Many employees now care for both their parents and their children and are also expected to work full time.
Work/Life Challenges of Today's Employees
For both the private and public sectors to stay competitive in today's global market, an effort must be made to address work/life issues. Challenges such as work schedules, child and adult care, time concerns, gaining administrative support, meeting family needs, and work expectations are becoming increasingly more complex for employees throughout the world.
A different kind of employee is emerging in the workplace. Increasingly, workers' commitments may be more to themselves than to their employer. Younger workers, particularly those with children, are more willing to make sacrifices in their education, career, and/or job in exchange for increased time for family or personal life. This reorientation of values is contributing to changing patterns of thinking and decision making for employees (Galinsky & Friedman, 1993).
Due to demographic shifts within the American workforce, changing values have influenced company organization and business policies and practices. Work is a way to sustain a living and lifestyle, as well as an opportunity to productively contribute to the function of the economy and society as a whole. The workplace has become a setting for human development and employee self-fulfillment. A major challenge for managers in today's workplace is to be able to compete effectively in the marketplace and provide growth opportunities for employees at the same time.
The combination of a fluctuating work environment with competing job and family commitments can negatively affect employees. This negative effect can occur in the form of lowered morale, diminished motivation, reduced productivity, and increased burnout and turnover (Benedict & Taylor, 1995). Each of these is costly to an organization from both an economic and time efficiency standpoint.