The Refractive Thinker®: Vol. XXI: Work Life Balance: Effective Strategies to Enhance Personal and Professional Success
The Refractive Thinker® Press 2022
Number of Pages: 234


Summary

Publish date: April 5, 2022. Join foreword writer Amberly Lago and contributing scholars in their presentation of their doctoral research findings regarding effective work life balance strategies. Refractive thinker scholars share current research and their words of wisdom regarding lessons learned from our recent global pandemic regarding the challenges of work life balance as this discussion continues to shape the business landscape.around the world.

Are you in the know regarding the most up-to-date and effective strategies in your field of study? Come join us to be part of the conversation of future success in business leadership around the world.

Chapters

RT VOL XXI: Foreword
My life was forever altered by a horrific motorcycle accident
that shattered my right leg and severed my femoral artery.
In an instant, my life changed from being a professional dancer
and a nationally recognized health coach, to a person confined to
a hospital bed fighting to stay alive.
RT Vol XXI: Ch 1: Knowledge Workers Experience for a Post-Pandemic Workforce: A Phenomenological Study
Chapter 1: Since the invention of the telephone, employees began leaving the confines of the workplace and providing value to businesses from increasingly diverse locations. The emergence of the internet and cell phone technologies increased the flexibility of organizations to leverage employees across the globe and build highly skilled virtual teams. The pandemic resulted in the leaders of organizations adopting remote and hybrid work models for employees more quickly. Ready or not, leaders had to rapidly adopt technology, change work patterns, and adapt to changing market conditions that thrust employees into virtual work faster than most were ready for. This chapter includes an examination of the experience of employees who made the rapid shift to working from home. Leaders who are refractive thinkers, and who want to improve work from home employee engagement, may benefit from learning more about their experiences of this model of work.

Since the invention of the telephone, employees began leaving the confines of the workplace and providing value to businesses from increasingly diverse locations. The emergence of the internet and cell phone technologies increased the flexibility of organizations to leverage employees across the globe and build highly skilled virtual teams. The pandemic resulted in the leaders of organizations adopting remote and hybrid work models for employees more quickly. Ready or not, leaders had to rapidly adopt technology, change work patterns, and adapt to changing market conditions that thrust employees into virtual work faster than most were ready for. This chapter includes an examination of the experience of employees who made the rapid shift to working from home. Leaders who are refractive thinkers, and who want to improve work from home employee engagement, may benefit from learning more about their experiences of this model of work.
RT VOL XXI: Ch 2: Effective Strategies to Enhance Work-Life Balance to Improve Productivity
An employee’s work-life balance has a long–term effect on organizational performance, such as a high rate of employee turnover, which decreases productivity. The productivity rate of organizations with employees with poor work-life balance equals 14% of the productivity levels, which means an 86% loss of the potential productivity rate. In this chapter of the Refractive Thinker®, the author presents an overview of creative strategies to improve productivity. The author shares findings to enhance work-life balance, productivity, and sustainability from 10 qualitative interviews conducted with retail business leaders in the United States who worked for a minimum of 2 years. The data analysis findings indicated that flexible work environments, support, and remote work options enhanced work-life balance and productivity.
RT Vol XXI: Ch 3: Conflicts From Work-Life Balance Techniques
Ch 3: Work-life balance is a topic of interest within organizations. Individuals need to understand how to manage their family life and their work-life so that neither one is negatively affected. The work environment is effective in influencing work-life balance than the family environment. The individual’s job and the institution where they work can place significant demands on their time, effort, and mental capacity (Delecta, 2011). A leader needs to implement efficient strategies that allow staff to function effectively at work while ensuring they can maintain a healthy "out of work" environment and lifestyle. Not implementing effective strategies can cause adverse issues within an organization. The business problem used in this multiple case study is that some leaders often find it difficult to identify and implement strategies that promote healthy work-life balance for their employees. The findings of my research contributed to social change by providing business leaders with possible solutions for managing work-life conflicts while ensuring their staff continues to function successfully and enhance productivity for the business.
RT Vol XXI Ch 4: Harmonized Life: Balancing Paid and Unpaid Work in a Functional Society
Ch 4: Work in a functional society is performed across its three pillars namely, state (government) market (commerce) and civil society. Family is the fundamental building block of society with workers and other stakeholders coming from their respective homes to engage across state, market, and civil society. Work-life balance is a traditional concept attempting to distribute time for paid work and life. This is a masculine construct that fails to consider the feminine contributions. A refractive thinker sees the flaw in this construct and understands that work comprises of paid and unpaid work that ought to be equitably budgeted with respect to time. Once the paid and unpaid work are addressed, then life ought to be harmonized with work, because balancing is not possible with disparate requirements placed on people based on their respective genders. Data shows that 75% of the unpaid work totaling up to 11 billion hours a day is carried out by women of the world while men focus mainly on paid work. In the absence of women and their work, life would be non-viable. Therefore, work-life balance needs to be replaced with harmonizing life, to balance the burdens of paid and unpaid work, including total contributions of women.
RT Vol XXI Ch 5: Reconciling Work-Life Balance During Crisis Through Organizational Culture
Factors of work life balance need to be managed properly to be effective. Organizations compete with an employee’s need to maintain a productive life outside of work. Paid Time Off and Leave are a couple examples of concessions businesses make to offer balance to workers. Incentives to offset the burdens of work in exchange for work-fee time to express oneself with the need to adhere to deadlines and schedules. Until recent social changes brought about by COVID-19, there was no identifiable balance between work and life. For the working class, the scales leaned primarily to the work side of the scale. Life outside of the workplace was used primarily for administrative tasks, recreation, and rest.
After the pandemic went full swing, the working-class was introduced to work-life balance and its privileges. The tele-commuters have long enjoyed work-life balance and now share the privilidged with many others in the company. The changes to the business are now being realized. Companies also see the challenges that emerge from providing the voluminous working-class access to working from home. Managing employees who now work remotely demand more time for life while demanding more pay. Since COVID-19, businesses see the work-life balance dramatically shift to the life side of the scale with no financial relief.

There are several tools and options business leaders can use to mitigate the work-life shift. In this chapter, the author researches work-life balance and the adverse effect work-life balance has on organizations. The research includes studies by scholars which offer ways for companies to manage the scales without increasing turnover.
RT Vol XXI: Ch 6: Regaining Vivostasis After Crisis
Ch 6: Crises devastate the American workforce, including entrepreneurs, through burnout, physical illness, and mental health problems. Implementing processes that support a return to vivostasis can reduce the burden of the crisis while also limiting the negative influences on health. Even short-term crises requiring small business owners’ time can cause a series of problems at work and home to compound out of control if vivostasis is not returned. The burden of crisis can be best mitigated to reduce mental and physical health damages by establishing processes that facilitate a return to vivostasis. Setting processes before a crisis allows those processes to be crafted in a critical, reflective manner and allows a better outcome by reducing the possibility that decisions will be made with a clouded or distracted mind.
RT Vol XXI Ch 7: Balancing Personal, Social and Professional Capital: The Strategic Influence of Women in Leadership During the Pandemic
The aftermath of the ongoing precipitous 2020 pandemic has disproportionately affected women financially and economically, thereby resetting decades of hard-won gender equality gains. Women account for 53.8% of net job loss; nearly 3 million women have dropped out of the workforce, and more women are considering leaving their jobs. Those still in the workforce feel overworked and struggle to balance personal, social, and professional obligations, consequently, making work-life balance a challenge. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges that women experience, nor is there a single universal benchmark for women's leadership development. Nonetheless, global researchers and organizational development (OD) practitioners suggested increasing inclusive efforts on the development, empowerment, and retention of women across all leadership levels to combat the aftermath of C***** and pre-C***** challenges. To gain further insights into how women can successfully balance personal, social, and professional obligations in the current pandemic era, we interviewed 10 women in director-level leadership positions across different industries. Through interview data and scholarly research, the following themes were generated: confidence, executive coaching, accountability, strategic risk, resilience, social support, emotional wellbeing, self-care, and self-compassion. The refractive message is clear; creating comprehensive family-friendly policies, prioritizing wellbeing, and enforcing work-life boundaries are not just a C*****-related matter but an urgent necessity. Post-C***** survival and success demands leveraging leadership diversity for higher profitability, employee engagement, and superior value creation.
RT Vol XXI: Ch 8 Work-life Challenges Across the Generations at Work
The concept of work-life balance has become a central topic in the early 21st Century workforce. In concept, work-life balance constitutes the balance between work, family obligations, and personal interests. As generational diversity in the workplace increases, differing values and expectations regarding work-life balance become more prevalent.

Organizational leaders must address varying expectations while recruiting and retaining quality talent. While companies continue to manage the work-life expectations of the four generations at work, there are opportunities for innovation as the world of work changes. Advancements in digital technologies have led to changes in global businesses economies and enhanced communications. In addition to the human resources challenges of managing four generations at work, business leaders need to manage the rate of digital change that influences the nature of work. The innovative ideas of the Millennial and Generation Z generations in the workplace can help employers identify new benefits to offer. With the continued growth of micro and small businesses, these innovators of Millennials and Generation Z will drive the need for benefits which have no connection to the employer, but to the employee. With the continued growth of micro and small businesses, these innovators will drive the need for benefits that are not connected to the employer, but to the employee. Applying a wider lens to managing work-life expectations in the workplace presents an opportunity for business leaders to better understand the needs of individual employees, improving engagement and productivity.
RT VOL XXI: Ch 9: A Global Pandemic Caused an Education Pandemic
When the 2020 pandemic became worldwide, fear and panic spread quickly. Education systems were not prepared for the challenges and transitions. The pandemic forced educational leaders to find alternative teaching methods despite existing technologies and models already in existence. Two components of academic excellence are continuity and predictability. Training educators in pedagogy (the teaching of children) and andragogy (the teaching of adults) is not a simple process. Education systems leaders and educators needed to be resilient and effectively sustainable to provide students academic consistency, especially at the early elementary levels, for optimal learning. Families and educators found it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance prior to the pandemic. The 2020 pandemic created concerns at various levels, negatively affecting families and students and causing educators to leave the education environment. By implementing refractive thinking solutions in a post-pandemic society, educators can regain a pre-pandemic work-life balance.