What is Quality of Work Life (QWL)?
Quality of work life (QWL) is a concept that is developed to make a formal program to fulfill employees’ needs and well beings to improve productivity and a higher level of job satisfaction in the organization.
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 of life at 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 a quality working environment includes financial incentives, the opportunity to develop personal skills and abilities, a safe working environment, an opportunity to participate in problem-solving and decision-making, and so forth.
Importance of Quality of Work Life
Quality of work life (QWL) is crucial for fostering a positive and productive work environment. It focuses on fulfilling employees’ needs and well-being, resulting in higher job satisfaction and improved productivity.
QWL emphasizes treating employees as individuals and not just workers, offering a quality working environment that includes open communication, rewards, recognition, job security, work-life balance, and career growth options.
These factors contribute to reducing stress, enhancing morale, promoting personal development, and creating a sense of belonging. By prioritizing QWL, organizations can cultivate a happier and more engaged workforce, leading to increased overall success.
Related: The 3 Levels of Management
Techniques To Achieve Quality of Work Life (QWL)
The followings are the main techniques through which the quality of work-life can be achieved. They are:
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.
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 companies offer some percentage of companies’ shares to their employees. For example, in Nepal, most of the joint-stock companies offer 5 percent of their public-issued shares to employees.
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 based on their convenience.
For example, an organization may have a 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, and employee turnover and provides convenience to the employees.
Job security is like having a strong foundation for a house. It provides employees with a sense of stability and peace of mind. When employees feel secure in their jobs, they are more likely to be motivated and dedicated to their work.
This technique helps achieve the quality of work life by reducing stress and anxiety related to job uncertainty. It allows employees to focus on their tasks and contribute their best efforts to the organization.
Rewards & Recognition
Imagine receiving a pat on the back or a round of applause for a job well done. Rewards and recognition play a vital role in enhancing the quality of work life. When employees are acknowledged for their hard work and achievements, it boosts their morale and creates a positive work environment.
Recognizing employees’ contributions not only makes them feel valued and appreciated but also motivates them to excel in their roles. This technique fosters a culture of appreciation and encourages employees to strive for excellence.
Balancing work responsibilities with personal life is crucial for overall well-being. Achieving work-life balance means having time for family, friends, hobbies, and self-care alongside work commitments.
This technique contributes to the quality of work life by preventing burnout and promoting mental and physical health. When employees can maintain a healthy balance, they feel more satisfied, engaged, and motivated in both their personal and professional lives.
Communication is the bridge that connects individuals within an organization. Open communication involves fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas.
It promotes transparency, trust, and collaboration. This technique helps achieve the quality of work life by facilitating effective teamwork, reducing misunderstandings, and encouraging innovation. When employees have a voice and feel heard, it enhances their job satisfaction and engagement.
Career Growth Options
Imagine being on a journey where you can see a clear path of growth and development ahead. Offering career growth options to employees is an essential technique for quality of work life. It involves providing opportunities for learning, skill enhancement, and advancement within the organization.
When employees have a clear vision of their professional growth, they are motivated to improve their skills, take on new challenges, and invest in their careers. This technique fosters a sense of purpose and long-term commitment among employees.
Example of Quality of Work Life (QWL)
Google, renowned for its innovative work culture, has maintained a high quality of work life by implementing unique practices. With its famous “20% time” policy, employees are encouraged to dedicate one-fifth of their work hours to pursue personal projects, fostering creativity and autonomy.
Google’s campus-like work environment includes recreational facilities, on-site cafes, and flexible workspaces, promoting a healthy work-life balance. Regular team-building activities, such as hackathons and volunteer events, foster collaboration and a sense of community.
Moreover, the company provides comprehensive employee benefits, including wellness programs, generous parental leave, and career development opportunities, supporting overall well-being and growth.
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