Work-family issues in this discourse include a range of problems that emanate from demands of the work place negatively interfering with familial roles, responsibilities, expectations and wellbeing. Work -family issues may also arise when there are responsibilities in the workplace that are not compatible with one’s role in the family. This situation either shifts responsibility from the individual involved to his/her partner or creates a vacuum begging to be filled. Increased burden and pressure emanating from either situation could create frustration and aggression within the family, in addition to the conflict itself. Work-family conflict takes a toll on all members of the family, young and old.
To advance in one’s career, employers look for proven work ethic and high organizational commitment beyond the employee’s call for duty. Consequently, workers tend to take on more roles than ever in the highly competitive world that we have today. The interference of work in family tends to rob spouses of quality time together. This can affect their emotional bonding and other aspects of their life. Generally, work-family conflict stems from irregular or inflexible work hours, job stress, frequent travels, career transition, overbearing bosses and so forth. Conflict resulting from work-family interference is rifer among dual-earner couples whose commitment and loyalty is split between the work and their family.
Due to variation in circumstances, there are no universal approaches for solving work-family conflict. Addressing work-family problems requires, first, an acknowledgement of the problem. Couples must recognize the interference of either or both of their work and the toll it is taking on the family. Constant communication between the duo is effective in mediating the effect of work-family conflict. This is where the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) becomes very important. Technology has the power to compress geographical and social distance between people.
ICT resources – video call, e-mail/SMS, social media platforms transport technology, and other effective strategies must be creatively deployed in successfully negotiating the challenges of the work-family interface and the huge conflict potential therein. Importantly, one must be deliberately conscious of the impending nature of work-family issues in today’s world and practically seek to address the problem. The necessity of managing this stems from its capacity to truncate productive potential, career growth and wellbeing of a person. If well managed, on the other hand, Work-family possesses capacity to enhance every other aspect of one’s life. Consequently, there is the need to imbibe Work-Family Integration (W-Fi) principles, which must be personalized and contextualized. There is no single best method of doing this. Training, learning, mentorship and experience are important requirements for fulfilling W-FI, which studies have established as more effective and sustainable than Work-Family Balance (W-Fb).