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What are the relative pros and cons of current trends to expand the scope of consideration of work-life issues?

Weigh the relative advantages and disadvantages of current trends to expand the scope of consideration of work-life issues. Include such topics as ethics, social responsibility, and workplace spirituality. Be sure to consider this question in relation to HRM as a strategic business partner.

Key aspects that should be covered in your discussion include:

Current trends in work-life issues, including pros and cons
How Gens X and Y are changing the workplace with their different views on work-life balance
How ethics, social responsibility and workplace spirituality are impacting previous and current thinking
Leadership's impact on work-life issues
Other areas which you feel are relevant to work-life balance

Solution Preview

Work life balance is a topic of much discussion in today's workforce and among human resources professionals. The concept is a relatively new one, that has likely stemmed from the long working hours often embraced by the baby boomer generation and the subsequent effects this group has had on the next generation. Work life balance is a concept of attempting to manage or distribute one 's time at work and at home more equitably, so that enough time is allotted for family activities, exercise and relaxation. Among the general trends in work life balance, are the need for flexible working hours, more time off for care giving of elderly relatives and special needs children and the need for improved health care access for those workers.

The increased need for flexible working situations and more time off has brought about some workplace trends that have been embraced by many larger employers and rejected by others. Shorter work weeks, such as a four day work week, flexible schedules and telecommuting are options for many organizations. With the increased focus on cost savings for workers and environmental concerns, many organizations adopt one or more of these new work situations to do their part in helping the environment, or as part of a green initiative. Ken Giglio (nd), of the Sloan Work and Family Research Network, presents some case studies of how various corporations address the issue of work life balance. Texas Instruments approached this topic by considering the needs of their work force. Some may work later hours, if they have an appointment during the day. Some have the ability to work from home, to care for a sick child.

Others may come in late the next day, when they have a late night overseas meeting or conference call. AFLAC allows workers to work different shifts or hours and also permits a 4/10 or 3/12 work day for its employees. The organization believes that if it takes care of its employees, they will take care of the business (Giglio, nd).

While there are many benefits of flexible work schedules, there are some organizations for which offering a flexible work schedule may not be possible. Those organizations in which primary business or what the organization does is typically limited to normal 9 to 5 business hours, such as in the financial industry, are less likely to offer flexible schedules. Teaching and health care institutions also rely heavily on the physical presence of their workers, though this trend is changing somewhat. Some hospitals offer 36 hour weekend options for nurses. With the growing trend in online or remote education, some teachers, instructors and professors may also have the option of performing at least some of their duties from home.

Many organizations see benefits of a changing work life balance, in terms of cost reduction. Those who utilize a three or four day work week scheduling may reducing operating costs, such as those associated with utility or power consumption. However, this can only occur when workers follow the same work schedule within those three or four days. This is likely to be more helpful for organizations in which much of the ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses work-life balance, accommodation of workers and other issues such as the sandwich generation in 1880 words with five references.

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