Recent demographic shifts in the work place are evident. A research conducted by the Institute for Work and Family Integration (IWFI), showed that 75% of the families living in the Lekki – Victoria Island axis is parented by dual income earners. Until late in the 20th Century, men were the majority employed in the corporate world; but today, we have more women (married and/or unmarried) in this space competing for higher positions (alongside their male counterparts). It is interesting to note that they are still able to combine these day jobs with their traditional responsibilities.
Typically, couples that work, to meet their needs and take care of their families, have various domains tugging at their attention – work, family, religion/social groups, etc. These various domains struggle for an individual’s limited resources and could result in causing stress and conflict, if not properly managed.
The stress of dual income parents is evident when their work and family demands are conflicting, with one domain demanding more resources than the other; especially when both domains are not to be compromised. To solve this problem, the concept of work – family balance was introduced. However, it has been challenging, trying to achieve this balance between work and family; because the unevenness of resource allocation fluctuates between these two areas. Just recently, researchers began advocating for work – life integration, where work is not entirely separated from the other domains.
Another challenge of dual income parent is the time they have in their hands, to bond as a family. Parents need to spend time with their children, and not outsource the responsibilities that are necessary to create and strengthen the family connection. This is important because the family takes prevalence and is meant to outlast other domains of one’s life.
The organizations that such parents work have a role to play in helping them integrate their work and family lives. More organizations need to adopt family-friendly policies and organizational cultures, to enable the employees manage the different domains of their lives. This is important because many organizations claim to be family-friendly, but the use of such policies is not evident in employee management. It is unfortunate that when employees try to utilize such policies, they run the risk of certain career consequences.
Conclusively, we can see that 21st century parents have a lot on their hands and this is why organizations they work for should endeavor to reduce employee stress levels. This ultimately leads to improved employee motivation and more energized employees have better organizational performance. At IWFI, we believe that adopting family-friendly policies is a win-win situation for the employees and their employers.
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