Employee preferences for work-life balance initiatives in a large New Zealand construction company
Morrison, Emily Jane
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Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1783
Work-life balance initiatives are often provided by companies to counter the prevalence of work-life conflict stemming from today‟s societal pressures. The construction industry can be a high pressure, high stress industry demanding long working hours, and it is posited that work-life balance initiatives are important for the future sustainability of the industry. Relatively little is known regarding the types of initiatives employees within the New Zealand construction industry prefer. The study‟s objectives are to (1) rank and compare preferences for work-life balance initiatives of employees within a large New Zealand construction company and compare these results with those of a similar Australian study (Lingard and Francis, 2005) and (2) use the demographic information gathered to define typical working hours. The survey method incorporating an electronic questionnaire enabled the collection of a cross-section of wide-ranging, empirical data from a large number of respondents in a relatively short amount of time. Elicited data included demographic information, employee preference ratings for work-life balance initiatives and two, qualitative, open ended questions. The results show that employees are interested in a variety of work-life balance initiatives and do have concerns regarding different issues around work-life balance. Findings support the notion that there is no „one-size-fits-all‟ policy appropriate for all companies or group of employees and that the provision of a wide variety of initiatives from which employees can choose during different stages in their life and career is ideal. Furthermore, it was found that a significant portion of employees work very long hours and that working hours vary significantly depending on job role and location. Qualitative results suggest that there is some work-life conflict associated with working long hours and weekend work. In order to attract and maintain valuable employees, it is important that the industry continually strives to provide useful work-life balance initiatives, reasonable working hours for its employees, and supportive workplace cultures in line with such initiatives. Further study could address whether or not employees feel organisational culture, supervisors and managers support the initiatives provided within their company. A sub-research question could investigate whether employees are aware of all available initiatives and how they are used.