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Introducing Work/Life Balance at Oxford Manufacturing

Work/Life Balance Incorporated has been hired by Oxford Manufacturing to help them achieve a more stable work/life balance environment. It has been brought to our attention by the owner that there has been a recent decline in employment at their company. We feel that Oxford Manufacturing can benefit from our expertise in managing work/life balance. We can help them achieve their goal to become the preferred employer in central Canada. Work/Life Balance Incorporate can help Oxford Manufacturing by dealing with problems that have arisen by incorporating work/life balance into their company.

We plan t...

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...o solve these issues through organizational behavior theory. One issue that has come up from John and Jane trying to balance their work lives with their non-work commitments are that they are unable to be at work at the same time. This is a problem because they need to meet at least twice a week to share information about the products they are working on. The organization also realizes that John and Jane are valuable employees at their organization, and if their requests are not met, they could easily find employment at another company.

To solve this problem we must look at organization behavior theories that are relevant to this situation. The difference between the two is that John needs to balance his work with a family crisis, and Jane needs to balance her work with extracurricular activities that benefit her health. First, what could be done is person-job matching (McShane, 2006). The manufacturing company should “provide training so employees develop required skills and knowledge” (McShane, 2006, p. 4) and are able to adapt to John or Jane’s job if it is needed. This could be a solution because if John and Jane have to meet twice a week, and one of them cannot make the meeting, another employee trained with the knowledge and skills could act as a substitute for whoever is missing. To take Jane off the floor for any period of time could prove problematic. The company should, if they don’t already have one, hire another supervisor that is interchangeable with Jane.

This would be using a knowledge management strategy to deal with the problem. Knowledge management is “any structured activity that improves an organization’s capacity to acquire, share, and use knowledge in ways that improve its survival and success” (McShane, 2006, p. 20). By training a new supervisor the intellectual capital of the organization would grow. The intellectual capital of an organization is the “sum of an organization’s human capital, structural capital, and relationship capital” (McShane, 2006, p. 20).

The main part of intellectual capital that would be increasing would be human capital, which is the “knowledge that employees possess and generate, including their skills, experience, and creativity” (McShane, 2006 p. 20). Not only is this good for the organization but it could also potentially solve the supervisor the dilemma. There may also be a way for the new supervisor to take over the responsibility of product discussion with John. There is also job design, which is “the process of assigning tasks to a job, including the interdependency of those tasks with other jobs” (McShane, 2006, p. 167).

John or Jane’s job could be redesigned by the manufacturing company so that they are not co-dependent on one another, which would result in not having to meet twice a week. How the job could be redesigned is up to the company, because they have all the knowledge of the organization. But if it was possible for the jobs to be separate instead of relying on one another, it would be easier for the company to handle if John had to stay at home with his child or Jane had to go to curling. Another way John’s job could be redesigned so that he could deal with his family crisis is to have him working from home.

This would be possible because he is an engineer and could develop the products from home is he was equipped with the right tools, which could be supplied by the company. To solve the issue that he and Jane must meet twice a week, a virtual team can be set up so that John and Jane can share information about the products being developed (McShane, 2006). The company could offer video-conferencing for John and Jane to be able to communicate about the products that are being developed, and be able to actually see what one another is talking about.

This would also illuminate the problems with email, as some things could be misconstrued if nonverbal communication cannot be seen. Virtual team strategy could be implemented by Oxford Manufacturing. Virtual teams are “teams whose members operate across space, time, and organizational boundaries and are linked through information technologies to achieve organizational tasks” (McShane, 2006, p. 277). Informational technologies such as Skype can be used which means that John and Jane could communicate without having to actually be in the same place at the same time.

This would allow Jane to work in the day time John to be able to communicate with her because his daughter will be in school. They will be able to efficiently speak about the products that they are working on and discuss ways to manufacture the product. This would satisfy both of their needs so that Jane would be able to work days and John would get his desired evening shifts. The company could use the work/life balance initiative of child care support. This is where there is an on-site child care system put into place (McShane, 2006).

This would allow John’s daughter to come to the office with him when she is having one of her fits. It would free John up so that he could have time to go over the product designs with Jane. It could also potentially benefit other employees with children as well. Another way to solve the problem of John and Jane having to meet together twice a week is having reward objectives such as task performance or competency based. If John and Jane meet together twice a week for the whole month without having the substitute fill in, they could be subject to task performance rewards, which “motivates task performance” (McShane, 2006, p. 63).

They could also earn rewards through competencies reward objectives, such as being paid based on skill. If they were to receive more pay, this may be a motivator for each of them to reconsider taking so much time off. It could also motivate them to meet more often. It was also brought to our attention that a memo was circulating stating that some administrators were unhappy with their co-workers. In the memo these administrators described incidents of co-workers receiving phone calls about family problems and then leaving for the rest of the work day.

Those who were left at work were expected to complete the work of those who had left to deal with family issues. The administrators who were to finish up others work were finding that they were having to stay longer to complete all the work, they also stated that many times were forced to cancel plans they had already made. It is extremely unfair that those who do their work plus others are the ones who have to make adjustments. To help balance the work/life conflict Oxford Manufacturing should implement a time-off reward system, based on work performance(OTHER BOOK).

This reward program will reward those who are working hard and doing their share of the work. The time-off reward system we recommend using enables employees who work a certain number of hours to have a specific amount of work done. If the employee is able to complete his/her work on time and to a satisfactory level, Oxford Manufacturing will reward him or her with time off, such as an afternoon, day, or week. Reward systems, such as the one suggested by us, Work/Life Balance Incorporated, are being used with great success in many companies.

One company using a time-off reward system is ROLM Corporation. ROLM Corporation is based in Santa Clara, CA, and is the second-largest maker of telephone exchanges in the United States. They offer a similar reward system as the one suggested above. Although, when an employee requests time-off it is subject to approval by immediate supervisor or work group. You can also set up a scoring system which people earn time-off hours for maintain a certain output, and attendance for a certain period of time. When they earn so much time they can take so much time off, with short notice.

Some exceptions would be that employees are not to unload work on others. They also must complete his/her work by himself or herself. They are not allowed to leave when a major project is to be submitted soon unless project is already completed. This will solve the issue that administration has addressed because is eliminates work overload that has been occurring in administration. This time-off reward system will show appreciation to those who are working hard, and doing their share of the workload, as well as encourage work attendance.

For some this reward system may improve their attendance because they are to be rewarded with paid time off. For the administrators who are “social loafing” (McShane, 2006, p. 263) this will no longer be an acceptable norm. Once this new norm is put into place, work/life balance issues should decrease. It will affect those who are leaving work early to deal with family problems. The employee will realize that this type of behavior is no longer accepted by team members. Those who use these excuses to unload work onto other members of the company will be subject to isolation within the team (McShane, 2006).

Oxford Manufacturing can help to change the current unacceptable norm by working with their administration and discussing the problems that the previous norm caused. By discussing this undesirable norm Oxford Manufacturing will be able to use persuasive communication tactics. Once Oxford Manufacturing has created this new norm teams will become more cohesiveness (McShane, 2006. Within their teams issues of unacceptable behavior, such as leaving other to do your work, will be rare. Employees who are leaving the office early and thickening the load of work for other employees need to be attracted toward their team.

They also need to contribute toward their team’s goal. Some influences Oxford Manufacturing could use to increase team cohesiveness are decreasing team size. Having a smaller team size can improve team cohesiveness because smaller teams tend to agree on goals easier and become more involved with the team. Oxford Manufacturing needs to increase member interaction as well to ensure that a team is able to work together cohesively. The team members will also be able to express ideas and communicate within the group (McShane, 2006).

Another influence that increases team cohesiveness would be external competition and challenges. By having external completion and challenges, employees become aware of a team effort that it put forth by the group. This is a team builder because the team will value their ability to overcome a threat or challenge as a team. They also value team membership and the social support that comes with that (McShane, 2006). Work/Life Balance Incorporated suggests that Oxford Manufacturing should incorporate person job matching, and knowledge management strategy to enable Jane to be able to continue her curling career.

We also suggest that Oxford Manufacturing implement virtual teams to enable John and Jane to communicate effectively with each other although they may not be able to meet face to face. The company should offer child care support to all employees who would benefit from the use of those facilities. Performance rewards should be given to employees who have earned it. By changing the norms of the organization and introducing team cohesiveness this will help to instill work life balance into the organization.

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