The majority of workers place a high value on striking a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives, and as a result, employers are realizing that they need to provide workers with flexible working options such as shorter workweeks, flextime, and remote work. Working parents often have childcare obligations that do not mesh well with normal office hours. For these parents, having a flexible work environment is especially important.
To this day, it remains challenging to determine the level of contentment that employees have with the scale of balance that they have achieved, and it has been similarly difficult for employers to evaluate the level of balance that exists within their organizations, with some questioning the effectiveness of the term.
How Do You Define a Good Work-Life Balance?
However, it is a well-known fact that the organizational culture of a company and the assistance of its management for a healthy work-life balance are both essential to the success of these initiatives. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to measure balance, in part because different people define it in different ways and because it is an ill-defined concept. According to the findings of our research, one of the more concrete ways to evaluate balance is by determining the amount of time pressure. The term “time pressure” describes the sensation of being hustled or under pressure for time regularly.
It also has to do with whether or not people believe they have enough time to accomplish everything they require or desire to accomplish (this includes time for work, friends, downtime, traveling, study, volunteering, or gyming). The primary determinant of time constraints for men is the length of their work hours, and the presence of young kids is known to heighten this type of pressure for dads.
There are Different Time Pressures That Mothers and Fathers Experience
The positive aspect of this is that fathers are devoting more time to taking care of their children; however, this time is typically crammed into the weekends and evenings and is spent on cooperative or more pleasurable aspects of child-rearing. The demands of paid work, unpaid household chores, and child-rearing put additional strain on women’s time.
It should come as no surprise that women experience substantially higher levels of time home pressure than men do and that mothers experience significantly higher levels of time pressure at home than fathers do. This is the case even though a large number of mothers in South Africa switch to part-time work schedules when their kids are younger. It would appear that the quality of the work also matters in terms of reducing the amount of time pressure.
It is possible for working mothers to feel less time pressure at work when they have access to flexible scheduling options and when their working days are easy to predict rather than on-call. This is logical because it is challenging to plan children ’s needs and meetings around unforeseen working arrangements, and moms do greater amounts of this organizational family work than dads do. In addition, mothers tend to be the primary caregivers of their children.
To be capable of contributing to the care requirements of their children and, like working mothers, to continue pursuing other quality work-life aspirations, working dads also need full rights to versatility in their working environments. At the moment, there is a significantly lower frequency of occurrence than ought to be the case.
Even though in many situations, dads have better accessibility to flexible workplace structures than moms do, because they’re in seasoned full-time work or in roles that offer better independence over office hours, dads are much less inclined than their female partners to ask for flexibility for caregiving. It is not something that a good (male) employee does, especially if he is in a high-ranking position, and it never has been.
Because of this, it should not come as a surprise that men are more likely than women to grumble that the time constraint they face at work prevents them from spending with their loved ones and friends. According to findings from research conducted on how people use their time, the amount of time workers spend on recreational activities fell by two hours and fifteen minutes between 1997 and 2006.
In 2008, the difference between men’s and women’s free time broadened most noticeably between the ages of 30 and 35. This finding suggests that the time spent raising small kids consumes a larger percentage of recreational time from moms than it does from dads.
Research on Time Independence
According to a body of academic research, time independence, or the capacity to devote sufficient time to fulfilling one’s priorities and aspirations, is of the utmost significance to the physical and mental health of both individuals and families. Our research, which consisted of conducting interviews with working mothers who were under time constraints, revealed that a lack of individual time made a significant contribution to their emotions of illness, anxiety, and depression.
They also experienced adverse effects felt in their relationships with their children and spouses as a result of the situation. Work provided a haven for women, such as a nursing assistant who started working in the emergency section of a hospital, to escape the time pressures that were present at home. She seemed to be able to find a balance between the time pressures of her work and those of her family because her employer gave her the independence to choose the number of hours she worked and the shifts she worked.
The majority of working mothers who have children find that working part-time hours enables them to take on additional free work instead of squandering this time relaxing or engaging in recreational activities. It’s a catch-22 situation that comes with working part-time hours.
The potential solutions to the problems of time stress and pressure can be summed up as providing men and women with an appropriate amount of time for work, caregiving, and other life pursuits. It’s not enough for there to be provisions for work-life balance written into the policies of the workplace. It is imperative that supervisors and managers set an example of time management for their employees by maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Professionals who have decreased their time pressure while retaining or increasing their workplace productivity must be recognized for their accomplishments, rather than being penalized for working part-time, shorter working months, or taking advantage of other versatility structures.