Work-Life Balance Challenges: Constructing an Employee-Friendly Workplace

Work-Life Balance Challenges: Constructing an Employee-Friendly Workplace

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8275-6.ch030
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Within an ever-changing, digitalized world, the working methods have vastly changed over the last few decades. If the effects of a contemporary event such as COVID-19—the global pandemic started in the Hubei region of China at the end of December 2019—are considered, the changes have reached beyond just the practical logistics of working and crossed otherwise untouched social and emotional barriers. As a result of the pandemic, new working ways on an international level have become considerably more prominent. With the post-modern paradigm, organizations have focused on their employees and see them as stakeholders and developed a set of policies and standards under the guise of “an employee-friendly organization.” This chapter sheds light on strategies on how to maintain work-life balance in a virtual environment of remote work, new regulations, and the gaining importance of employee satisfaction, ensuring remote employees feel cared for, valued, and included.
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“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” Michelle Obama - Former First Lady of the United States

Ensuing the World Health Organization's classification of the COVID-19 outbreak as an “international public health emergency” on January 30, 2020, the occurrence of COVID-19 cases in 113 countries except China, where the first epidemic started, was defined as a global epidemic on March 11 due to the spread and intension of the virus (Turkish Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services, 2020). With the COVID-19 epidemic that affects the whole world, significant changes have occurred in working life. Many of these changes have been permanent and some have temporarily affected employees and employers. While the COVID-19 epidemic, working hours, the way of working, workplace, work-life balance change in terms of occupational health and safety standards, new measures and measures specific to the epidemic have entered the working life rapidly. Although this rapid change has caused specific changes in everyone's lives, common problems and solutions for remote working, work-life balance, workplaces, and employee importance have also come to the fore. Digital solutions that quickly entered the working life with COVID-19 brought some other changes in the way of working remotely as well as working in general. Together with pandemic, digitalization, which entered the business life rapidly, has entered to the comfort personal space of employee in which they have their private life spot “home”. In today’s dynamic environment, employers and human resources departments alternative to increase employee motivation, job belongingness, employee morale and try to retain qualified manpower with quality of knowledge and string along with new working place trends in pandemic.

Work-family balance was used for the first time in the mid-1970s (Borah and Bagla, 2016) and the reason why it was first suggested was the inability to ignore workplace demands while using the time spent with the family or described as “leisure time” and to integrate these two phenomena (Kaliannan et al., 2016). As a matter of fact, the inclusion of the subject in the literature is based on the fact that people started to take into account the negative impacts of work life on family life in 1986 (Choudhary & Singh, 2016). In the early 2000s, the increase in internet usage and the developments in the field of software provided the development of “smart systems”. The emergence of new production systems that can perform production processes unmanned has formed the basis for the start of the industry 4.0 process (Serinikli, 2018). Thus, digital transformation has been experienced in production systems. Mechanical systems operating with water and steam power, the dynamism of the Industrial Revolution Industry 1.0, have now been replaced by cyber-physical systems with Industry 4.0 (Bağcı, 2018). In the Industry 4.0 revolution, not only production systems, but also current consumption, distribution and working styles started to change (Çiğdem, 2019). During the period from the Industrial Revolution to the middle of the 20th century, in consequence of technological and economic developments, working hours in factories, enterprises and workplaces began to shorten, and the way of working and the place of work began to change (Yılmaz & Aktaş, 2018). Especially thanks to technological developments, it has become possible to work remotely / mobile / from home with computers and other communication tools outside the workplace (Kıcır, 2019). In addition, with the developing technology, new working models such as digital entrepreneurship, e-commerce, working with robots have also emerged and spread rapidly (Hasanat et al., 2020).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Employee Well-Being: Well-being is seen as an explanation of a person's life situation. It’s the state of being at peace and self-contentment, feeling self-sufficient, being free in one's own life and making their own decisions. Approaches that support the psychological well-being of employees aiming to take into account the “who they are” and to improve themselves personally, while strengthening positive psychological capital by supporting the work and life satisfaction of the employee, on the other hand, by increasing employee’s performance, it positively affects the benefits that are provided to the workplace.

Job Belongingness: To create a sense of belonging, an environment of trust must be created for employees. Therefore, business owners and leaders have a great role in the formation of this environment. In this environment of trust, it is indispensable to create a team consisting of members who respect each other and love to help each other. The employee's feeling of being a part of the workplace strengthens the sense of belonging of the employee when an employee works with supervisors and colleagues who show interest in him/her in the team.

Employee Welfare: Supporting the psychological welfare of employees ensures that organizations also have a moderate climate. All these positive developments prevent the formation of cynical attitudes such as skepticism, skepticism, insecurity, pessimism, conflicts, psychological violence, stress, feeling of burnout, and similar negative psychological attitudes and behaviors in the business environment, and offer employees a psychologically comfortable business life.

Remote Work: Remote work is a working method that allows employees to work outside of the office. Telecommuting is the fulfillment of the work from home or outside the workplace, often with the support of technological communication tools. It is a business relationship established in written rules based on the principles that the employee fulfills his work at home or outside the workplace with technological communication tools within the scope of the business organization created by the employer.

Organizational Commitment: Organizational commitment is the degree to which the employee feels a part of the organization and the union of forces he has established with the organization. It is a collection of internalized normative pressures to act towards organizational interests. It is the emotional attachment of the individual to the goals and values of the organization, regardless of interest. It is to express the loyalty attitude of the individual towards the organization and the strength of the bond the employee feels towards the organization s/he works with.

Employee-Friendly Workplace: Work-life balance practices bring along higher productivity, profitability, and value creation in employee-friendly institutions. Employers expect to increase corporate efficiency and profitability as well as increase employee productivity with an employee-friendly approach. Employees' motivation, job satisfaction, corporate loyalty and productivity are closely related to the corporate communication environment.

Humanitarianism: Humanitarianism is an understanding that takes the individual to the basis and accepts the individual as valuable and good at birth. Accordingly, the human being is not a mechanical machine that gives automatic responses to stimuli, every individual is valuable and important. It highlights the importance and dignity of human being. This approach considers individuals not as a means for the economy or for different powers, but as a goal. The feeling of compassion is at the forefront.

Work-Life Balance: While summarizing “work”, career, and individual's efforts in terms of work-life balance; life summarizes health, happiness, leisure time and family. Work-life balance is defined as satisfaction with work and non-work life with minimal role conflict. Work-life balance is characterized by the fact that the conflict between work and outside demands is not at unacceptable levels. In its simplest form, work-life balance; it is the effective management of individuals' work and social lives. It is the ability of an individual to achieve satisfaction in both areas by establishing a balance between activities related to work and private life.

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