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Workplace Well-being: How to Build Psychologically Healthy Workplaces by Arla Brown, E. Kelloway, Joseph Hurrell

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5 Introduction to Work–Life Balance

Leslie B. Hammer and Caitlin A. Demsky

Department of Psychology, Portland State University, Portland, OR, USA

Scholars have demonstrated, based on several decades of research, that work–life balance is a critical component of psychologically healthy workplaces (Hammer & Zimmerman, 2011). In 1977, while Rosabeth Moss Kanter wrote about “the myth of separate worlds,” employees and organizations began to face the undeniable connections between work and nonwork (Kanter, 1977). Employees were choosing organizations that provided more family-supportive policies, and eventually, employers began to implement workplace supports that were attractive to prospective employees. In the 1980s, scholars started to examine workplace and family characteristics that contributed to work–family conflict (e.g., Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985), and companies, such as IBM, developed new initiatives to support employees, leading to an increased focus on healthy organizational practices. By 1990, the health of workers and the health of organizations were addressed in several seminal articles contributing to the emphasis of work–life balance in the development of healthy workplaces (e.g., Ilgen, 1990; Zedeck, 1992). The present chapter briefly reviews work–life balance constructs, theoretical frameworks, antecedents and outcomes of work–family conflict, work–family conflict and health, and work–family balance best practices. A discussion of avenues for future research ...

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