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Work-Family Questions Published: Sunday, February 20, 2000 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

When we address work and family relations we face an unavoidable question: Are we in touch with reality? Family is a social institution and a foundation of human society. Family is practical. Do you cope well with the aspects of the family that threaten its vision (such as work, money, mortgages, housekeeping, conflicting careers, ongoing stresses, pressures, frustrations and disillusionments)? Do you cope well with differences in upbringings, expectations, different physical and emotional needs, different values, different intellectual standards, and with adult’s unfinished childhood business (neurotic behavior, relics of infancy)?

Work-family questions are rising high on the list of issues that organizations must consider. Recent studies indicate that concerns about child and elder care are growing. In a survey of chief financial officers in the U.S. it was found that 90% of respondents believed that issues involving work and family balance are more important today than five years ago. The trend seems to be increasing…

This apparently new organizational sociology points to a wider tendency, also taking place in Puerto Rico, where professionals are taking a good hard look at family-work questions. And they are coming with up with same answers. Among the ways organizations are responding to these concerns is by offering part-time work and flextime scheduling that will help employees deal with dependent care needs.

In a recent research of 2,000 managers Catalyst Corporation found that 78% of full-time professionals and 98% of part-time professionals believe offering flexible work arrangements encourages employee retention. Such a study found that nearly 7 in 10 employees have exposure to part-time work arrangements, and 36% of women managers and 11% of men managers expect to work part-time at some time during their work careers. Two points are worth mentioning: (1) Retention factors are the scope of empowerment, learning and education, rewards, social integration and flexibility; (2) The already coming age is that of the feminization of the work environment.

As it is fairly known, offering flexible work schedule is not he only way organizations are addressing the work and family needs. The child care and elder care assistance are on the rise, particularly the device of providing child-care benefit programs (care spending accounts, referral services, sick emergency child care, arranged discounts with child care providers).

Given the increase in dual income families, which means the majority of all women with children work; the growing need will be not only for children still at home, but for aging, ailing parents. It is certain that work-family issues will be with us in the future. Thus, realism for the family is seeing money for what it is: something intangible. It is not only cash, nor it is only property. It is a complex device of work and family relations, all of which should be calculated into a comprehensive picture.


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