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Hope Tours and Travel Company is one of the top leading tourism hospitality and travel companies in New Zeeland. With many activities involved, the company just like any other company has some employees whose affairs must be considered be it on or off duty. For effective management of employees work-life balance, it is very healthy for an organization to be involved in the recognition as well as accounting for arrangements of the activities that employees partake outside their work place that affect their work. Hope being also being a company is subject to some of these factors that must be considered otherwise the day to day operations of this company will be jeopardized. This essay will critically evaluate the work-life balance and employment relations perspective and the practices of work-life balance that Hope Tours and Travel is involved in. It will also focus on major recommendations that the company can employ to improve employees’ relations with the company and ensure that they are up to their tasks every time they are needed and that they can work effectively to produce the necessary output. In order to make an exploration of the definition domains pertaining to WLB as well as the presentation of the plans that the company has used to overcome the associated issues in HRM, the paper will also adopt the perspective of the organizational role theory and its impacts to the life of the employees as well as the effects of the same if a more holistic approach to WLB was taken.
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Hope Tour is one of those companies in new Zeeland that has ensured that people from all over the world visit this country as well as the locals who want to travel and spend their own time enjoying themselves. Hope Tours and Travel is one of the leading companies in travel and tour activities in New Zeeland. The company specializes in small guided tours as well as self-drive trips all over the beautiful landscape of New Zeeland. Additionally, it ensures that its clients have been able to access activities such as jet boating, caving, Maori cultural encounters, rainforest walking, glacier walking, farm stays, scenic flights, kayaking, whale watching, seal swimming, hiking and sailing. Hope also provides to its clients services such as wildlife encounters, guided tours as well as blend adventure, cultural and history as well as quality accommodation to those that are interested. The company adopts various WLBs to ensure that its employees are always satisfied.
WLB concepthas been the subject of discussion for a long period of time since it has varying impacts on the life of employees as well as the life of the company that they work for. Nonetheless, the essence of managing employees’ WLB has been essence for over twenty years (Bruin & Dupuis, 2004). There has been an adoption of numerous changes by many firms that have an impact on this issue. Firstly, the complexity of jobs has increased, and employees have had pressure exerted on their ability to produce more within a limited period and with far more limited resources (Hosie, Forster &Servatos, 2004) which have had a result on the waystandard working hours have currently been defined. The demographic makeup of the labour force is the second issue that has had an impact on WLB. This issue refers to ethnicity, gender, religion, multigenerational workplace etc. The type of job is the third factor that has had an impact on the issue. This creates the essence of organizations effectively managing the well-being of their employees, their job satisfaction as well as the stress that comes about with the job that is being done.
According to Purcell, (2002), the interest of a firm in the WLB control emanates from the evidence stating “there is little doubt any more that there is a clear connection between the way people are managed and organizational performance”. A Firm’s capability to offer WLB effectively to employees will in future act as a competitive advantage for any organization that wants to keep employees or even have the best labour force in the industry. This is due to the issue of skills shortage that is being experienced in the industries. The whole idea around the concept of WLB is the ability of a firm to assimilate the on and off job roles of the employees in a manner which ensures that the heights of multiple role conflicts as well as the job-dissatisfaction and the stress that comes about with it are managed to the minimum level or even completely circumvented. In order to employ WLB policies, Hope Tours and Travel has employed a number of policies.
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Offering flexible work schedule is one of the factors that Hope Tours and Travel has employed in order for the employees to acquire balance for non-work as well as their work affairs. Flexible schedule in real sense does not mean that the employees can report to work and go or move around at will any time they want which is the major concern for many employers (Howard, D’Onofrio, & Boles, 2004). It is the actual spelling of flexible hours. Now that implementing flexible starting and ending hours is not a complex thing for an organization to do Hope Company thought that this is one of the best ideas that can be employed in its employee’s operations. There are far more complex flexible schedules which range from four day work week or even telecommuting which requires better planning. The cornerstone of all work balance has been found to be flexible work schedule. Hope allow its employees to be involved in telecommuting two days every week. Due to the fact many of the company’s employees do not reside close to where the offices are located or even close to their workplaces, telecommuting allows these employs to save a lot of time, expenses and time that would otherwise be involved in commuting. Telecommuting also allows the employs to have more time to handle their other life needs. A flexible work schedule contrasts with the organizational role theory since the employee’s life and roles outside the working place are assumed
Having offer paid time off (PTO) as a substitute for paid personal days, sick leaves as well as paid vacations. PTO allows the treatment of employees as mature people who can be able to independently make decisions regarding when, how and why to make use of the paid time off provided by their boss. This system ensures that neither the employee nor the employer is to account for how the time off was spent. The essence of this is to eliminate the confusion as well as the need that comes about with the need to employ additional policies, for example, the definition of a sick day (Waters &Bardoel, 2006). As every such arrangement has its down sides, Hope Company overlooked the downsides and to motivate its employees PTO has been employed effectively in the day to day operations of the firm. This is a direct contrast to the organizational role theory (Parker, & Wickham, 2005).
In Hope Company, the managers and the senior managers of the company model the work balance that they want to encourage their employees to exhibit. The company’s managers while on PTO ensure that they are always making a reply to their emails as if they were in the office despite being out for a vacation which is in accord to the organizational role theory. This acts as a motivation and helps to send a message to the employees of the company regarding taking their jobs seriously. The observation of the actions portrayed by the senior leaders is what motivates the employees to take action regarding their response when they are out on PTO. When the seniors ask the employees to attend important meeting regardless of being out of office, they can get the message and respond accordingly which affects the personal choice between life and work equilibrium.
The company also allows its employees to take unpaid leaves which are necessary for lifecycle needs. Due to the occurrence of events that may change the life of the employee, emergency needs for the employee’s family, and the desire for exploration of career opportunities as well as life, the company in addition to the requirements of the family and medical acts provides to its employees such unpaid leaves because whatever the act stipulates not enough for the employee to cover all the family needs. The company allows its employees to take unpaid leave of absence to cover activities such as premature baby that has been in hospital longer than expected, to nurse the parents who are infested with serious conditions in other states, to settle an estate for a relative outside the country, extension of a maternity leave for 4-8 weeks, exploration of suitable areas for settlement with spouses without jeopardizing their current jobs, attending grand schools whose classes are only during the day and attending online classes offered in other states for the period required( 2 weeks onsite per year). Such concern for the employees contrasts with the organizational role theory, but since the employees are not machines, their life outside the working place has to be considered.
Sponsoring of activities as well as family events every month with the intention of encouraging team building, the inclusion of various family members in work events and also encouraging friendship among the employees is also done in Hope Tours and Travel Company. This is one of the activities that has helped in boosting employees work relation in the company. The company is also involved in arranging such events for adults only and also providing babysitting in events any anywhere else when it is viewed that the act can facilitate employees’ attendance (Hyman & Summers, 2004). The company offers services and makes arrangements for events such as picnics, bowling, game centers, outdoor movies and bonfires, ice skating, football and baseball games, among others. Such activities, the relationships and the friends that are formed encourages the employees to stay and work for the company and makes employees happy as they do the work. Such arrangements contrast with the organizational role theory, but they are very necessary for the day to day operations of an organization.
Additionally, Hope Tours and Travel allow cross-over of the employee’s workplace and vice versa. Sometimes, doing some online shopping at a sale is alleviated by the employees making a response to the emails at maybe 10 p.m. the employer sometimes does not encourage the employees to be in constant communication with the siblings while still doing the expected work which reduces the chances of errors in the job. However, there is an essence of recognizing that for many people especially the professional employees, the line between the lifetime and work time is no longer distinct (Smithson and Stokoe, 2005). Is it logical to prefer an employee to go shopping for half a day to have his holiday shopping or to have a quick 20 minutes online shopping? Or would you prefer a mom to leave her workplace early every day to ensure that her kids have got home from school? As an employer, do you want to monitor your employees to the extent of minding about the jokes they post on Facebook while still at work or vividly recruiting employees for an open post in the company? Hope’s administration trusts its employees to make mature decisions and choices always and deals with the ones who do not act according to the way they are expected individually which is in accord to the organizational role theory (Parker, & Wickham, 2005.
To ensure that an organization competes favorably with the others when WLB is a factor to consider, a more holistic approach to the issues facing the employees is very necessary. This also ensures that the employees can perform and be happy in their workplace. For Hope Tours and Travel Company, it is very necessary to continue offering to its employee’s flexible work schedules, PTOs, unpaid leaves, sponsoring family activities and events and also allowing cross-overs of life needs into their workplace. At the same time, it is necessary for the company to ensure that it offers part-time job opportunities to employees and to have an expectation for an employee to work hard for long hours but not all the time.
A more holistic approach to the matters about a company’s employees rather than employing an organizational role approach theory is very necessary. Employing WLB practices in an organization such as flexible work schedules, PTOs, unpaid leaves, sponsoring family activities and events and also allowing cross-overs of life needs into their workplace is also very necessary because it ensures that the life of the employees on and off duty is controlled since both lives affect the work that these employees do and the way they do it.
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