Work life balance
The Plumbing Industry Commission is committed to, and actively promotes a plumbing industry in which those working in the industry are able to develop and maintain a balance between their working life and other aspects of their life.
It has developed a booklet Finding the Right Balance, a work/life balance guide for people working in the plumbing industry
Development of the booklet was enabled through the State Government's Working Families Targeted Grants Program, a program designed to introduce innovative practices or policies in industries not traditionally concerned with the need for balancing work time with family time.
The booklet has previously been distributed to all plumbing practitioners. Download a copy of the Work Life Balance Booklet (2.69MB).
Copies of the booklet are also available from the PIC by telephoning the Registrations Section on 9880 6200.
What is work life balance and why is it an issue for the plumbing industry?
Striking the balance between paid work and other aspects of life has become more than a 'barbecue stopper' as it was once described by the Prime Minister - it is one of the major challenges facing individuals, families, governments and employers - large and small.
Things have changed since dad was a boy. The make up of the workforce is much more diverse. These days there are a huge number of people who are struggling to balance paid work with complex responsibilities away from work - single parents, working mothers, people caring for aging parents, and fathers who want a much more active involvement in their children's lives. And it seems everyone - young, old, male, female - is talking about getting better work/life balance.
Work/life balance is about effectively managing the juggling act between paid work and the other activities that are important to people. It's not saying that work isn't important, but that work shouldn't completely crowd out the other things that matter to people like time with family, participation in community activities, voluntary work, personal development, leisure and recreation.
The 'right' balance is a very personal thing and will change for each person at different times of their lives and depending on their career aspirations. For some people the issue is being able to get into work or finding more work rather than having too much work. Everyone's idea of work/life balance will vary - there is no 'one size fits all' solution.
While a growing number of employers have introduced workplace practices to help their staff manage their paid work and other responsibilities, others don't know where to start or even why employers should be giving work/life balance serious consideration. The cost for employers of not finding solutions to this challenge can be far reaching and is something plumbing practitioners especially need to come to grips with because so many practitioners work in situations where the overlap between work and home life overlap make work/life balance difficult to achieve.
What's changed - why is work life balance an issue for business these days?
The need for work/life balance is becoming better recognized because the jobs we do, the way we do them, and the people we employ have changed.
- More women and sole parents are in the workforce
- Households now juggle the work arrangements of more than one paid job
- The workforce is aging fast and is increasingly diverse
- Businesses must compete globally to hire skilled workers
- Standard working hours often no longer suit customers or staff
- Technology has changed the way we work - mobile phones, PC's and emails blur the distinction between work and personal time.
More and more businesses now recognise the need to respond to these changes by introducing programs in the workplace to support employees achieve the balance they need and want.
What is the benefit of work life balance for businesses?
Work/life initiatives don't just benefit employees. There are significant benefits for businesses large and small associated with implementing work-life balance initiatives. Benefits such as:
- Improved recruitment and retention rates, with associated cost savings
- Reduced absenteeism and sick leave usage
- A reduction in stress and improvements in employee satisfaction and loyalty
- Greater flexibility for business operating hours
- Improved productivity
- Improved company image, becoming an 'employer of choice'.
What are the benefits for your employees?
The demands of the modern workplace are perceived to have impacted heavily on relationships, family and community life. Parents wish they had more time with their children. 'Me time' to recharge the batteries seems to be shrinking and an ageing population means elder care is becoming a serious issue for many working people.
Employees in companies already implementing work/life initiatives say it benefits them by:
- Being able to effectively manage multiple responsibilities at home, work and in the community without guilt or regret
- Making it possible to work in flexible ways so that earning an income and managing family and other commitments is easier and less stressful to achieve
- Feeling like they are part of a supportive workplace that demonstrates it values and trusts staff.
Work/life balance initiatives can make it easier for men and women, whether young or older, to juggle multiple responsibilities at home, work and in the community. People with a good work/life balance are healthy physically, emotionally and socially, and have a sense of control over their life.
Two interesting case studies
Peter and Pat are 2 Victorian plumbers who have recently initiated changes to improve their work/life balance. To read about how they each went about changing their approach to work to suit their personal circumstances, click here