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Work-Life Balance and Job Sharing Management Essay

Work-Life Balance

Many individuals tend to experience struggle arising from commitment to work and family life. Thus, striking a balance between the two aspects forms the major challenge that many employees face. In the last few years, balancing the individual and work commitments have been considered to be private matters, and the employers have responded to their employees need by offering additional work benefits, such as on-site child care and paid maternity leave (Reilly, Sirgy & Gorman, 2012). Nonetheless, with environmental shifts and the value changes of the employees, their desires for the work-life balance have captured the attention of the employers who have begun to offer more active support to their employees’ work-life balance. It has resulted from the notable demand for balancing life by the employees and the managers that expands at a fast rate. Current paper will focus on the work-life balance in Motorola Company as a case study.

Company Background

Motorola Company was formed in 1928 in the USA, and currently employs more than 100, 000 employees across the world. The company harnesses its competitiveness from the services, such as wireless, broadband and the Internet, where it provides communication solutions through embedded chip systems (Maxwell & Society for Human Resource Management, 2008). In one of its subsidiary in East Kilbride, Scotland, Motorola employees approximately 1,500 employees, with 700 operators who operate the plant for 24 hours, seven days a week. Due to the significant shift in work related dynamic, the company offers a number of work-life balance arrangements that are established throughout the company. Such work-life balance is offered in order to ensure that the company attracts high caliber people, organizes and rewards them appropriately. Such aspect corresponds to the company’s philosophy of balancing life and work (Maxwell & Society for Human Resource Management, 2008).

Motorola Job Sharing Fits its Business Needs

In the last decade, use of the job sharing has been instrumental in enhancing the company competitive advantage, since it fits the company’s business needs. The job sharing model was established in order to standardize the shifts throughout the whole organization. Currently, the company operator’s work for seven 12-hour shifts distributed over the two-week period (Maxwell & Society for Human Resource Management, 2008). It denotes that two people share an employment opportunity by working in different hours. The job sharing plays very important role in the East Kilbride plant, since it enhances competitiveness and meets its performance thresholds in the face of worldwide competition. The job sharing has permitted the company to preserve a pool of highly qualified and trained employees. In accordance to the Motorola Corporate philosophy, the job sharing enables the women, who are unable or prefer not to work full-time due to family commitment, to contribute to the company through structured plans.

The job share also fits the Motorola business needs because it creates a different management dimension used in developing of supporting procedures, such as the procedure for absence cover and holiday. As a result, such procedure has been refined over the time and now operates smoothly within the company. Therefore, it means that job sharing has permitted the company to remain productive even when some employees are absent due to medical related issues or during the holiday. Consequently, the model ensures business processes remain uninterrupted (Maxwell & Society for Human Resource Management, 2008). Furthermore, it has been noted that individuals in the job share are particularly women returning after the maternity leave due to the convenience created by the arrangement. Initially, the most challenging issue occurred when the workflow was disrupted due to change in arrangement established during the holiday cover arrangements. The job sharing is perceived to encourage a healthy work-life balance and directly contribute to the success of Motorola.

The job sharing model in Motorola Company has enabled the employees to work in accordance with their job requirements without the involvement of supervisor or manager. As a result, it enables the employee to remain competent even when the regular sharing system between the two is interrupted. Though the manager needs to be involved in scheduling during the holidays, the model has been credited in promotion of standardization and open discussion particularly in development of policies in regard to development of policies regarding the work-life balance arrangements. Job sharing has permitted the company to match the business needs and individual requests within the firm. As a result, negative experience of work-life balance arrangement has been outweighed by the positives outcomes.

Specific Needs for Females Employees in Work-Life Balance Arrangement

Women comprise nearly one-half of the labor force. Female employees in different workplaces face different specific needs concerning work-life balance arrangement and addressing such particular needs remains essential in boosting their productivity. The women require a paid maternity leave that effectively permits them resume their job gradually in regard to their parenting role. However, lack of such program makes the women choose not to return to work after the birth of the child. It occurs regardless of the policies offered by the employer to such women. However, it calls for the company to develop specific and well-structured maternity leave policies, so that the staff member is partially paid while being on leave, and partially after the employee returns to work.

The specific need of women in the work-life balance requires the company to understand and meet them. The social exchange theory has been important since it helps understand how the employees accomplish their tasks and commit to their efforts in the company (Wright, 2012). It is established that most female employees fail to return back to work due to the nature of policies in the workplace. However, in order for the company to understand such needs, it is imperative to ensure that social exchange occurs between the both parties based on mutual trust and reciprocity. It has been revealed that when a worker perceives company’s efforts to be channeled towards the enhancement of their own well-being, they tend to become willing to strengthen their contribution to the company. The females employees provided with specific work-life balance program feel motivated to repay to the company by increasing their efforts (Wright, 2012). Therefore, provision of the specific program will be viewed by the female employee as recognition of their input, making them contribute to the company’s success.

The female employees also require a specific benefit programs that can create an advantageous environment for the care of their children. Childcare that is close to the workplace has been perceived to permit the return from parental leave sooner. As a result, it decreases the traveling time between the childcare area and the office, and during the emergency it permits the staff to return to the office to meet the deadlines. Based on such understanding, companies tend to offer assistance or information regarding the childcare facilities and placement. Furthermore, it includes offering a work-based childcare that enables female staff to be retained. Such program makes it possible for female employees to return to work as soon they are able to uphold a close interaction with their children. Furthermore, it is established that female employees using employer-sponsored childcare remain with the company until their children go to school.

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In regard to attitude-behavior theory, the work attitudes tend to be shaped by the individual’s beliefs about the aspect of the working situations, and offer the rationale for explaining the mediating role of the effective employee commitment (Wright, 2012). Therefore, it is apparent that employees articulate work attitudes that lead to intentions and behaviors. The theory further states that the attitudes individuals hold in respect to their lives, including working environment, define their behavior at the workplace. Furthermore, individual attitudes tend to represent both favorable and unfavorable evaluations of a particular workplace. However, such attitude is also significantly shaped by the working environment and how the employees are treated (Wright, 2012). Therefore, provision of female specific program that focuses on the maternity leave and childcare assists the female in meeting their family obligations without compromising their productivity at the workplace. Work-based childcare encourages the bonding between the female parent and the child that enhances their contribution to the company.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Job Sharing

  • Advantages

Many companies have found that employees who share job tend to be appreciative for the job opportunity, hence work harder. Job sharing led to the improvement of performance appraisals, volunteerism, and more participation from the employees that take advantage of the flexible working schedules (Reilly, Sirgy & Gorman, 2012). Job sharing is beneficial since it offers the companies a chance to retain valued employees that are unwilling to work full time. In the modern workforce, many workers tend to suffer from the overload, which results in employee’s burnout. It mostly occurs among women who have difficult tasks in the family, and offers an answer for the parent who has to juggle the responsibilities as the family provider and employee in the company. It has been established that job sharing arrangement protects the employees against the burnout while maintaining the required productivity. Moreover, job sharing reduces rates of employee absenteeism levels, which often delay important corporate projects when the participating people become absent (Reilly, Sirgy & Gorman, 2012).

For the employees who are usually absent due to terminal illness, job sharing ensures that they work part-time and have adequate time for resting. Some companies also have established that job sharing reduces maternity leave, thus enhance employee productivity. Job sharing is also beneficial to individuals, since it offers highly-skilled employees the opportunity to continue improving their skills (Reilly, Sirgy & Gorman, 2012). It enables the individuals to balance the family and workplace life through meeting the obligation in both settings without much pressure. Moreover, it is advantageous for individuals who only afford to work part-time rather than full-time. Unlike a full-time job, job sharing offers the employee an opportunity to enjoy benefits, such as profit sharing, sick leave and vacation, the aspects that are usually difficult to enjoy when working full-time.

  • Disadvantages

Job sharing presents its disadvantages especially in the presence of bad partners, since the outcome in terms of job performance is usually dependent upon two people. Therefore, if two individuals are responsible for not completing a task, it is usually difficult for the employer to find a responsible for the failure. Furthermore, operation problems usually arise that affect the company’s performance, particularly when a partner changes. For instance, if one partner decides to leave the job sharing, the whole work arrangement may be affected (Reilly, Sirgy & Gorman, 2012). Therefore, the employer finds it difficult to find another person who will participate in the job sharing arrangement or an individual who fits the sharing duties and schedules. Such difficulties occur since employees in the job sharing situation might be unable to receive similar benefits as the individuals working full-time. Job sharing tends to affect the company due to the high administrative cost associated with the model. The company will be required to spend extra resources for training and communicating, as well as coordinating the two employees.
In addition, job sharing tends to be detrimental to the employee welfare. It is usually difficult for the employees to receive individual credit or recognition irrespective of their efforts in ensuring that a task is completed (Reilly, Sirgy & Gorman, 2012). Individuals sharing the job find it difficult to change the job due to the complexity associated with defining individual’s responsibilities. Furthermore, job sharing limits individuals’ ability to advance their career, especially if there is a continued need and desire to work in shared arrangement. Job sharing makes the individual earn partial salary, which may cause financial difficulties. Furthermore, job sharing requires an extra effort in regard to communication between the managers and the pair sharing the jobs. It has also been established that employees in the job sharing arrangement eventually feel incapable of handling an entire position themselves (Reilly, Sirgy & Gorman, 2012). Therefore, job sharing might have been criticized for promoting employee degradation rather than development.

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Introducing Work-Life Balance in the UAE

Establishing job sharing in the UAE can be instrumental in opening the labor market that has traditionally been dominated by full-time employment arrangement. Part-time work in the UAE has been legally allowed recently, and those engaged in temporary employment usually worked in the grey area. However, in the advent of legal part-time work has created an exciting opportunity for the job sharing firms that are willing to explore the possibilities of establishing a creative and flexible work arrangement.

Establishing job sharing in the UAE is not a complex process, since The Labour Code does not stipulate eligibility criteria for the employers to introduce job sharing. Furthermore, there is not geographical or sectoral limitation. However, before signing a written agreement, the employer is required to notify the employees of the conditions applicable to the job sharing arrangement in writing (Gray, 2012). Since job sharing is known as an employment relationship that has reduced working time, the employees will be informed of the benefits associated with such working conditions in order to avoid labor and remuneration issues. Furthermore, the job sharers are entitled to the similar benefits as regular employees irrespective of their reduced working time arrangement. Additionally, it will be imperative to establish the condition for such work arrangement to ensure no ambiguity. It is essential to include the obligation for substituting each other in case of absence (Gray, 2012). As a result, if the job sharer leaves the company, other employees will be required to perform their duties, thus ensuring the effective company’s operation.

In the UAE, the job sharing will effectively work in the manufacturing sectors due to increase in demand for better-working conditions and benefits within the sector. Such sectors in the UAE are associated with low-skilled and paid opportunities. Other sector includes finance, real estate, information technology and education. However, through job sharing, it will be possible to reverse the condition by offering the employees a flexible working schedule that permits them balance others aspect of life with work (Gray, 2012). However, job sharing can also be established in the public sector where the well-structured arrangement will allow highly qualified employees in the white collar professions to work on part time basis. Moreover, establishing job sharing in the UAE will play a critical role in attracting highly-qualified women back to the workforce with the potential to support emiratisation.

Motorola Work-Life Balances Approaches Replicable to other Organizations

Motorola work-life balance has a number of elements that can be effectively replicated in other companies, enhancing their productivity and competitiveness while still promoting quality of life for the employees. Motorola has a variety of life balance arrangements that have been established in the company. They include health care program that supports the private health scheme, as well as the state-funded United Kingdom program. Moreover, it offers job sharing and dependency leave that permit the employees an opportunity to work part-time, thus balancing the family and the workplace lives (Maxwell & Society for Human Resource Management, 2008).

However, the most important element of Motorola work-life balance is the job sharing arrangement. Through job sharing, the company has managed to standardize the working shifts throughout the organization. For instance, the employees work for seven 12 hours shifts that are evenly distributed within a period of two weeks, and the employee work for 4 days in one week, and three days in the other week (Maxwell & Society for Human Resource Management, 2008). Such arrangement is replicable to other organization, since it offers the employees a flexible working schedule that ensures optimum commitment to the company’s visions and goals. As a result, the employees are relieved from pressure while trying to strike a balance between workplace and family duties.
Leisure management is another critical element of work-life balance that can be embraced from Motorola. Though mostly overlooked, Motorola acknowledges the need to support employees to enjoy their leisure time, as an important factor of rest and relaxation. The company offers both scheduled vacation and emergency holiday, especially when the annual leave needs to be taken during the non-holiday time (Maxwell & Society for Human Resource Management, 2008). Such arrangement motivates the employee to remain committed to the company, thus reducing the turnover rates. It has permitted the company to attract and retain highly qualified individuals who feel that their life needs apart from the workplace are accorded the highest priority. In addition, the presence of such flexible working program for the employees can be duplicated in other companies, since it has enabled the company to be rated as America’s 100 best corporate citizen award lists for employment practices (Maxwell & Society for Human Resource Management, 2008). Organization embracing similar arrangement will be required to establish a flexible holiday plan for the employees, which is easy to adjust throughout the year.

Furthermore, Motorola has been credited with its work-life balance for letting the parents be parents. Motorola offers an attractive parenthood leave program and a flexible return formula that makes it possible for a mother to resume work after delivery. The company recognizes that raising a child is a full-time job in itself and demands close attention. As a result, it provides options, such as on-site day care services that permit the parents to address family emergencies, which require their presence in regard to childcare (Maxwell & Society for Human Resource Management, 2008). It has been an integral strategy that enables the company to retain staff members with both familial and professional ambitions. Other companies can replicate it by establishing a flexible program that integrates maternity leave with an ability to work part-time. Such strategy ensures that individuals on maternity leave return to the job earlier on part time basis. Furthermore, it is recommendable to such firm to establish a child care center for employees who are mothers. It will help ensure that close connection between the child and mother is maintained (Maxwell & Society for Human Resource Management, 2008).

In conclusion, it is apparent that a conflict exists between the individual and work life, and striking the balance between work and personal life continues being a major problem under the traditional full-time work arrangement. However, over the years, work-life balance has gained importance among major companies. Motorola has been at the forefront in championing the work-life balance through a number of programs, with job sharing being the most important element of the program. The work arrangement has been essential in addressing the specific work-life balance need for female’s employees. Due to its significance in enhancing employees’ satisfaction, high job performance, and reduced employee turnover, the model has been regarded as a template to be replicated in other countries. In the UAE, it is recommended to establish a structured agreement between the employees and employer in order to ensure that the employees engage in the program with full understanding of its components. In addition, aligning the job sharing arrangement with the existing UAE labor codes will be instrumental in order to evade any possible labor issues.

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