What does work-life balance mean?
It can be:
“a balance between an individual’s work and their life outside work, and that this balance should be healthy… [Work-life balance] accepts that choice, control and flexibility are important in work, that personal fulfilment is important outside work and, further, that satisfaction outside work may enhance employee’s contributions to work”
Kodz, Harper & Dench (2002)
Work-life balance issues impact on everyone. However, since at present responsibilities for childcare and other caring duties are undertaken in disproportionate numbers by women*, it is an issue of particular relevance to women.
The loss of human capital that can occur when employees have to choose between their work and other responsibilities is wasteful and unnecessary. Aside from the damage to individual careers, it represents a huge waste of skills. This negatively impacts the potential for excellent and diverse research, and, at a time when Ireland needs creative and innovative researchers, is particularly damaging.
Proactive work-life balance measures benefit not only employees, but also employers and institutions through increased diversity, creativity and potentially higher productivity. It is advantageous to institutions to ensure that good work-life balance practices are both established and actively promoted to all staff.
If you are working in College and want to know about College initiatives on work-life balance, please explore the links below.
If you are a policy-maker or head of department and want to know more about how a healthy work-life balance can benefit your department, click here to download a copy of the report commissioned by the National Framework Committee on Family Friendly Policies (PDF, 6.2MB)
For further information on work-life balance measures in Ireland, visit www.worklifebalance.ie