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Impact of Flexible Working Hours on Work-Life Balance

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Abstract

Nowadays, flexible working hours are becoming important to the workplaces. A lot of organizations offer flexible working hours to employees due to the benefits that flexibility gives to both employee and employer. Greater employee productivity and higher organization profitability are the most common benefits. Also, flexible work-ing hours promote and facilitate work-life balance. Reduced stress and increased employee wellbeing are out-comes of the work-life balance. In this paper, the relationship between flexible working hours and work-life bal-ance is investigated.
American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 2014, 4, 20-23
Published Online January 2014 (http://www.scirp.org/journal/ajibm)
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ajibm.2014.41004
Impact of Flexible Working Hours on Work-Life Balance
Sussanna Shagvaliyeva, Rashad Yazdanifard
Centre of Post Graduates Studies, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Cyberjaya, Malaysia.
Email: shagvaliyeva@gmail.com, rashadyazdanifard@yahoo.com
Received December 10th, 2013; revised January 1st, 2014; accepted January 6th, 2014
Copyright © 2014 Sussanna Shagvaliyeva, Rashad Yazdanifard. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Com-
mons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work
is properly cited. In accordance of the Creative Commons Attribution License all Copyrights © 2014 are reserved for SCIRP and the
owner of the intellectual property Sussanna Shagvaliyeva, Rashad Yazdanifard. All Copyright © 2014 are guarded by law and by
SCIRP as a guardian.
ABSTRACT
Nowadays, flexible working hours are becoming important to the workplaces. A lot of organizations offer flexible
working hours to employees due to the benefits that flexibility gives to both employee and employer. Greater
employee productivity and higher organization profitability are the most common benefits. Also, flexible work-
ing hours promote and facilitate work-life balance. Reduced stress and increased employee wellbeing are out-
comes of the work-life balance. In this paper, the relationship between flexible working hours and work-life bal-
ance is investigated.
KEYWORDS
Flexible Working Hours; Benefits; Work-Life Balance; Stress; Wellbeing
1. Introduction
Flexible working hours have recently gained a lot of at-
tention from organizations and scholars as family-friendly
policy. Nowadays, organizations are trying to incorporate
a culture of trust by offering employees flexibility in the
workplace [1]. In addition, some researchers argue that
flexible working practices facilitate work-life balance,
and with shifting family patterns such practices are be-
neficial for both women and men [2-4]. In this paper,
relationship between flexible working hours and work-
life balance is examined. This paper investigates whether
flexible working hours support and enhance work-life
balance or conversely create difficulties in balancing
between work and life roles.
Firstly, some previous findings on flexible working
hours are examined. With the use of existing evidence,
flexible working hours are considered from employee
and employer sides in order to show that flexibility in the
workplace beneficial is not only for employee, but for
employer as well. Secondly, existing literature on work-
life balance is scanned. Stress and employee wellbeing
are discussed as they are two key outcomes of work-life
balance, one is negative and the other one is positive re-
spectively. The literature lacks the evidence of flexible
working hours impacting on work-life balance; however,
two concepts are frequently used together in the studies.
The paper proceeds with a brief discussion on a chosen
topic. And finally, conclusion is provided to summarize
the ideas of the paper.
2. Flexible Working Hours
Work flexibility implies not only variation in time and
place of the job, but also sharing of the job, career breaks
(maternity/paternity leaves), part-time and term-time
working [5]. In the other study on flexible work arrange-
ment (FWA), researchers discussed three broad catego-
ries of FWA-flexi-time (flexibility in scheduling), tele-
homeworking (flexibility in location), and part-time (fle-
xibility in length of the work) [6]. While each of the ar-
rangement could be used individually, they are frequen-
tly combined to compliment each other [7]. It should be
noted that work flexibility offers convenience in planning,
not reducing the working time. Thus, flexibility in work
might be summarized as the ability of employee to con-
trol his/her working time duration as well as location of
work (remotely from office), this ability in scheduling
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Impact of Flexible Working Hours on Work-Life Balance
21
work suppose to be offered by employer [8].
2.1. Benefits for Employers
Employers have introduced flexible working packages
(part of work-life policy) in order to attract, recruit, and
retain highly qualified staff to their organizations [9].
With the ability to schedule the work himself/herself,
employee feels that employer cares about wellbeing and
non-working life of employee [10]. That leads to in-
creased satisfaction with the job and employer, resulting
in higher work commitment [11]. According to some
other previous findings, flexible working result in em-
ployee loyalty and engagement, increased organizational
commitment, and higher job satisfaction, also flexible
working packages help to recruit and retain talented em-
ployees for the organization [12]. Furthermore, increased
productivity, reduced employee turnover and absentee-
ism have been identified as advantages of flexible work-
ing for the employers [13]. Thus, flexible working prac-
tices are beneficial for employers, hence flexibility was
embedded to the work in order to give employees an op-
tion to choose at what time, how much time, and from
which place to work.
2.2. Benefits for Employees
Despite apparent advantages of flexible working prac-
tices (employee personal control over work scheduling),
some employees, mostly men, think that such practices
result in lower income and higher employment insecurity
[14]. According to the same findings, men see flexible
working practices as a way to develop their organiza-
tional commitment, while women associate flexibility
with the work-life balance improvement. The evidence
suggests that flexible working practices fit women more
then men and are more likely to be employed by women
due to the ideology beliefs of motherhood [15]. The
findings from previous research also assert that women
request and access the flexible working hours more fre-
quently then men [16]. However, due to the changing
family patterns and gender norms, as well as rise of
women workforce, flexible employment is slowly started
utilizing by men these days [17]. Flexible working prac-
tices help to fulfil work-life responsibilities and might
result in work-life balance. The literature suggests that
there is a positive relationship between flexible working
practices and health issues-employees better mental
health and stress reduction [18].
3. Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance concept recently gained attention due
to its relevance and importance to all employees, despite
of their relationship status, family size, and number of
children. Some researchers believe that lack of balance is
an effect of conflict between work and life responsibili-
ties [19]. In their study on the support for the work-life
balance, researchers found that emotional and instrumen-
tal support for employee during the work has a positive
relationship with the work-life balance satisfaction [20].
The positive relationship has been found between work-
life balance and work performance [21]. Thus, successful
accomplishment of life responsibilities (family and pa-
rental roles) results in better work performance. While
finding a balance in life and work responsibilities in-
crease general life satisfaction [22].
3.1. Stress and Work-Life Balance
Each person defines stress in a different way. For some
stress occurs from working overtime, from pressure to
meet deadlines, or from fear of failure. In general, stress
occurs when person has no control over when, where,
and how he/she does the work [23]. High level of stress
might result in mental and physical health problems, such
as headaches, depression, heart attack, and cancer; stress
is also an antecedent of unhappy and disharmonious rela-
tionships that cause work-life conflict [24]. The evidence
suggests that those employees who have work-life bal-
ance difficulties experience higher stress then those who
found balance between work and life responsibilities
[25].
3.2. Wellbeing and Work-Life Balance
The definition of wellbeing is associated with health and
wellness [26]. It is employers responsibility to create
working environment (workplace wellness culture) that
promote employee wellbeing [27]. Furthermore, authors
suggest that physiological wellbeing leads to mental
wellbeing, and both are helping to achieve work-life
balance. The other previous findings suggest that em-
ployee wellbeing directly influence productivity and per-
formance; as well as organizational commitment, job
satisfaction, and work-life balance are outcomes of em-
ployee wellbeing [28-30].
4. Flexible Working Hours and Work-Life
Balance
Flexible working hours have been introduced as a benefit
for parent/caring employees in order to help them fulfil-
ling work and life responsibilities and achieving work-
life balance [31]. In the recent work-life balance survey,
researchers found that employees believe that flexible
working practices improve workplace morale, which
might positively influence work-life balance; in addition
employees believe that employer is able to help them
balance their work and life roles [32]. As an example,
flexible working hours is one of the best activities to in-
crease employee wellbeing, as it helps employee to deal
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Impact of Flexible Working Hours on Work-Life Balance
22
with responsibilities outside the work [33].
5. Discussion
Flexible working practices are beneficial for both em-
ployee and employer. Hence, in the first place flexibility
was introduced to the workplace in order to help em-
ployees with kids or employees who care after siblings to
manage their time between work and life. As flexibility
gives employee the ability to control when, where, and
how much time do they work, flexibility definitely con-
tributes to improvement in allocation of work and life
responsibilities. Thus, employee might end up fulfilling
his/her working as well as well non-working roles easily.
Finally, successful achievement of inside the work and
outside the work responsibilities leads to finding work-
life balance, which increase overall life satisfaction. To
summarize, it might be said that use of flexible working
practices positively influence on work-life balance and
overall life satisfaction of the employee.
Looking from employer point of view, flexibility in
the workplace also brought some important benefits.
Higher satisfaction with the work and employer, better
employee performance, greater organizational commit-
ment, and lower employee turnover and absenteeism are
all outcomes of flexible working practices that at the end
lead to increasing companys productivity and profitabil-
ity.
The stress on the work impacts on employees per-
sonal outside the work life, which creates difficulties in
finding work-life balance. Stress causes some serious
mental and physical problems that negatively influence
on employees productivity and wellbeing. Thus, it might
be said that on the work stress decreases employee’s
work-life balance, while wellbeing contributes to higher
level of work-life balance. It is the responsibility of em-
ployer to create the wellness workplace (stress-free and
trust-based environment) for employees in order to in-
crease their productivity.
Previously, flexible working hours have been highly
requested and used by women due to their family roles.
However, flexible working hours are offered to men as
well. Nowadays, both women and men due to the new
family patterns use flexible working practices, where
both parents have equal family roles and dual family in-
come. Thus, it is important for both of them to success-
fully fulfil work and life responsibilities and achieve
work-life balance.
6. Conclusions
This paper examined flexible working hours from its
positive point of view. The investigation showed that in-
troduction of flexible working hours brought some bene-
fits for both employee and employer. Also, flexibility in
the workplace gives employees time to perform outside
of the work roles and it helps balance employees’ work
and life.
Trust between employer and employee is an important
issue when it comes to flexible working hours. If not
monitored by manager, flexible working hours might
create some difficulties in the workplace. Further study
on flexible working hours need to be taken to understand
the drawbacks of such practices. Only after investigating
flexible working practices from both positive and nega-
tive sides, organizations might consider applying flexi-
bility to the workplace.
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... A good work-life balance is reached when someone's work and personal life do not interfere with each other (Bailey & Kurland, 1999;Pierik, 2011). Positive relationship has been suggested between work-life balance and work performance (Lyness & Judiesch, 2008;Shagvaliyeva & Yazdanifard, 2013); when an employee has a good work-life balance an organization can be benefit from that (Pierik, 2011). However, these extant studies mostly only make suggestions. ...
... Among components mentioned in the figure; teleworking and flexible working are the two most important components of newWOW (Pierik, 2011). These arrangements could be used individually, but frequently combined to complement each other (Chung, 2009;Shagvaliyeva & Yazdanifard, 2013). New Ways of Working can be summarized as working "anytime, anyplace, anyhow" (Pierik, 2011). ...
... In the first place, flexibility was introduced to the workplace in order to help employees with kids or employees who care after siblings to manage their time between work and life. Shagvaliyeva & Yazdanifard (2013) defines flexible working as convenience in planning the working time (but not reducing the working time) as well as location of work. Work flexibility implies not only variation in time and place of the job, but also sharing of the job, career breaks (maternity/paternity leaves), part-time and term-time working (Torrington, Taylor, Hall, & Atkinson, 2011). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
In the changing modern economy some new factors have been addressed that are important for productivity such as human skills, workplace organization, information and communication technologies (ICT) and knowledge sharing. An increasing number of companies and organizations are implementing measures to better address these factors, often referred to as ‘the New Ways of Working (newWOW)’. This consists of a large variety of measures that enable flexibility in the time and location of work. Expectations of these measures are often high, including benefits for both employers and employees such as work-life balance and an increase of productivity and organizational performance. There is a common expectation among forward-looking companies that through the implementation of the newWOW, workplace conditions and its systems will be enhanced with such an effect as to improve employee satisfaction levels, increase productivity and ultimately impact positively upon company performance. However, scientific proof is still lacking, and it is worth asking whether all these implementations actually cause a change in work behaviour and effect business outcomes positively.
... The significant mediating factors are related to organisational trust and where high levels of trust exist between employees and managers around such issues as working hours, positive benefits of flexible working for issues like childcare. This permits flexible use of time for school runs for example, increased employee effort and higher levels of motivation may be achieved (Shagvaliyeva and Yazdanifard, 2014;Possenried and Plantenga, 2011). ...
... These connections are by no means new in economic theories of business growth and product development. Schumpeter (1934) emphasises the significance of innovation in the activities of entrepreneurship and on the role of 'creative destruction' in promoting innovation and constantly re-invigorating the business cycle. The classic study of Burns and Stalker (1961) sees the origin of innovative cultures in the structural organisation of the company and its inbuilt tendencies towards either open and 'organismic' that tend to be flexible and facilitate evolutionary change when faced with new challenges. ...
... There are several previous research results that support this statement, including the use of flexible working hours as a form of work arrangement by institutions can positively affect worklife balance and life satisfaction in workers which contributes to increased job allocation and life responsibilities. Thus, making a worker will fulfill his role at work or not working easily which ultimately achieves achievements inside and outside the work to lead to work-life balance that has an impact on improving the overall life satisfaction of workers (Shagvaliyeva & Yazdanifard, 2014) Furthermore, Poulose & Sudarsan (2014) claim that work-life balance can be influenced by a variety of factors including individual, organizational factors, environmental factors and demographic factors. Here's a further explanation of these factors: ...
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... The flexibility of work is synonym with the flexible working arrangement (FWA) (Shagvaliyeva & Yazdanifard 2014). Work flexibility is defined as the ability of workers to control the duration of their good work from any location based on the schedule that has been given by the organization (Atkinson & Hall, 2011). ...
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... With the ability to flexibly manage schedules, workers employ their time with better control, avoiding possible adverse outcomes [5] (e.g., overwork or burnout). Previous studies have emphasized the positive effects of flexible schedule arrangements on workers' job satisfaction [6,7], work engagement [8], and work-life balance (WLB) [9,10]. ...
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... Also, flexible working hours facilitate work-life balance. Reduced stress and improved employee wellbeing are results of the work-life balance [47] which is correspondingly one of the aspirations of the respondents. ...
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Thisphenomenological study aimed to determine the motivations, difficulties, and aspirations of solo parent-teachers as revealed by their joys, groans, and hopes. Participants of the study were seven (7) solo parent-teachers who were individually interviewed. Quantitative content analysis was applied to the interview results to analyze the data.The unit of analysis used were words and phrases from the results of the interview. To gather the responses, the participants' replies were recorded using a voice recorder and was later transferred and written in the interview form in verbatim. The frequency of occurrence of words were counted. The themes and sub-themes were determined by the researchers with the help of an expert. Findings of the study revealed that the sources of joys of solo parent-teachers are financial freedom; fulfilling one's child needs; and day-off from work these motivators fall under the themes safety needs, esteem needs, and basic needs. Their groans are brought by poor financial/ resource management; stress and fatigue; and child discipline which are related with the themes on safety and security and esteem needs.On the other hand, solo parent-teachers hope for work-life balance; flexible schedule; and proper education for their child which are all associated with the themes safety and security needs and love and belongingness needs. The findings are useful in designing appropriate interventions, policies, programs, projects and activities that will help the solo parent-teachers to increase their productivity.
... The flexible working hour is beneficial for employees and employers, greater employee productivity and higher organizations profit [11]. Flexibility can be in scheduling, in the location of work, in length of the work [12]. The different flexible arrangements can be used individually or combined [13]. ...
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The term work-life balance implies the balance between times allocated for work versus time allocated for personal needs. Employees having greater satisfaction in life or job behave in a most favorable way as compared to an unsatisfied person; it may be at work or at home, and it leads to better productivity. Today's organizations understand this and taking a lot of measures to balance work-life balance, viz. a flexible working hour, work from home, professional development initiatives etc. Merely offering such benefits is not adequate to deal with work-life balance; it can be achieved through management commitment towards its effective implementation and maintaining a healthy organizational culture. This conceptual paper on work-life balance will give rays on the challenges in maintaining a healthy work-life balance in an organization. It will highlight the factors indicating poor work-life balance and give suggestions to improve the work-life balance of employees.
... It is noteworthy to mention that flexible working hours and working from home facility provided by the software companies act as a family-friendly policy which supports employees to balance their work-life (Shagvaliyeva and Yazdanifard, 2014). ...
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