Increased Flexibility Proven To Help Employee Work-Life Balance
In a recent sociology study, published in the American Sociology Review journal by researchers from the University of Minnesota, it was demonstrably proven that work/family conflict could be reduced simply through increased workplace flexibility and improved supervisor support.
Researchers studied over 700 participants in a Fortune 500 IT company, and split the group into two with one half working under usual conditions (the control group) and the other half being provided with improved support from supervisors, but also given greater control about where and when they worked (the test group). The two groups were then studied over a 6 month period to determine the effects on work/family relationships. Results from the study showed three areas of improvement for those in the test group:
1) Their sense of control in their working and family lives through greater freedom in their schedules
2) A decrease in conflict in their work and family lives
3) Improvement in “Time Adequacy” – satisfaction in the amount of time spent with their families
The greatest benefits came to those who were vulnerable to work/family conflict such as employees with previously little support from a supervisor, and parents and others with more complicated family situations. Study co-author Rosalind King, Ph.D. commented:
“The researchers have shown that by restructuring work practice to focus on results achieved and providing supervisors with an instructional program to improve their sensitivity to employees’ after-work demands, they can reduce that stress and improve employees’ family time.”
Work-life balance is key to ensure improved productivity and increased employee engagement levels among the workforce. Work/family conflict can make people feel they are being pulled in two different directions and without support, increased stress can be result. Finding the right balance is the focus of one week within the iPerform programme.