The article talks about the importance of work life balance, especially in relation to India. In the Indian context, work life balance has many social and cultural connotations. There are many factors that need to be taken into account to understand work balance with respect to India better: India is a deeply religious country, housing abundant religions within itself and the most dominant of them is Hinduism. The caste system is also prevalent in India.
In combination with the forces of industrialization, modernization and urbanization, there is some evidence that caste groups are now serving more as a way for people to assert their cultural identity rather than as a way of establishing their place in the social hierarchy.
The family is the basic unit of India’s social order with designated roles for both men and women. Partners are usually found from within the same caste, religion, or social class/status group, making India’s culture high on the dimension of in-group collectivism.
Although the employment and status of women has been changing due to the forces of modernization and industrialization and due to the efforts of the women’s movement in India, this change has been slow. Support for work and family balance in India comes mainly from the non-institutional family context. Institutional support for work and family issues is low in India and takes the form of government policies that are progressive on paper but poorly implemented.
Some of the important government policies that address work and family concerns include the Maternity Benefits Act f 1961, the Factories Act of 1948, and the amendment to the Indian penal code (1869) section 509 aimed at addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.
Some gaps exist in the Indian government’s policy approach to addressing work and family issues. Work and family issues are rarely tackled directly in policy statements. There are no laws passed that specifically cover the right to shared family responsibilities, rights of part-time workers, and rights of home workers, etc.
Many of the laws passed lack teeth, as organizations find ingenious ways of circumventing them. Organizational responses to work-life issues in India In general, the response of Indian organizations to work-life issues has been limited. The reasons for this include a culture that does not empower women, an assumption and expectation that the (joint) Indian family is in a better position to provide support than non-family institutions, and demographic factors including a low rate of organized workforce participation among women as compared to men.
But this has not been the case for private sector companies where companies like Merck Sharp and Dohme, Procter & Gamble India, PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd. etc. Organisations should provide flexibility in terms of when and where to work with practices like Flexi-timing. They must invest in transportation resources to assist employees with work conflicts and delays caused by long and difficult commutes. They can also attempt creating communal and casual spaces for chatting, listening to music, or getting a cup of tea or coffee with friends to lighten up the work environment.
They can also increase health consciousness by providing more information about good exercise and healthy eating, and by providing health check-ups. They may also provide medical coverage for parents and a separate form of leave for dealing with family. Also, contract with well known hospitals may be undertaken to provide quality nursing care, or compile a vendor list of quality elder care providers. They can also partner with local childcare providers to develop quality standards and performance guarantees on behalf of employees.
They should also invest in training for employees to build skills, and to encourage employees to use technology more efficiently. It needs to be demonstrated that work-life programs are beneficial to the business so that both men and women recognize their importance for talent attraction, retention, and development. In conclusion, we can say that the work life balance as a concept makes the employees feel that the organisation cares for their welfare and this motivates them to work better.
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