Lexible workin practices and work-life balance

Coursework option 1: Flexible working practices and work-life balance

You are a newly qualified graduate, working within an HR department for an international legal firm in offices based in the City of London. Jobs are designed on a traditional  Monday to Friday model, often resulting in very long and rigid working days. As part of your probationary period assessment, you have been asked to produce a 2,000 word report for the HR Director, examining the benefits and challenges of adopting more flexible working patterns and practices, with a view to improving the work-life balance of the workforce. The HR Director would like you to address the following questions:

a) What difficulties do you see with the implementation of flexible working arrangements within a work-life balance framework?
b) Where might resistance come from and why?
c) What other barriers might there be to the effective implementation of such arrangements?
d) How would you convince management that work-life balance policies are important for organisational effectiveness?

The HR Director has just successfully completed an MSc in Human Resources, and expects the report to be well researched, and to reflect current thinking.

Learning outcomes

1. To demonstrate a knowledge of theoretical models and concepts relating to the topic area.
2. To interpret the information provided in the case study and to draw out the key issues, analysing them in relation to the academic theory.
3. To show clear evidence of reading and research through referenced text (refer to Library help sheets Nos. 07, 33, 30 and 04).
4. To provide clear and consistent referencing, identifying all sources utilized (refer to help sheet Nos. 30 and 04).
5. To show awareness of current environmental conditions that influence and impact on the organization.
6. Using the information collected, to offer the organization realistic recommendations for consideration
7. To demonstrate appropriate presentation skills through the structure, layout and writing of the assignment.
8. To work to 10% of the assignment brief word count.

Option 1: Flexible working practices and work-life balance

This option requires you to apply flexible working patterns and practices to a very traditional workplace. An appreciation of this context should be evident in your analysis. The following points, arranged under the four question areas, could offer a starting point for preparation.

a) Difficulties in implementation?
- What is the environment like now?
- How do you implement change?

b) Areas of resistance?
- People in the organisation?
- Tradition?
- Current working arrangements?

c) Other barriers?
- Industry sector behaviour?

d) How to convince managers?
- Think about the business case
- Look for the shorter and longer term benefits
- Consider international environment