A Work-Life Balance Perspective
According to Wikipedia, the work-leisure dichotomy dates to the mid-1800s, coined by anthropologists to define happiness. It evolved into a dynamic phrase in the U.S. around 1986 and is often debated today, so much so that it becomes a personal conflict as employees struggle to define the boundaries between work and non-work. Discounting personal ambition or the advent of new technologies (which are nearly impossible to unplug from), the National Life Insurance Company found nearly 50% of its survey respondents found their jobs “very” or “extremely stressful.” In that vein, it seems that work/life balance is not so much about equalizing its two elements but prioritizing one’s health in relation to stress. For without good health, the job and life are undermined. Health can be directly related to stress. To help one understand the relationship of stress or trauma to the individual, stress can be factored among various life events via the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Further, Wikipedia states, “In the study, Work-Family Spillover and Daily Reports of Work and Family Stress in the Adult Labor Force, researchers found that with an increased amount of negative spillover from work to family, the likelihood of reporting stress within the family increased by 74%, and with an increased amount of negative spillover from family to work the likelihood to report stress felt at work increased by 47%.” The cost of stress in the workplace The purpose of this article is not to point to an exhaustive list of stress-related behaviors or illnesses but to mitigate the cause of them for the sake of fiscal responsibility to employees and attention to maximizing revenue. When companies push workers too hard, that is, beyond their capacity, the company pays the price. On the average, job stress costs companies in the U.S. more than $300 billion per year. Further, for every 47 cents spent on treating depression (associated with stress), the remaining 53 cents account for indirect costs of absenteeism and disability. A work-life conflict is not gender-specific despite the prevalence of social norms or ideologies. The focus of power belongs to the organization and what drives it. If the hierarchy ignores or disregards the “personhood” of an employee, the company will mirror the results it hands down. Turnover, stress claims, unhappy employees and lack of productivity will ensue as one reaps what one sows. When a company establishes policies respecting individuality as well as the potential of its employees, the working, and fiscal environments bear fruit. Though the concept of work/life balance may still be fodder for discussion, it is actually a representation of concern about job stress. The four causes of workplace anxiety are workload, conflicts with colleagues, juggling personal and professional time, and lack of job security. No doubt some stress can be healthy, but when the level of anxiety overwhelms the employee, it becomes a problem for both the firm and the employee. It is recommended that manufacturers have policies and procedures in place to solve workplace stress. Having transparency and good communication in your organization is a good beginning to reducing anxiety. The next time a candidate inquires about work/life balance with your firm, you can answer with positive attributes that your company provides such as clearly defined jobs and goals, mentoring, open door policies, and incentives to promote family relationships. Need assistance with a stress management strategy? Talk to MPS Technical. We help find qualified employees of all ages and we understand the needs of precision manufacturing companies. We can offer you a great match with seamless onboarding. Contact one of our convenient locations today and let us serve you.