More often than not, the corporate world focuses mainly on financial results and benefits of stockholders, without giving adequate consideration to the work–life balance of employees and the consequence this has on families. On the other hand, good practices in management insist on better social responsibility and sustainable development, including the well-being of people and families. 'The effects of work-life balance on companies, individuals, and their families from around the world' (NIFREI) was a recent EU-funded project that investigated how family-friendly policies affect employees' lives and their work performance. Specifically, the project looked at the emergence of corporate family responsibility (CFR) as a key internal aspect of corporate social responsibility. CFR, which calls on integrating work, family and personal life, is meant to foster commitment, satisfaction, competitiveness, flexibility and sustainability. To achieve its aims, the project team examined research from the International Center for Work and Family at the IESE Business School in Spain. It particularly looked at how the IESE Family Responsible Employer Index (IFREI) measures CFR and its impact on people, society and company results in 21 countries from around the world. Importantly, the project noted that 54 % of people in a key IFREI study said they work in a difficult and hostile environment toward family and integration. It also found that even within the same organisation, some environments enable employees to integrate their work and family life while others find it much more difficult. This is due to lack of flexibility policies and the communication of these policies, as well as diverse management styles and sub-cultures that generate different microclimates in the same company. Among the study's important findings was that if employees perceive that their managers encourage CFR, they are half as likely to leave the company, their motivation more than doubles, and their level of commitment is higher. This requires emotional support and better role models in management, in addition to reorganisation and flexibility in the workplace. Overall, CFR can help reduce working hours, minimise absenteeism and enhance productivity. It promotes corporate flexibility, bringing out the best in employees and encouraging gender balance. If exploited wisely, the project's findings can help companies achieve these benefits and become more sustainable.
Work-life balance, family-friendly policies, corporate family responsibility, corporate social responsibility