Balancing Work and Family in Estonian Information Technology Organizations

English title: Töö- ja pereelu tasakaalustamine Eesti infotehnoloogiaettevõtetes

Author(s): Nele Taba -

Language: Estonian

Type: Thesis / dissertation

Year: 2013

Abstract

Finding the right balance between work and family life is important for every working person. Each organization should be, as well, interested in having employees who are satisfied with their work-family balance. An employee whose work and family life are not in balance and who continuously feels stress and lack of time, might eventually feel burnout, which, in turn, affects his or her work productivity. In some information technology field organizations the worktime is flexible, which makes is easier to plan the schedule in order to fulfill the requirements of work domain and family domain. On the other hand there might occur the need to work extra hours during off-time due to upcoming deadline or emerged errors. Depending on the project, there might occur the need to work for the whole weekend due to urgent problems which cannot wait until the next official working day. Thus the flexible schedule, which might provide a possibility to fulfill worktasks easier, can on the same time affect family life and in turn exacerbate family relationships and capacity to work. The aim of this thesis is to evolve methods which could be used to help to balance work and family life in Estonian information technology organizations. In order to reach the aim, following tasks are set: - To provide an overview of the essence of balancing work and family, and the factors affecting it; - To provide an overview of managing the work-family balance; - To provide an overview of idiomaticalness of balancing work-family in information technology organizations; - To carry out an empirical survey in Estonian information technology organizations; - To carry out an empirical analyze of balancing work-family in Estonian information technology organizations; - To work out suggestions for balancing work and family among the employees of information technology organizations. Based on the empirical analyze, it came out, that there were some statistically significant differences between the sample of IT-workers and the sample provided by European Social Survey. It appears that IT-workers make more extra hours, work more during evenings and nights and have to follow up for work more frequently than control group. Though IT-workers have more freedom in choosing when they work. Besides that, IT-workers are more worried about work-problems during off-time and they have greater difficulties in concentrating to work due to family duties. The author concluded that these findings refer that IT-workers face more time-based and strain-based conflict between work and family domains. Thus it is more complicated for IT-workers to balance work and family life. The author proposed several strategies which in her opinion are the most suitable for balancing work and family life among the workers of information technology organizations. These strategies incorporate different tactics that either employees or organizations can implement in order to reduce time-based and strain-based conflict or to mitigate the consequences of conflict. To reduce time-based conflict, an employee can use the tactic of setting expectations and to set oneself a certain routine while in need while having flexible working schedule. To reduce strain-based conflict, an employee can use the tactic of confronting violators or to avoid reading work e-mails during off-time. Thereat to reduce time-based conflict, an organization can organize the training of time-planning; to fix interim-deadlines; to set certain limits for the workload; or to use family-friendly policies. To reduce strain-based conflict, an organization can raise employees’ awareness of consequences of working with overload and burnout by organizing workshops on these topics. To mitigate the consequences of strain-based conflict, an organization can use the tactics of high-involvement work practices which incorporate different means for motivating the employee. Conclusions and suggestions proposed in this thesis could be useful for the managers and human resource managers of information technology organizations, as well as for the employees of these organizations. Proposed suggestions can be useful to help better manage work-family balance among the employees of information technology organizations or to direct attention to the problems. Thereat the author would like to emphasize, that one should not conclude, based on this thesis, that balancing work-family among the employees of information technology organizations is overly difficult or impossible. Current thesis brings out problematic issues, as focusing on finding problems provides the soil for finding solutions. For further research on the topic of work-family balance among the employees of information technology organizations, one could focus on the topic of balancing work and family in small information technology organizations (1-9 employees), as they seem to work more extra hours and seem to work more in the evenings/nights and on weekends. Thus they might have more difficulties in balancing work and family life. Second possibility for further research could be examining work-family balance among different professions in information technology organizations. Third possibility for further research is to conduct a longitude-survey, where after the first measurement strategies for reducing work-family conflict would be implemented. Thus the second measurement could analyze whether and how implemented strategies had effect.

Type/degree:

Awarding institution: University of Tartu

Number of pages: 67

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