Organizational Policies: work life balance and smart working

The definition, actualization, and monitoring of organizational policies, that is organizational policy-making, represents a strategic function to meet organizational goals and values. Policy-making represents one of the major factors determining the diffusion and the creation of basic organizational assumptions and values, representing one of the most significant expressions of leadership. Through policy-making organizational strategy and vision are systematized into general statements to favor certain organizational behaviors. Such a meaning of policy-making represents a specific category within the framework of studies in organizational decirlying the nature of human beinsion-making, connected with the investigation of situational factors and individual differences undegs as decision-makers.  

New challenges for Italian and worldwide organizational policy were born due to the COVID 19 pandemic that happened at the beginning of 2020 that has forced us to stay at home and has forced organizations in Italy to resort to new tools. The most widely known and discussed effect in organizations caused by the global pandemic is called Smart Working: “Smart working is one of the keywords universally used to define the changes resulting from the application of ICT in work organization. Recently introduced in the Italian  Labour Law, Smart working (or Agile work) implicates practices across at least 3 dimensions: time (when do people work?), location (where do people work?), role, and source (how do people work?)” (Zappalà, Smart Working e fattori psicosociali, 2017). Those three quoted factors determine smart working as it is in many ways. It is characterized by the absence of hourly or spatial constraints and an organization by phases, cycles, and objectives, established by agreement between the employee and employer; a modality that helps the worker to reconcile life and work times and, at the same time, encourage the growth of his productivity (Legge 22 Maggio 2017, n. 81). It is important to emphasize the fact that this way of working is expected to reconcile life and work, so it aims to improve in better the crucial WLB (Work-life Balance). 

This balance between work and life/family has been defined as “satisfaction and good functioning at work and at home, with a minimum of conflict of roles” (Clark, 2000, 751), balance or maintenance of the general sense of harmony in life (Clarke et al., 2004), and overall assessment that work and family resources are sufficient to meet the needs of the work and the family in such a way that participation is effective in both domains (Voydanoff, 2005, 825).  Greenhaus et al. (2003) consider the balance between work and family as a continuum in which the imbalance in favor of the job role is at one end and the imbalance in favor of the family role is on the other side, and the balance lies in the half favoring neither the work nor the role of the family. In the aforementioned conceptualization, the balance between work and private life and imbalance are not seen as intrinsically beneficial or harmful, respectively, for psychological well-being and quality of life. They continue to say that it should be proved empirically if equal time, involvement, and balance of satisfaction are better for an individual than the imbalance in favor of work or family role. In their study, it emerged that among individuals with a high level of involvement in all roles, those who reported the highest quality of life were those who invested more in the family than the job role, that is, showed an imbalance in favor of the family. Concerning their level of commitment, equally balanced individuals scored lower in terms of quality of life than those who favor the family outside of work, but higher than those who favor work on the family. Therefore, those who invested the most in the job had the lowest quality of life.  

In conclusion, the work-life balance can be defined as the ability of an individual to meet their work and family commitments, as well as other responsibilities and non-work activities. The balance of working life, in addition to the relationships between work and family functions, also involves other roles in other areas of life. The work-life balance has been defined differently by different scholars. If we have been able to allocate the necessary time for every aspect of life properly and not to reflect the problems of one part of life in another it means that we have been able to achieve the balance between family and work. Life as a whole is made up of many other aspects together with work. Those who have reached a balance between these aspects are sure to achieve the balance of life, which eliminates any imbalance.

All scientific publications of the Research Center related to this field of research are available at the following link.

Abdirahman, H. I. H. (2018). The relationship between job satisfaction, work-life balance and organizational commitment on employee performance.
Haar, J. M., Russo, M., Suñe, A., & Ollier-Malaterre, A. (2014). Outcomes of work–life balance on job satisfaction, life satisfaction and mental health: A study across seven cultures. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 85(3), 361-373.
Clarke MC, Koch LC, Hill EJ (2004) The work-family interface: differentiating balance and fit.
Greenhaus JH, Collins KM, Shaw JD (2003) The relation between work-family balance and qualityof life
Johanna Rantanen, Ulla Kinnunen, Saija Mauno, and Kati Tillemann, (2010), “Introducing Theoretical Approaches to Work-Life Balance and Testing a New Typology Among Professionals”.
Voydanoff P (2005) Toward a conceptualization of perceived work-family fit and balance: ademands and resources approach.
Zappalà S (2017) Smart Working e Fattori Psico-Sociali In book: Smart working: una prospettiva critica. Publisher: TAO Digital Library
Legge 22 Maggio 2017, n. 81, Misure per la tutela del lavoro autonomo non imprenditoriale e misure volte a favorire l’articolazione flessibile nei tempi e nei luoghi del lavoro subordinato. (17G00096) (GU n.135 del 13-6-2017 )
Delecta, P., (2011), “Work life balance”. Chennai (India)
Johanna Rantanen, Ulla Kinnunen, Saija Mauno, and Kati Tillemann, (2010), “Introducing Theoretical Approaches to Work-Life Balance and Testing a New Typology Among Professionals”