For decades, people look for harmony between work and family. Despite these two concepts of life relating to each other, they affect each other directly. As some people consider work as a means of getting joy, creativity, self-realization, some others have a different perception towards work. They define work as monotony and necessity. People work to get the money to pay bills, buy food and clothing, pay for school and support their family. The problem of balance between family and work is one of major concerns of sociologists and psychologists nowadays. The essay will focus on analyzing three trends that are anticipated to affect how workers balance their work and family life in the future.
Work as a context for growth and personal development rather than only a way to earn a living. This trend has an influence on the relationship between work and family life in the future. The current trend among many people is working for personal developments as opposed to the initial approach to work where most people considered working in order to earn. It is seen that in the future people will focus more on their personal development and therefore there ought to have more cohesion between family life and work. As it is noted by Dr. Wallen (2002), “The emergence of a tightening labor market and the increased emphasis on human resources as a competitive element serve to underpin the importance of developing innovative ways of raising labor supply. Family-friendly policies can serve a dual purpose. They should not only be business oriented but should also meet the needs of employees with family responsibilities” (p.42).
Continuing technological advances that allow for increased flexibility in where and how work is completed. Due to the continued technological changes, it is expected that work done manually will reduce. This also has an influence on the time spent while working. Therefore, workers will be left with more time left to spend with their families. In her study, Balancing Work and Family: the Role of the Workplace, Jacqueline Wallen notes that the types of working arrangement can be categorized into two broad groups in terms of their different levels of flexibility. Temporal flexibility relates to variations in the number of hours worked and includes less than full-time work (including job-sharing and other forms of part-time working), flextime, career breaks and term time working. Locational Flexibility relates to the choice of working location and varying the geographical location of the workplace to meet the changing needs of employers and or employees. This is a new form of flexible working. It is rapidly developing with technological advances, particularly in the information technology (IT) area.
Further in Chapter 14, Wallen says ‘new work arragments have the promise of producing new ways of thinking of work and family’ The author uses the term ‘old and new paradigms for work’. A new approach to a problem implies a change of view on the problem. For example, changing concepts such as ‘consumerism’ to ‘appropriate consumption’, ‘people fit jobs’ – ‘jobs fit people’ and so on. Wallen admits: ’In the new paradigm identity is seen as transcending one’s job, partly because there is less emphasis on job security and achieving stability and more willingness to change jobs and to take risks’ (Wallen, 2002, p.139). In the future job market will be more aggressive because of the fact that more talented people will be attracted by companies that give them better working conditions (flexible work, part-time work, work sharing etc.) However Wallen says, that in the new paradigm of work there are some disadvantages and the author finds some decisions to upgrade it.
Increasing importance of family caregiving, childcare, elder care and caring for family members with illness or disabilities is another trend that will have an influence on the future family. With the current trends among different people, there is a change on how people view family duties. More working people are not only working on their duties in their businesses but are also sparing time for their families. Currently, many people are According to the recent study performed by researchers of Michigan State University, a growing number of workers who do not have families and children cannot find the time and energy to engage in their hobbies. They are less satisfied with their lives and show more signs of depression and anxiety. Ann Marie Ryan, a professor of psychology at Michigan State University and one of the study’s authors, states that according to the respondents, after having performed their duties at work, they have no energy or desire to spend time with friends or entertain themselves in any other way (Keeney, Boyd, Sinha, Westring & Ryan, 2013). Many large companies focus on finding balance between work and family and tend to ignore the specific needs of workers without families. Jessica Keeney advises organizations to seek and improve their policies in relation to employees, and consider offering bonuses such as flexible working hours not only to parents raising children, but also to the single employees. (Keeney, Boyd, Sinha, Westring & Ryan, 2013).
In conclusion, the problem of balancing between work and family is important and requires solutions in the near future. With the current trends and people’s perception towards work and family life, future balancing is possible. Today’s companies and firms help employees balance work and family responsibilities in many ways. The problem of balancing between work and family is also complicated economic issues. Thus, the higher the wealth of the family, the easier it is to organize child-care and depend care.