE as well as eight other companies make Glassdoor‟s Top Companies for Work-Life
Balance list. Other companies making this list again include Agilent Technologies, SAS
Institute, National Instruments, FactSet, United Space Alliance, Susquehanna International
Group, Slalom Consulting and Morningstar.

Table:10

30

A Sur vey was done by – Office Team Survey on Work/Life Balance, Learning
Opportunities Have Greatest Impact on Job Satisfaction. This is given below-
MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 26, 2012 -- Want to know the way to an employee's heart?
Professionals interviewed by Office Team identified work/life balance (28 percent) and
opportunities to learn and grow (27 percent) as the top contributors to their job satisfaction.
The results are in line with those from a similar survey in which managers were asked about
the factors most tied to employee morale.
The surveys of professionals and managers were developed by Office Team, a leading
staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals.
They were conducted by an independent research firm and include responses from 404
workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments and 1,013 senior
managers at companies with 20 or more employees.
Workers were asked, "Aside from salary, which one of the following aspects of your job is
most tied to your satisfaction?" Their responses:
Work/life balance 28%
Opportunities to learn and grow 27%
Ability to accomplish goals 20%
Camaraderie with coworkers 13%
A good working relationship with the boss 11%
Don't know 1%
Total 100%
Table:11
The survey of workers also revealed differences by age: Respondents between the ages of 35
and 44 were most concerned with work/life balance (46 percent), and those between the ages
of 18 and 34 indicated the greatest interest in opportunities to learn and grow (37 percent).
31

"Professional priorities change over time," said Robert Hosking, executive director of Office
Team. "Because there's no one-size-fits-all formula for encouraging job satisfaction,
supervisors should get to know their team members individually to better understand what
motivates and inspires each of them."
Everyone appreciates the ability to successfully juggle business and personal obligations,
Hosking noted. Office Team offers five tips managers can use to help their teams achieve
work/life balance:
1. Be flexible. If it's practical for your business, offer alternative work arrangements
such as modified schedules or job sharing.
2. Reduce their commute. Give personnel whose jobs can be done remotely the option
of working from home one or more days a week.
3. Watch the clock. Avoid contacting staff outside of office hours unless the matter is
urgent and cannot wait until the next business day.
4. Take a breather. Remind workers to take breaks and vacations. Set a good example
by doing so yourself.
5. Bring in reinforcements. Encourage employees to seek help when they are
overwhelmed with projects. Use temporary professionals, when necessary, to alleviate
workloads.

9) Recommendation:
I. We would recommend the HR managers to include maternity leave in their
organizations in order to motivate the employees. Maternity leave has the highest
level of importance in the work life benefit study that we conducted. As maternity
leave is health related, it is thereby deemed very important in the society.
II. Pre retirement leave having the lowest level of importance is suggested to be avoided
by the managers because employees do not have any close association with this
benefit as far our study. They are likely to work happily even if they are not given pre
retirement leave.
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III. Personalized annual leave, Study leave, time off medical screening leave, has
moderate importance and can act as motivators so managers are suggested to provide
such benefits in their organization.
IV. Unpaid leave, substitute employee and paternal leave also has moderate importance in
work life of employees but the absence of these benefits has comparatively less
impact on the organizations functioning. So we recommend that manager may or may
not pay much attention to these variables as much as they need for the rest.
V. Organizations should arrange flexible work hour facilities. That means employees can
schedule their work hours to align with personal demands, thus reducing tardiness and
absences, and employees can adjust their work activities to those hours in which they
are individually most productive. Again flex time benefits tends to reduce overtime
expense, reduce hostility towards management and increase autonomy and
responsibility for employees that may increase employee job satisfaction.
VI. Managers can allow job sharing arrangement in their work place that means allowing
two or more individuals to split a traditional 40-hour-a-week job as it helps employees
to make a better balance between their work and family responsibilities. Job sharing
allows organizations to draw on the talents of more than one individual in a given job
as it is an opportunity to get two heads but “pay for one”. It also opens up the
opportunity to acquire skilled workers-for instance, women with young children and
retirees-who might not be available on a full-time basis.
VII. Telecommunicating can be another option that means working from home at least two
days a week on a computer that is linked to the employer‟s office. Routine
information handling tasks, mobile activities, and professional and other knowledge
related tasks are the three main categories that have been identified as most
appropriate for this arrangement. In other words employees who spend majority of
their time on computers or the telephone are the natural candidates for this job for
instance- service representatives, reservation agents telemarketers, customer service
representatives and product specialist.
VIII. As HR managers establish the basic pay standards they need to ensure that the pay
scale is sufficient enough so that employees can meet their basic daily necessities and
it matches equity inside and outside the organization. The reason is employees may
like to evaluate their output with other employees working at the same level, giving
same amount of input in employee‟s current organization or at some other
33

organizations. Salary is the most important thing as it determines one‟s standard of
living in the society.
IX. Managers also need to fulfill employees job security needs that without any proper
reason they will not get fired from their job so that they can feel mental peace and pay
full attention to successfully accomplish their assigned tasks.
X. Managers are also suggested to arrange training program facilities for the
development of their employees so that each individual employee can have a chance
to attain his or her personal growth to fulfill self actualization needs.
XI. HR professionals are suggested to implement perceived organizational support as they
are responsible to set up a code of conduct within the organization they are requested
to ensure an environment where employees will get the chance to work on a secure
and calm atmosphere and where employees will respect each other, consider their
rewards deemed fair and role of their supervisors as supportive one. In other words,
they need to make their employees feel that organization values their contribution and
cares about their well-being.
XII. While offering fringe benefits to employees managers need to consider each
individual employees needs because all incentives does not necessarily carry equal
importance to each every employees. Like- a single mother having two children may
need life insurance facilities but a single employee having no attachment with families
may not need it. The best benefit for him or her can be having paid vacations. So, in
times of planning employee benefits package managers need to keep these things in
mind.
XIII. As per our survey report workers feel highly satisfied when they have say in
organizational decision making or have certain amount of freedom that for carrying
out each and every silly task they don‟t need to ask for their supervisor‟s permission.
That‟s why HR managers are requested to include this thing in their organizational
structure.

10) Limitations:
The limitation of our study is we could not properly conduct the survey due to time
limitations, huge expenses and lack of co-operations from surveyed individuals because when
we asked people to fill up the questioners for us they considered it as a wastage of time and
34

simply tried to avoid it. That‟s why we needed to work a lot to persuade them and making
them understands that it‟s not valueless and how important it is to us. Again, we conducted
our survey on 255 individuals which is a very small portion of the entire population so results
can definitely vary depending on the size of the surveyed population. In spite of all these
hazardous to collect the information for findings of Bangladesh part we conducted a survey in
the last year November for the sake of another course and we are using those data here but as
year has changed the scenario can also get changed which we fail to demonstrate in our
present term paper. Again for the International findings we need to rely on secondary data
and we are not fully sure about the accuracy of that information.

11) Conclusion:
Work-life balance, Quality of Life & Standard of Living remains an issue that requires
considerable attention from society. The changing nature of the global economy, where
organizations often operate on a 24/7 schedule and technological advances have made it
possible for an employee to be connected at all times, has ushered those issues into the
forefront of the minds of many, including Undergraduate students. Employers have realized
that a “burnt-out” employee is nearly useless, and that a satisfied employee is the key to the
future success of an organization. To this end, many organizations have developed work-life
programs to assist employees in handling the conflicts that may arise between work and the
rest of life (Roberts, 2005). As shown in the findings, employees that have access to work-life
programs have a significantly higher work-life balance score compared with employees that
do not have access to these programs. The work-life programs incorporated at organizations
provide the flexibility and support that help individuals navigate through the increasing
complexities of modern life that encompass various priorities, including dual learning
families, childcare, and elder care to name a few. However, there is an apparent under-
utilization of these programs (Rod bourne, 1996; Spinks, 2004). It is up to the employer and
the employee to work together to facilitate the acculturation of work-life balance, quality of
life & standard of living into the organization. As shown, working longer hours does not
necessarily contribute to decreased job security, but does contribute to decreased work-life
balance. Additionally, lower work-life balance is correlated with increased dissatisfaction at
work. The disadvantages of having dissatisfied employees should be a motivating factor
behind the acculturation process. Although work-life balance may be viewed as a utopian
35

dream, society must not fail to respond to the needs of individuals when dealing with
complex issues arising from work and the rest of life, especially among individuals further
along in their lives and careers. With the many problems associated with stress, including
issues of health and well-being and decreased productivity, society would be wise to foster an
environment that proactively engages individuals to reflect on their choices and priorities.
Individuals who seek balance to maintain health and harmony may lead fuller and more
productive lives, which could potentially benefit all aspects of society and business. Again,
when organizations will ensure basic salary, required fringe benefits, supportive
organizational culture, Job security, employee participation in decision making, equity
regarding intrinsic and extrinsic factors, flex time, job sharing, telecommunication, personal
development facilities and other related issues definitely it will boost up employees as
implementation of all these factors by the organization will help employees to maintain a
strong balance between their work and life, good qualitative work life and a high standard of
living in the society. By fulfilling all those needs HR managers can create a win-win situation
because evidence suggests that improvements in people management practices, especially
work time and work location flexibility, development of Perceived Organizational Support,
equity in terms of rewards and salary contribute to increased quality of employees work life
and their standard of living. These facilities have been demonstrated to have an impact on
employees in terms of recruitment, retention/turnover, commitment and satisfaction,
absenteeism, productivity and accident rates which is a benefit for the organizations and it is
also beneficial for the employees as they believe they work to live don‟t live to work. And
HR is the only department in the organization that can ensure all those issues and fulfill
employees‟ necessities that‟s why demand of HR professionals has become so prominent
throughout the world.






36

12) References:
Secondary sources:
a) Journals:
I. Bequele, A. (1984). The costs and benefits of protecting and saving lives at work:
Some issues. International Labour Review, 123(1),
http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=f943172b-e1c0-4f1d-8926-
d5d568a18f3e%40sessionmgr14&vid=2&hid=19
II. Chimote, N., &Srivastava, V. N. (2013). Work-Life Balance Benefits:From the
Perspective of Organizations and Employees. IUP Journal Of Management Research,
12(1), 62-73. http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=cb360fb7-a0b3-4e58-9de0-
b89e291c7c10%40sessionmgr14&vid=1&hid=19&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2
ZQ%3d%3d#db=buh&AN=85343891
III. Federico, R. F. (1998). Work/Life Benefits From the Multiemployer
Perspective.Benefits Quarterly, 14(2), 18-23.
http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=87c4bf18-c8c5-4cac-8853-
4a2edc0cca0d%40sessionmgr4&vid=2&hid=19
IV. Finn, P. (1981). The effects of shift work on the lives of employees. Monthly Labor
Review, 104(10),
31.http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=29aec6e4-a70b-4d84-
b382-bf62091fdce7%40sessionmgr10&vid=2&hid=19
V. Giannikis, S. K., &Mihail, D. M. (2011). Flexible work arrangements in Greece: a
study of employee perceptions. International Journal Of Human Resource
Management, 22(2), 417-432. doi:10.1080/09585192.2011.540163
http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=e0e307c7-363a-4a33-8062-
600572211a03%40sessionmgr4&vid=2&hid=19
VI. HR How -To: Work-Life Benefits. (2003). Benefits Quarterly, 19(3),
61.http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=ad5aed21-2441-4b29-
9d5c- 1f23cb14ca58%40sessionmgr12&vid=2&hid=19
VII. Landauer, J. (1997).Bottom-Line Benefits of Work/Life Programs.Benefits Quarterly,
13(4), 96. http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=f77eb64c-ed08-
49ef-bb70-0da7c613d47c%40sessionmgr12&vid=2&hid=19
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VIII. McKeown, J., Clarke, A., &Repper, J. (2006). Life story work in health and social
care: systematic literature review. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 55(2), 237-247.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.03897.x
http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=99a2ee25-ad4f-4352-aa14-
49f42bb7ce42%40sessionmgr14&vid=2&hid=19
IX. What You Thought: Work/Life Benefits Are Valuable, but Value Isn't Measured.
(1998). Benefits Quarterly, 14(3), 96.
http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=9a3df34a-9a30-40ae-995f-
e4d18a2577b9%40sessionmgr13&vid=2&hid=19
b) Websites:
I. http://prohr.com/your-hr-strategy-part-3-work-life-balance/
II. http://www.ere.net/2011/05/16/increasing-employee-productivity-the-strategic-role-
that-hr-essentially-ignores/
III. http://www.bia.ca/articles/AReportontheImportanceofWork-LifeBalance.htm
IV. http://www.blogging4jobs.com/hr/5-ways-improve-employees-quality-of-work-life/
V. http://answers.mheducation.com/business/management/human-resource-
management/compensation-base-pay-and-fringe-benefits#internal-equity
VI. http://www.answers.com/topic/human-resource-management
Primary sources:
a) Personal survey:
The database used in the findings of Bangladesh part has been collected from a survey that
one of our group member did for her Mgt201 course last semester. We used it since we were
told to use survey report for our study purpose.
b) Personal interview:
Mr. Arif Hossain
Regional HR officer
Coffey International, Bangladesh