What is Quality of Work Life (QWL)?
Quality of work life is a concept that is developed to make a formal program to fulfill employee’s needs and well beings with the intention to improve productivity and a higher level of job satisfaction. QWL treats employees as a person rather than working machines. The means of QWL are quality circle, employees share ownership, and flexible working schedule.
In simple words, to understand the quality of work-life, just differentiate it as quality, work, and life. This means making the quality in the life of work.
Quality of work-life supports the highly democratic treatment of employees at all levels and encourages them in the decision-making process. It emphasizes maintaining a quality working environment for the employees.
The mode of quality working environment includes financial incentives, opportunity to develop personal skills and abilities, safe working environment, an opportunity to participate in problem-solving and decision making, etc. There are three techniques through which the quality of work-life can be achieved. They are:
3 Techniques To Achieve Quality of Work Life (QWL)
- Quality Circle (QC)
- Employees Share Ownership
- Flexible working Schedule
#1 Quality Circle (QC)
The concept of the quality circle was first started in Japan in the early 1960s to improve the quality of products. Quality circles consist of a work team composed of 8 to 10 employees from the same work area who meet regularly to define, analyze, and solve quality and work-related problems in their specific area of production.
Membership is strictly voluntary and meetings are usually held once a week normally for an hour before or after the job is over. An organization may have several QCs operating at a time to deal with different areas. The members are given some form of training in problem-solving to work effectively.
Quality circle is designed to improve the working condition and enable the self-development of employees. The focus of QC is on encouraging employees to accept responsibility for improving quality. QC is very effective at bringing about short-term improvement in the quality of work-life but they are less effective at creating more permanent changes.
#2 Employees Share Ownership
Employees share ownership is a plan in which employees are offered ownership of the organization as a benefits package. This may be done by stimulating them to buy equity shares.
It has become an important tool to motivate employees. It is believed that if employees own shares of the organization they would be motivated to work effectively to increase the value of their shares. Similarly, as owners, employees can participate in meetings and can put forward their views, ideas, and opinions in the decision-making process.
Most of the companies offer some percent of companies’ shares to their employees. In Nepal, most of the joint-stock companies offer 5 percent of their public-issued shares to employees.
#3 Flexible Working Schedule
A flexible work schedule is also an important tool to achieve the quality of work life. In this plan, employees are allowed to choose their own arrival and departure times within specified limits fixed by the organization.
Basically, the work time is divided into two categories i.e. core time and flextime. During the core time, all employees must be present in the office but in flextime, employees are free to select their own starting and departure time on the basis of their convenience.
For example, an organization may have working time from 8 am to 8 pm. Out of this 10 am to 5 pm is the core time. The employees are free to come any time between 8 to 10 am and leave any time between 5 to 8 pm. As long as they are present during the core time and work for 8 hours. In flextime, employees may involve in their personal work like payment of utility bills, visiting children’s schools, visiting banks, etc. This system is helpful to reduce absenteeism, overtime payment, employee turnover and provides convenience to the employees.