Work–life balance policies : the use of flexitime within a South African organisation
Downes, Caroline Frances
MetadataShow full item record
Work–life balance is one of the most central issues and concerns for 21st century societies, and according to the American Psychological Association balancing work and family is one of the major challenges for the current generation of employees. Helping employees balance their work and family life is viewed as a social and business imperative since work–life imbalance experienced by employees negatively impacts on employers and society as a whole. Evidence from a study of international employers indicates significant increases in the implementation and use of workplace flexibility, more commonly known as flexitime, as a work–life balance policy. Research into the use and implementation of flexitime within South Africa is limited, especially with regard to the aspects that influence the use of flexitime as well as the associated benefits, challenges and consequences for both South African employees and organisations. Consequently, organisations are left to design, implement and manage their own flexitime policies, with very little information or guidance available to ensure employee and organisational benefit. In this study, a qualitative research design with an exploratory approach was used to explore and describe employees? perceptions regarding the implementation of flexitime. A non–probability purposive, voluntary sample of 15 participants was taken from the offices of an international auditing and consulting organisation located in Johannesburg. Data was collected by means of semi–structured individual interviews and the verbatim transcripts were analysed by means of content analysis. Seven themes were extracted from the interviews, namely: variations in the use of flexitime; factors influencing the use of flexitime; challenges relating to the use of flexitime; perceptions regarding the use of flexitime; required aspects for the effective use of flexitime; consequences relating to the use of flexitime; and the benefits resulting from the use of flexitime. Organisations should be made more aware of the individual as well as organisational benefits, challenges and consequences of flexitime as highlighted in this research. When implementing such policies, specific required aspects for the effective use of flexitime should be taken in consideration. Organisations interested in successfully implementing flexitime for the benefit of both the employee and organisation are advised to consider the findings of this study and take heed of the critical findings presented. Efforts should be made to accommodate employee preferences regarding their use of flexitime. Organisations should be alert to the potential challenges, consequences and negative perceptions surrounding flexitime and, consequently, the importance of ensuring that prerequisites or those aspects required for the implementation of flexitime are in place and perceptions relating to the policy are managed.