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Health and work-life balance disorders - Work-life balance disorders (EQF: 3-5)

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Learning Outcomes

Objectives and goalsClick to read  

At the end of this module you will be able to:

Explain the term work-life balance and distinguish between different types of disorders
Discuss the benefits of work-life balance for the individuals and organisations
Identify ways to improve work-life balance from individual and organisational point of view

Work life balance disorders

What is Work Life BalanceClick to read  

Technological changes created the possibility to perform job tasks in various places => blurred the boundary between work and home life.

Work from home

• Escpecially incrased during COVID-19 pandemics
• Working practices that involve information communication technologies (ICTs) and a work location other than a main office

There is no single definition of work life balance in the literature, but it is commonly explained as:

…employees’ satisfaction and good functioning of multiple roles among work and non‐work (family or personal) domains” (Kalliath and Brough, 2008)

Work life balance disorders Click to read  

Interference between home and work can cause a conflict. Conflict between work and non-work lives is bidirectional (Peeters et al., 2005):

• Work can affect home life and family responsibilities

This can lead to poor mental and physical health ⇒ Burnout

• Home life and non-work responsibilities can affect work

⇒ Lower productivity

Peeters et al. (2005, p.45) divide job demands influencing individuals:

• Quantitative job demands 

- Too much work to do in too little time

• Emotional job demands

- Emotionally stressful situations at work

• Mental job demands

- „the degree to which work tasks call on a person to expend sustained mental effort in carrying out his or her duties”

Home characteristics influencing work life balance:


- Gender
- Age
- Number of children in the family

Partner having a job or not

Child care arrangements…

Individual work life balance strategiesClick to read  

The border theory (Clark, 2000)

• Individuals, as human beings, have the ability to manage work and family spheres and constantly weighting between work and non-work domains in order to achieve balance.

Work‐family enrichment theory (Greenhaus and Powell, 2006; Chen and Powell, 2012)

• Individuals acquire skills by crossing the line between work and home life every day in order to maintain a balance between work and family
• These skills can be psychological, physical, social skills covering a wide range of cognitive, interpersonal and multitasking skills

Individual strategies can be classified into two types (Zheng et al., 2015): 

• Attitude

- An attitude is an evaluation of something, for example a positive or negative opinion about a person, place or position... 
- A positive attitude and the ability to maintain it positive is one of the strategies of reducing a conflict between work and non-work life and achieve wellbeing (Rotondo and Kincaid, 2008).

• Ability

Ability to obtain work life balance can be related to the issue of personal control (Guest, 2002)
„Individual with an internal locus of control is able to control a situation, instead of letting the situation control them” (Andreassi and Thompson, 2007). 

• Support and situation at home

- Family members’ work commitments and their ability to share the responsabilities at home can reduce conflicts between work and non-work life (Premeaux et al., 2007)
- Number of children can influence overload and induce more work‐family conflicts (Adkins and Premeaux, 2012)
⇒ Childcare arrangements

Organisational work life balance strategies Click to read  

Five distinctive groups that represent organisational work life balance policies and
Programmes (Mescher et al., 2010): 

• flexible working arrangements; 
• provision of health and wellbeing programmes; 
• provision of childcare benefits or services; 
• provision of leave as required to meet family needs; 
• organisational understanding and support.


Flexible working arrangement

• flexible work hours and
• part‐time work arrangements (eg. job‐sharing).

Flexible work arrangements influence  job satisfaction and employee morale  

Flexible work arrangements reduce absenteeism and  turnover

Flexible work arrangements increase firm‐level performance (Perry‐Smith and Blum, 2000).

Health and wellbeing programmes 

Aim: to increase employee health and chances of organisational success (Meyer and Maltin, 2010). 

- Goetzel and Ozminkowski (2008): „worksite health promotion programmes could increase employees’ health as well as their productivity

They can include

- provision of healthy breakfasts and lunches 
- organisation‐based or subsidised gym or physical exercise programmes

Childcare assistance programmes

Organisationally sponsored onsite day‐care centres
Subsidised childcare fees 
Providing information to help working parents in finding dependable child or elder care

Assistance programmes can be related to higher employee satisfaction, better work climate, higher employee commitment scores and lower turnover intention (Zedeck and Mosier, 1990). 

Provision of leave as required to meet family needs and organisational understanding and support

• Leave provision tends to be either enforced by legislative devices or informally arranged depending on the environment

• Organisational understanding and managerial support reduce work‐family conflict and improve employee wellbeing. 


Key takeawaysClick to read  

Work life balance is a good functioning in multiple roles among work and non‐work (family or personal) domains 
Work life balance disorders arise because of the interference between work and non-work lives
Work life balance conflict can be reduced at individual and organisational level
Employees working in family‐supportive environments, experience lower stress and less work‐family conflict, leading to greater both job and family satisfaction

Test Yourself!


Work-life balance (WLB) is a topic that is increasingly being explored and is of interest to both the organization and the individuals. Individuals benefits are better health and quality of life, what influences organizational productivity and performance. This unit, entitled Work-Life Balance Disorders looks at explanations of WLB and distinguishes between different types of WLB disorders. It also discusses and explains the benefits of WLB for both individual and organisation and identifies ways to improve WLB and reduce WLB disorders.


Work-life balance, Burnout, Personal health, Strategic choices


•    Adkins, C. and Premeaux, S. (2012), “Spending time: the impact of hours worked on work‐family conflict”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 80 No. 2, pp. 380‐389.

•    Carlson, D., Grzywacz, J., Ferguson, M., Hunter, E., Clinch, C. and Arcury, T. (2011), “Health and turnover of working mothers after childbirth via the work‐family interface: an analysis across time”,Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 96 No. 5, pp. 1045‐1054.

•    Chen, Z. and Powell, G. (2012), “No pain, no gain? A Resource‐based model of work‐to‐family enrichment and conflict”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 81 No. 1, pp. 89‐98.

•    Clark, S. (2000), “Work/family border theory: a new theory of work/life balance”, Human Relations, Vol. 53 No. 6, pp. 747‐770.

•    Goetzel, R. and Ozminkowski, R. (2008), “The health and cost benefits of work site health‐ promotion programs”, Annual Review of Public Health, Vol. 29, pp. 303‐323.

•    Greenhaus, J. and Powell, G. (2006), “When work and family are allies: a theory of work family enrichment”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 72‐92.

•    Kalliath, T. and Brough, P. ( 2008), “Work‐Life balance: a review of the meaning of the balance construct”, Journal of Management & Organization, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 323‐327.

•    Mescher, S., Benschop, Y. and Doorewaard, H. (2010), “Representations of work‐life balance support”, Human Relations, Vol. 63 No. 1, pp. 21‐39.

•    Meyer, J. and Maltin, E. (2010), “Employee commitment and well‐being: a critical review, theoretical framework and research agenda”, Journal of Vocational Behaviour, Vol. 77 No. 2, pp. 323‐337.

•    Peeters, M. C., Montgomery, A. J., Bakker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2005). Balancing work and home: How job and home demands are related to burnout. International Journal of Stress Management, 12(1), 43.

•    Premeaux, S., Adkins, C. and Mossholder, K. (2007), “Balancing work and family: a field study of multi‐dimensional, multi‐role work‐family conflict”, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 705‐727.

•    Putri, A., & Amran, A. (2021). Employees Work-Life Balance Reviewed From Work From Home Aspect During COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Management Science and Information Technology, 1(1), 30-34.

•    Zheng,C, Molineux,J, Mirshekary,S and Scarparo,S 2015, Developing individual and organisational work-life balance strategies to improve employee health and wellbeing, Employee Relations, vol. Vol. 37, no. Iss 3, pp. 354-379