The or family life. These policies can

The
concept of work life balance has become an important topic in this modern era,
not only in academic field but also in social, political and business level
(McCarthy, Doray & Grady, 2010; Devi & Rani, 2013). It is a concept that
involves proper prioritizing between work and personal life, and the term work
life balance was invented in the mid-1801s (Burke, 1995). It was first used in
the United Kingdom in the late 1970s, and in the United States in 1986, and
refers to the appropriate assignment of priorities between work and lifestyle.
Since then, a considerable number of scholarly articles have discussed the
importance of work life balance (Fernandez-Crehuet, Gimenez-Nadal and Recio,
2016). Prior empirical studies have tried to define the term as an extent to
which individuals are equally involved and content with work and non-work roles
(Greenhaus et al. 2003). Iqan lazar argued that life balance practices are
organizational changes designed to reduce work family conflict, which allow
employees to be effective in both professional and personal roles. The more
control one has on their lives the more they are able to balance their work and
life (Iqan lazar, 2010).

 

In
the Europe work life policies are introduced to support employees in combining
paid work and personal or family life. These policies can take the form of legal
requirements and be part of a collective agreement or a formal policy depending
on organization. Examples of work life policies are flexible work arrangements,
such as part-time work and working from home; leave arrangements such as
parental, paternity, and emergency leave; care arrangements, including
financial support, referral services, and domestic services; and supportive
policies, such as training and counseling programs (Dulk & Groeneveld, 2012).

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While
over the years, both public and organizational policies have been developed to
support work life balance the most widespread national work life policies can
still be found in Scandinavian countries (Dulk & Groeneveld, 2012). However,
within countries there is enough inconsistency in the level of work life
support offered by employers; because in most countries, public sector
organizations and large companies are taking the lead in introducing workplace
work life policies (Dulk & Groeneveld, 2012).

 

So,
the question is that why the concept of work life balance is so important and
what could go wrong in the absence of it. Empirical research shows that
imbalance of the work and life can lead to negative outcomes for individuals,
which include a lesser quality of life and decreased life satisfaction,
psychological strain, depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse
(Fernandez-Crehuet, Gimenez-Nadal, & Reyes, 2016). Not only does the lack
of work life balance affect employees, but also employers. An imbalance can
have negative consequences for the well-being and performance of employees in
their work place, ultimately affecting organizational performance. According to
Fernandez-Crehuet et al. (2016), a work life imbalance can lead to a lack of
the time required to meet obligations at home and at work, resulting in stress
at home that affects performance at work (Fernandez-Crehuet, Gimenez-Nadal,
& Reyes, 2016).

 

Recently
there has been a growing concern with the employers in developing countries,
especially in Bangladesh, that often the rights of the factory workers are
being violated (Ghazi, 2015). As per World Human Rights (2015) violations of
rights of the workers are still a major problem existing in almost all the
factories in Bangladesh, with some of the violations have been specified as physical
and verbal abuse, forced overtime, poor working conditions, payment issues, and
denial of paid maternity leaves (Human Rights Watch, 2015). Following two major
events researchers, journalists, and labor rights activists at both local and
international level have constantly advised Bangladeshi government to improve
the working conditions of factory workers in Bangladesh (Paul-Majumder &
Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, 2003, Bhatt, 2006; Custers, 2012; ILO,
2012, 2013, 2015; Satyaki, 2013). One of these incidents was the fire at
Tazreen Fashions factory on November 2012, where 112 garment workers died, and
several were injured. The other was collapse of Rana Plaza in the following
year on April 2013, leaving more than 1100 people dead and about 2500 injured
(Human Rights Watch, 2015). These shocking events made the Bangladesh
government, the UN, the International Labor Organization (ILO), global apparel brands
and retailers, more committed to working together to improve workplace safety
and working conditions for the workers in Bangladeshi factories. It was done by
signing the legally-binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety in
Bangladesh (United Nations, 2013) On the other hand. the working conditions of
white-collar workers in developing nations; such as Bangladesh, have not yet faced
a similar level of disaster (Ghazi, 2015). Therefore, being mostly out of sight
they have not been under any significant investigation (Houtman, Jettinghof,
& Cedillo, 2007; ILO, 2014), which have resulted in overlooking the work
life balance factors of white collar workers.

 

There
are certain areas that need to be explored to understand how white-collar
workers in developing nations are experiencing poor WLB (Ghazi, 2015). According
to Clarke, Koch and Hill (2004), as cited by Ghazi (2015), work-life balance is
generally associated with a balance between the amount of time and effort an
individual devotes to work and personal activities, to maintain an overall
sense of harmony in life. To understand work-life balance, it is important to
be aware of the different demands upon us and our personal resources; such as
our time and our energy, that we can arrange to address those demands. The
above definition indicates that WLB should be a balanced combination between
work and life by which an individual will be able to control his/her own life
based on their unique needs (Ghazi, 2015).

 

Messenger
& Michon, (2006) argued that white-collar workers in developing economies
get very little attention because they generally have more job autonomy and
receive relatively good pay, thus they have a better working conditions and WLB
than most blue-collar workers (Messenger & Michon, 2006). Lewis et al. (2007)
conducted a study of WLB tensions involving interviews with participants in
seven non-western countries, including India, South Africa and Japan. Their
findings say that work intensification is becoming a global scenario, where
long hours are associated with commitment (Lewis et al., 2007). The authors
cite a participant in a South Africa stated that if one works for long they are
viewed as really making a difference. An Indian management consultant was also
cited as arguing that the long-hours culture has become so entrenched in the
new economy that they have to work hard and literally give up their personal
lives (Lewis et al., 2007: 366). In contrast, Kodz et. al. (2003) argue that
the contractual boundaries of time and wages can be explicitly defined for the
blue-collar workers, because their job descriptions are specific, manual, and
limited. Unlike white-collar workers, blue-collar workers are entitled to get overtime
for additional hours of work (Kodz et. al., 2003)

 

However,
Fan, Kanbur, and Zhang (2009) argued that unlike blue-collar workers, the level
of education of the white-collar workers is higher, which can be related with
higher income (Fan, Kanbur, and Zhang, 2009). In addition, Messenger &
Michon, (2006) mentions that higher income for white-collar workers also comes
with a greater level of responsibility and overwork, which is not the case for
blue collar workers (Messenger & Michon, 2006).

On
this aspect, Adams (2013) and Gornall et. al. (2013); argued that long working
hours and overtime are associated with poor WLB (Adams, 2013; Gornall et. al.,
2013), which has several negative effects on white-collar workers, including
anxiety, depression and decreased productivity, job dissatisfaction, stress,
burnout, poor mental health and poor physical health (Ghazi, 2015).