Lifestyle diseases are currently among the top problems in the US, as more people get so engrossed in the capitalist contexts of the American society that they do not take good care of their bodies. In fact, not all the lifestyle diseases are preventable with the help of simple lifestyle changes. However, a good work-life balance plays a significant role in the health of the employee. Actually, the employees, who spend significant time away from the workplace, are not only healthier but also happier and more productive at work. A healthy and happy worker is a blessing not only to their families but also to the organization they work for.
Such an employee would not only require less time on a sick leave but also would be more productive within their position in the company. More importantly, a healthy worker will not bring many expenses regarding public health sector treatment and management of complications related to their inability to get enough rest. Such a fact is evident in other countries like France, where people work fewer hours and get more vacation time; thus, they report fewer cases of fatigue and such occupational ailments as cardiovascular complications that result from dealing with a great amount of work-related stress, little time to relax and decompressing as a way of coping.
In fact, a work-life balance is a critical component of a healthy life. In the absence of a work-life balance, an employees' health would suffer significantly, since they do not get enough rest and are not satisfied by their style of life. Such a proposal aims at reconfiguring the lives of the employees so that they can get enough time to relax and have a social life. The employees need to get enough time to spend with their friends and families rather than being consistently locked up at work away from people and things significant to them. In the absence of a social life, the employees start to get sick more regularly even if in the situation, when most of them ignore the symptoms and keep on working until the late stage of disease. Some of the important signs of a lack of work-life balance include having many slow days every week. When an employee's body seems to be on a 'go-slow' too frequently, it should be clear that the workers are pushing their bodies too hard. Such a fact represents one of the symptoms most employees ignore, as they seek to make the most out of their employment. In fact, the employees work even when they are not feeling well; thus, they can be hospitalized and miss more days of work that could have been prevented if the symptoms are diagnosed and treated earlier.
Therefore, the problem needs to be solved because the health of the American labor force is deteriorating every day. The more the American people are allowed to work without having any adequate rest, the earlier they will be exhausted; thus, the nation would be left without a strong and experienced workforce. Moreover, the health implications of the lack of the work-life balance translate into higher health care costs for the employees in various corporations. Inability to find a reasonable solution to the problem may cause the risk of diseases and may create a staffing shortage. In this case, the scarcity may result from the loss of staff due to the lifestyle conditions that could be prevented if the employees stop working beyond recommended hours and spend some time resting and socializing with the people they care about. The more time the problem remains unsolved, the larger the scope grows as more and more employees reach the critical condition of their health. In fact, such conditions as cervical spondylosis and heart conditions could threaten the life of the patient.
Actually, one of the greatest risks of not dealing with this problem is the gradual decline in the strength of the American workforce. Over 90% of the employed Americans have to deal with the work-related stress consistently. In most cases, the employees work more shifts in order to earn extra income to cater for various needs. If the organizations do not develop and embrace efficient and friendly work-life balance programs, at least 90% of the nation's workforce risk suffering from the work related illnesses within the next few years. Another implication is related to public health.
If the diseases associated with exhaustion at the workplace become common, the healthcare sector will have to prioritize the treatment, management and research of these ailments by taking away the funding from such pressing problems as cervical spondylosis cancer, the health of children, the lack of parental care and teenage pregnancies among other things. If the organizations deal with this problem now, not only the public health sector will remain focused on the problems that affect the Americans but also the employees will learn to fulfill the following tasks: to stay healthy, to work within a three-hour limit, to enjoy physical fitness and to spend more time with close people rather than staying at work. The change of the attitudes and perspectives of American employees will ensure that people start focusing more on their health rather than focusing on the money they make that will effectively reduce the cases of preventable lifestyle conditions.
The overarching purpose of this grant proposal is to create a work-life balance that will ensure that the population does not suffer from the diseases that are related to work time without substantial amount of rest. If the proposal is funded, it will ensure that the American population does not suffer from the consequences of the lack of work-life balance. A program must be developed that helps the workers to stay away from overtime and to receive reasonable number of vacation days every year in order for them to get substantial time to relax and recover from all the exertion of their work-related indulgences. Moreover, a work life balance will ensure that people build and maintain both healthy social and family relationships.
The proposal aims at recommending the solutions that could make the American working population healthier and happier. The proposal benchmark is a reduction in the prevalence of illnesses that are related to the absent work-life balance. The lifestyle conditions that come from the absence of body care like the lack of healthy eating and the lack of sleep should reduce if the proposal is funded and efficiently implemented. The proposal will be considered to be effective in case of30% reduction in the number of cases of fatigue, obesity, exhaustion and cervical spondylosis, as reported by health care facilities in the area.
In order to put this grant proposal into action, the first step will involve communication with the organization, whose employees will participate in the proposal. In this case, the proposal targets the 3M plant in Fairmont that employs 600 people; many employees have some health issues related to overtime work and the lack of time for personal matters. The approval of the management of the organization is of particular importance because the proposal relies on managerial cooperation and support through company policies.
The communication with the management is the first intervention activity because the management decides the appropriate activities that can be implemented within the organization. Therefore, the only way to execute the proposal is to convince the management to allow the implementation of the proposal. In addition, once the management is in a position to recognize the goals of the proposal, they will appreciate that the organization will benefit from having a healthy and motivated workforce in the long term.
After consulting the management, the employees will also be consulted with the goal of providing them with all the needed information about the significance of the work-life balance. Actually, the involvement of the workers in the decision-making process will enable them to perceive the elimination of overtime as a loss. Most people sacrifice their lives to work overtime with the purpose of making more money, but they exhaust their minds and bodies and miss the chance to spend the money they have earned during their lives.
Health complications and poor relationships never seem to be attractive enough, when the employees fully understand the consequences of all their exertion at work with no time to rest or spend time with close people outside the workplace. Every implementation process requires the approval and support of the individuals, who are directly involved and affected by the application. In this case, the employees of 3M Fairmont plant will be crucial concerning the approval of the proposal. In fact, the goal is to convince the management based on the benefits the organization will receive from the proposal. Not only the employees get healthier and rested, but they also receive enough time to experience life with the people they care about.
Once the employees are convinced about the importance of the work-life balance, the next step involves the introduction of the health detectors and the scheduler. The health sensors represent primary gadgets that monitor the health of the employee and provide them with an alert, when they need to take a break or get medical help. Actually, the scheduler will time the working hours to ensure that each employee gets a reasonable break after three hours of work. Regular breaks will enable the worker to rest and socialize even within the workplace. The employees stop focusing on the work instead of paying attention to their well-being.
Lastly, the proposal will include the process of convincing the management to eliminate overtime in order for the employees to work within the recommended working hours and to go home and live their own lives for the rest of the day. In fact, such an organizational change will not be an easy task, but the corporate policy often guides employees. Similarly, it might not be easy to convince the workers to avoid working overtime, when the organization allows overtime and provides the employees with additional pay for the extra hours. Therefore, the employees will always be attracted to the opportunities that provide them with more money for the overtime work within the organization. Thus, the proposal will work only if the management of 3M agrees to rule out overtime and limit the employee working hours.
I will implement this proposal as a student researcher with the help of other 20 student researchers, who will work in a team for the activities that require a lot of such groundwork as meeting the employees, finding and hiring a scheduler and even convincing the organization’s management to implement the proposal. The student researchers will volunteer to work and the primary qualification of the student researcher will be an ability to communicate efficiently and to help the involved parties to understand and appreciate the goals and objectives of the proposal.
All of the activities discussed above need to be conducted within two months. Consulting of the management will be held within the first week and will be followed by the communication with the employees. In addition, the researchers will spend some time with the management to create and debate a reasonable policy concerning overtime; the researchers should also allow the administration to consult the stakeholders. Such an activity will last for the remaining six weeks of the proposal. The scheduler will be assigned after the second week, once the employees are on board. Moreover, the employees will meet their health detectors as soon as they agree to participate in the proposal.
In order to evaluate the proposal, the proposal goals and benchmarks will be used in the form of the guiding components. In fact, the goal of the proposal is to get the people to pay more attention to their lives rather than work overtime. In particular, the proposal is interested in the health implications of an unhealthy lifestyle that involves spending a great amount of time at work. In fact, the most important measure represents the improvement in the health of the employees at 3M Fairmont plant. To determine the success rate or to track the success of this work like balance program, this particular component of the proposal that will be measured is the impact on the overall health of the employees.
In the short-term, the data from the health detectors will be used to monitor whether the employees' health is deteriorating or improving. In the long-run, however, the proposal's effectiveness will be measured by analyzing the employees' health records related to the conditions associated with working overtime and the lack of time to rest or socialize with friends and family.
Another critical component of the proposal is the number of the employees, who benefit from the plan. Actually, it is not enough to observe positive changes experienced by less than 50% of the employees in a period of six months. In fact, the lifestyle changes often yield some results within the first eight weeks of practice. Therefore, if the proposed strategies are successful, a positive change, when a great number of employees become healthier, should be observed starting from the 8th week. The management of 3M will evaluate the proposal, since they are in a better position to access the health information of their employees. The researcher and the team of volunteers will only be responsible for interpreting the collected information and making recommendations on the appropriate adjustments to the implementation. The primary criterion of the success of the proposal is a reasonable number of employees, who report an improved health status.
Actually, the budget for this proposal amounts to $100,000. Out of this amount, $12,000 will be used to purchase health detectors for 600 employees at 3M at a cost of $200 per health detector. In addition, $5,000 will be used for the lobbying process aimed at getting the management of the organization to change their policies related to overtime. In this case, the money is particularly useful for the creation of the presentations and for travelling to meet the influential members of the company’s management in the Fairmont plant. It is estimated that the lobbying activities will last during the period of the implementation process of this proposal.
The allocated money will cater for any additional logistics that might be required to get the researchers meet the company’s leadership until they agree to the new policy. The remaining $83,000 will be used to employ a scheduler and a trainer for the employees of the organization. The scheduler will be paid a salary of $47,000, while the trainer will get $36,000. The scheduler is meant to ensure that the employees maintain the working periods of not more than 3 hours.