Balancing work and family : a challenge for career women.
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International Organisations have seen and reaped the benefits of having family friendly organisations. More and more organisations across the world are encouraging family friendly environments to deal with the changing dynamics of the work force of today. Whilst this holds true for international organisations, South Africa lags behind the rest, especially with regards to work life balance for women. Over the year, many South African organisations have taken some steps to change their organisations to accommodate the growing work force of women, however has these changes been effective? The aim of this study is to identify what are the mechanisms that aid women in coping with work and home and is the assistance from the organisation and support structure ample to create a balance between work and family. Non-probability convenience sampling was used and the participants were female staff members of University of KwaZulu Natal and belonged to the University of KwaZulu Natal staff union (UKSU). The sample had a mix of academic and non- academic staff. The data was collected using a web based questionnaire created by the researcher. The study revealed that women tend to depend on their social support structure namely, their spouses, friends, colleagues and paid help. It has been acknowledged that the organisation has introduced benefits to aid in work life balancing, however these are not utilised as much and changes made are not ample enough to promote work life balance. Employees can benefit from family centred organisations in that they have a greater sense of ownership, relations with management is improved, there are less issues from work flowing into home and vis versa and they are better able to focus on life outside work as well as have greater control over their working lives. The organisations can benefit from encouraging family centred environments. Formalising work life policies and making them effective is not sufficient. Supervisors and management need to encourage and apply policies for work life balancing. In turn this will improve productivity, reduce absenteeism, increase staff morale, retain valuable and talented staff, attract a wider range of candidates, becomes recognised as an employer of choice and improves the general health and well-being of women employees.