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WORK LIFE ‘BALANCE’ IN I.T.?    DEBATING CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS
The Rise of the Work-Life ‘Balance’ Agenda in the UK <ul><li>Multi-variable juggling act – finite resources of time and en...
Profound Social Importance of (Uncertain) WLB ‘Business Case’ <ul><li>Not just arrangements for / parents mothers: WLB (in...
1. Everyday Causes & Consequences of Work-Life Conflict in IT?
2. Preferred Flexible Working / WLB Arrangements for Overcoming Those Conflicts?
2. Preferred Flexible Working / WLB Arrangements for Overcoming Those Conflicts?  <ul><li>Flexibility of WHEN work is done...
3. Benefits of Using Different WLB Arrangements? For Workers? Employers? Families?
4. Drawbacks of Using Different WLB Arrangements?
5. Ongoing Challenges & Ways Forward   <ul><li>Line manager buy in </li></ul><ul><li>Cultures of presenteeism </li></ul><u...
 
Studies Supporting the WLB ‘Business Case’
Everyday Causes & Experiences of Work-Life Conflict: Strongly Gendered (c.f. enlightened policy rhetoric!)   <ul><li>Major...
Range of WLB Arrangements (Differentially) Available in Dublin & Cambs IT Firms
Reducing Negative Impacts of WLB Take-up On Workplace Interactions <ul><ul><li>Range of mediating solutions identified so ...
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London Girl Geek Dinner Panel Discussion Questions August 2008

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These are the slides from the Girl Geek Dinner 3 year anniversary by Dr Al James who hosted the panel discussion on Work Life Balance. For more information please see the www.londongirlgeekdinners.co.uk website where the video, write up and slides about this event can be found.

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Transcript of "London Girl Geek Dinner Panel Discussion Questions August 2008"

  1. 1. WORK LIFE ‘BALANCE’ IN I.T.? DEBATING CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS
  2. 2. The Rise of the Work-Life ‘Balance’ Agenda in the UK <ul><li>Multi-variable juggling act – finite resources of time and energy </li></ul><ul><li>WLB: ‘the absence of unacceptable levels of conflict between work and non-work demands’ (Greenblatt 2002: 179) (but not the only term!) </li></ul><ul><li>Work Foundation (Cowling 2005): UK 2nd longest ave work hrs of all EU members states (around 6% of male & 4% of female working population work over 60 hrs per week) </li></ul><ul><li>Problems vary by sector – IT as particularly problematic </li></ul><ul><li>1990s onwards: working longer, harder, to less predictable schedules </li></ul><ul><li>Same time, increased female labour participation rates; household life more complex: e.g. more dual earner, lone-parent households </li></ul>
  3. 3. Profound Social Importance of (Uncertain) WLB ‘Business Case’ <ul><li>Not just arrangements for / parents mothers: WLB (in theory!) extends earlier work-family focus to all </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of WLB: stress, lesser physical & psychological well-being, family / marital strain </li></ul><ul><li>TUC, Amicus: providing WLB arrangements crucial for (re)stabilising households, improving worker well-being, (re)integrating society, improving gender equality </li></ul><ul><li>However, employer implementation rests on demonstration of ‘bottom-line’ advantages </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Business case’ also underpins UK govt WLB campaign </li></ul><ul><li>HOWEVER: still highly uncertain; ongoing dearth of empirical evidence to inform (still partial) understanding </li></ul>
  4. 4. 1. Everyday Causes & Consequences of Work-Life Conflict in IT?
  5. 5. 2. Preferred Flexible Working / WLB Arrangements for Overcoming Those Conflicts?
  6. 6. 2. Preferred Flexible Working / WLB Arrangements for Overcoming Those Conflicts? <ul><li>Flexibility of WHEN work is done </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility of WHERE work is done </li></ul><ul><li>REDUCED TOTAL work hours </li></ul><ul><li>Employer assistance with childcare </li></ul>
  7. 7. 3. Benefits of Using Different WLB Arrangements? For Workers? Employers? Families?
  8. 8. 4. Drawbacks of Using Different WLB Arrangements?
  9. 9. 5. Ongoing Challenges & Ways Forward <ul><li>Line manager buy in </li></ul><ul><li>Cultures of presenteeism </li></ul><ul><li>Some job roles simply not amenable </li></ul><ul><li>Resource constraints (small firms) </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriateness of WLB term itself? </li></ul><ul><li>Engendering a deeper cultural shift </li></ul>
  10. 11. Studies Supporting the WLB ‘Business Case’
  11. 12. Everyday Causes & Experiences of Work-Life Conflict: Strongly Gendered (c.f. enlightened policy rhetoric!) <ul><li>Major causes of work-life conflict </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Highly variable workloads over devt cycle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for rapid response to client crises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International work teams in multiple time zones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintaining skill sets in dynamic IT sector </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Everyday experiences of work life conflict </li></ul><ul><ul><li>interrupted sleep patterns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>stress and exhaustion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>regular evening and weekend working </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>relationships with partner / children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>suffering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>working (at home) when feeling unwell </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>missing out on leisure / hobbies </li></ul></ul>If you just try and deal with it, you’ll just muddle through, same as you always have. But, the only way I could make a decision for us as a family was to play it forward 20 yrs. OK, there would be more money in the bank, that’s if we’re still talking to each other, if the kids haven’t gone off the rails because we haven’t had time to sit down and talk anymore... Female Business Devt Manager, now on 3 day work week, Dublin
  12. 13. Range of WLB Arrangements (Differentially) Available in Dublin & Cambs IT Firms
  13. 14. Reducing Negative Impacts of WLB Take-up On Workplace Interactions <ul><ul><li>Range of mediating solutions identified so far : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>house sharing for home workers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in-house instant messaging systems (constant informal chat) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>communal customer email systems (two job sharers, one email account) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>centralised online data storage (eliminates problems of files left elsewhere) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>video conferencing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ blueberrying’ (double edged sword) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HOWEVER: negative perceptions from customers still a strong limiting factor (e.g. Huntingdon web design / part-time working court case) </li></ul></ul>
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