As one of the CEOs has noted, people working for him need to have phones even in the bathrooms. Traditionally, business ethics is focused on the morality of action. Therefore, overwork and work-related stress caused by the lack of opportunity to spend enough time with family is the ethical problem which needs to be addressed.
Mary in the mother of two small children and is the manager of the large department of the growing company. One day she faces the following situation: her children are sick, but she has to give the major presentation to 200 people who have traveled hundreds of miles to hear it. What should be done? The one may answer that Mary should rather take care of the children. While, most of the people would agree that the job will suffer if Marry blows this off. For most working men and women this situation is the reality, even in those companies which pay enough benefits for maternity leave and have other policies of flexible employment.
Over the last 20 years, the hours people spend at workplace has raised steadily. According to the statistics, more than 40 percent of American employees feel that their workload in excessive. Moreover, the average working week (40 hours) does not provide sufficient income for the families. Another factor why people overwork is downsizing and the fear to lose the job. Downsizing has created the surplus in workload as well as increased insecurity – employees feel they need to do extra job or they will lose their place in the company. Such situations are morally questionable about the ethical right of employers asking the employees to do the extra job. Despite of the causes or motivators why people spend more and more time at work, finding the work-life balance has become the major ethical dilemma not only for working mothers, but also for the working husbands and fathers.
Changes and Dilemma Resolution
The ethical dilemma of work-life balance has been addressed by many organizations. In particular, the federal government of United States has introduced the flexible working hours and child care in 1996 (Deckman 1996). In 1996, the number of working mothers increased and organizations were forced to find the new ways to provide them with the opportunity to balance work and non-work priorities. The following changes were introduced into employment practices: flexible work schedules, on-site child care, flexible leave policies and other benefits. These were the first significant initiatives aimed at enabling employees to meet their family responsibilities.
The special attention should be devoted to the flexible work schedules which were supposed to relief working parents from work-life balance ethical strain. First, the flextime means the system of work scheduling when the working day is split into two time periods: core time and flexible time. Employees are obligated to be at work during the core time and are accountable for the total number of hours scheduled to work (Deckman 1996). Unfortunately, there are very few studies available concerning the flexible scheduling benefits and even less studies addressing the impact of flextime on employee's family life.
Employers might think that flextime is the solution for all employees in helping to balance work and life; nevertheless, the research indicates that there is only insignificant difference between the stress of parents who do and do not use the flexible work