Work-Life Balance: Hospitality Work Force in Macau

Introduction & Rationale of the Study

Work-life balance is about people having a measure of control over when, where and how they work, leading them to be able to enjoy an optimal quality of life. Work-life balance is achieved when an individual’s right to a fulfilled life inside and outside paid work is accepted and respected as the norm, to the mutual benefit of the individual, business and society.

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Following with the economic boom since Year 2004, there were some changes in Macau such as the nature of employment, work force population, increased in earnings as well as the pace of living and working. Macau is changing from a relaxed and easeful village to a fast-paced and intense city.

Background

Macau’s economy four years after reversion to China remains one of the most open in the world (The World Fact book, 2003). The liberalization of Macao’s gambling monopoly and the rapid rise in the number of mainland visitors because China eased restrictions on travel drove the recovery of economic from the tough in Year 1998 by the Asian financial crisis and the global downturn in 2001. The surge in visitors from China and a hike in taxes on gambling profits generated about 63% of government revenue in year 2002.

Macau’s gambling revenue jumped 46 percent in 2007 compared to the year 2006. The former Portuguese enclave that was returned to Chinese rule in 1999 recorded US$10.6 billion in revenue in year 2007, up from US$6.99 billion in 2006, according to the Macau’s Gaming Inspector and Coordination Bureau. The result mean the Chinese territory bested the Las Vegas Strip to be the world’s casino capital for the second year running

However, there are concerns that many inhabitants have yet to benefit from Macau’s economic boom. And some locals are concerned that the young are being enticed to leave school early and go to work in the casinos by the high wages on offer. Another major concern is the workforce–or rather, the lack of one. By 2010, annual visitor numbers are expected to double to 38 million (The World Factbook, 2003). However, only less than three quarters of Macau’s population of 488,000 is ‘economically active’ (that is, aged between 15 and 64), which is a relatively small pool from which to draw enough people to work in all of the hotels, restaurants, casinos and shops needed to satisfy the extra visitors.

Nature of Employment in Macau

Employment structure is constantly changing as technology develops and patterns of trade change. The growth of the economic is another important cause of employment change in the city (The Vancouver City, 2003).

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The price of labour, or the wage rate, is determined in the labour market according to the supply and demand conditions, and changes in these conditions will facilitate adjustments in the labour market, reflecting in employment and wage. The labour market has a close relationship with the aggregate output level of an economy, as labour is a dispensable factor of production.

The influx of so many gaming operations means that vying for qualified talent in Macau will become more intense in the future. Workforce growth is not keeping pace with Macau’s economic boom, according to Jonathan Galaviz, partner at Gobalysis, a boutique consultancy that covers Asia’s gaming industry. The ability to have access to qualified talent is going to be one of the top challenges for employers looking to expand in Macau for the medium to long term. Based on the number of mega-properties in the pipeline, there could be a demand for as many as 100,000 new employees in Macau in the next five years. The demand extends beyond the gaming industry and into other pockets of the economy, like construction.

Only considering the hospitality industry, around 40,000 jobs were created between year 2004 and 2007. Many new hotels and casinos are already in operations, and lots are yet to come up. The abruptness of change in supply of jobs and insufficient demand of labour, these organizations offer higher salary (the median monthly earning of employee in this industry was MOP$11,698 in the 4th quarter of year 2007, while the median monthly earning of employment earnings was MOP$7,926) to attract more labour move towards the casino-hotel organisations.

According to Manpower Needs and Wages Survey (2008), the forth quarter of 2007, total labour force was estimated at 322,800, within 97.1 percent were employed and 2.9 percent were unemployed. The labour force participation rate was 60.7 percent. Below is a table of employment figures of the hotel & catering and gaming industry at year 2004 and 2007.

Year 2007 Year 2004
Hotel and Casino Hotel and Casino
No of Paid Employees 62600 39000
Median Monthly Earnings $12523 $10881

From the figures above, there was a significant increased (62%) in the number of labour within the industry. As a result, the composition of jobs in the city has been shifting towards more service-oriented jobs and away from traditional industrial jobs. Between Year 2004 and 2007, workers population in the hospitality services sector (including gaming) grew more than all the others. This sector approximately holds 20% of the employed population (Macau Government Statistic and Census Service, 1st quarter 2008).

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Due to data limitation, there is no record on employed population in terms of age in the hospitality sector. However, the largest age group of 35 – 44, 28.4% of the total labour force, is recorded according to the employment survey in the 4th quarter of Year 2007. The second largest age group is 45 – 54, followed by age from 25 – 34, which they occupied 25.9% and 23.7% of the total labour force respectively.

According to employment survey conduct by Macau Census in year 2008, it was found that the hospitality sector had the longest working hours, the median actual hours worked per week in the hospitality industry was 50.3 hours, compare to the lowest 38.3 hours in the public administration sector. Besides the working hours, the implication of government legislation on employment terms and conditions, the labour only have a minimum of 6 days annual leave and 6 statutory holidays per year.

With these in mind, the researcher concerns on the issues of work life balance in terms of factors affecting the current labours, particularly for the hospitality workers. The high proportion of labour in the said industry is engaged in long working hours, also with less pay leave in the culture of Macau citizenship. The highest proportion of age group in the labour force, age 25 – 44, male (48%) and female (52%) distribution, usually have commitments in their life outside work, means the individuals’ commitment to family, dependent children or elder parent.

The researcher, thus, will take a case study on Venetian Resort Hotel Macau – one of the major players in the hospitality industry, for the sake of investigate the staffs’ opinions on their work condition in terms of work life balance or imbalance.

Aims and Objectives of the Study

Aim

To evaluate the extent to which work-life balance concept can be applied to Macau’s hospitality and tourism industry. A case study of staff perception on the work condition in Venetian Macau will be investigated.

Objectives

  1. To critically evaluate the literature of contemporary work-life balance concept.
  2. To find out staffs’ opinions on their work conditions in Venetian Macau, and how they would like to modify them. This involves the investigation into factors affecting the ‘quality’ of life outside work among the workers.
  3. To relate this theory with findings of staff perception on the concept of work-life balance, concluding as to the staffs’ opinions on the current work conditions in Venetian Macau compare to the work-life balance theory.
  4. To offer recommendations based on the subjects’ responses, establishing whether the adoption of work-life balance initiatives would have business benefits and provide competitive advantage to the organization.

Hypotheses of the Study

This study hypothesizes that:

  1. Hospitality workers’ personal lives are negatively affected by their current work conditions, which cause work-life imbalance.
  2. There is a certain level of dissatisfaction with the general work conditions (due to lack of manpower) in the hospitality industry, given the long hours and/or stress on workers.
  3. Workers would like more “humane” hours, flexible time and/or any compensation.
  4. Workers would be eager to give suggestions with how to improve their work conditions.

Operational Definition of Variables

Variables and their relationships
Figure 1.1 Variables and their relationships

In the diagram above, the relationship between the work conditions in the Hospitality Field is illustrated. With the conditions in the Hospitality Field as the Independent Variables, they are expected to affect the personal lives of the subjects, which are illustrated above as the dependent variable.

  • Work Hours are the number of hours the worker spends at his job. This variable would also include the number of overtime hours the worker incurs.
  • Compensation is defined as whether the pay or other options that the organization offers to the staff for compensate work overtime. And the general remuneration that the company provides.
  • Workload is defined as the number of tasks during the job duty.

These factors would be investigated as to how they affect the personal lives of the subjects. For example, does longer hours translate to less time with the family or for the personal lives of the workers? Does the busy job leave the worker stressed when he goes home? Does the worker satisfy with the compensation that he is being offered? All these and more will be explored in the questionnaire.

Significance of the Study

This study would be significant to the business community, especially in the context of the hospitality field. Macau being a casino-hotel capital in need of more workers, the business community would want to attract more workers. Improved conditions would leave workers satisfied, improve in retention and would attract potential recruits, especially with satisfied workers spreading the word to their friends who would like to work in the hospitality industry in Macau.

This study is also significant to the academe, as learning about work conditions and finding ways to improve them is always a welcome addition to the pool of knowledge in academic circles, especially in business schools.

To improve the human condition, be it work-related or in another field, is a main thrust of the human race. The researcher believes that this paper is one step towards the achievement of that.

Scope and Limitations of the study

Scope

  • The study helps to evaluate the existing rules and policies followed by the company.
  • It reveals the impact of these rules and policies on the employees.
  • It gives the idea about how the employees perceive about the company.
  • It highlights the expectations of employees.
  • To know the area to be worked on for the betterment.

Limitations of the study

A lot of care has been taken to see that the study is undertaken to get the most accurate results. However every study will have some inherent limitation and this study is no exception. There will always be a feeling of allegiance of the employees towards the hotel and they may not reveal their true feelings. The respondents may feel that in giving out any negative information may damage the reputation of their employer. Such a situation might result in at least a few of the respondents giving a rosier picture instead of a realistic one. Fear may also prompt some employees from speaking out. Employees may feel that the results may get into the hands of the top management and repercussions may happen if they say something bad about the organisation. Both these are assumptions and it is only a possibility that such a thing might happen. The viewpoint of the top management was not taken into consideration and they might have been able to add some more value to the study.

Review of Literature

Perceptions on Work Life Balance

Work-life balance has always been a concern of those interested in the quality of working life and its relation to broader quality of life. The termWork Life Balance was first coined in 1986 in reaction to the unhealthy choices that many Americans were making in favour of the work place, as they opted to neglect family, friends and leisure activities in the pursuit of corporate goals (Haworth, 1997). Yet work-life balance has come to the fore in contemporary debates largely because in affluent societies the excessive demands of work are perceived to present a distinctive issue that needs to be addressed.

According to Haworth (1997), a broad set of overlapping influences can be identified as a set of factors that have brought the issue of Work Life Balance to the forefront of policy debates. Those concerned with developments at work that might be seen as causing the problem of work-life imbalance, those relating to life outside work that might be viewed as consequences of work-life imbalance and those concerning individuals and their lives that give rise to the need to address the challenge of work-life balance as a contemporary policy issue.

The pressures of work have been intensifying in recent decades. The advances in information technology and information load, the need for speed of response, the importance attached to quality of customer service and its implications for constant availability, as well as the pace of change with its resultant upheavals and adjustments all demand our time could be identified as the sources of pressure.

In the community, there is growing concern that the quality of home and community life is deteriorating. There are various explanations for this associated with affluence, the growth of single parent families, the privatization of family life and the lack of local resources and facilities. In addition, the pressures and demands of work reflected both in longer hours, more exhaustion and the growth of evening and weekend work leave less scope for “quality” family time. While steps to redress these concerns transcend work and employment, it is nevertheless argued that the demands of work contribute to a reduced participation in non-work activities resulting in an imbalance.

Models of Work Life Balance

Zedeck and Mosier (1990) and more recently O’Driscoll (1996) note that there are typically five main models used to explain the relationship between work and life outside work. The segmentation model hypothesizes that work and non-work are two distinct domains of life that are lived quite separately and have no influence on each other. In contrast, a spillover model hypothesizes that one world can influence the other in either a positive or negative way. The third model is a compensation model which proposes that what may be lacking in one sphere, in terms of demands or satisfactions can be made up in the other. A fourth model is an instrumental model whereby activities in one sphere facilitate success in the other. The final model is a conflict model which proposes that with high levels of demand in all spheres of life, some difficult choices have to be made and some conflicts and possibly some significant overload on an individual occur.

According to David E (2001), models of work-life balance can also be enriched by the psychology of individual differences. For example, psychological theory concerned with aspects of personality can enhance our understanding of perceptions of balance. There has been some research on “workaholics” who are characterized as those who choose to work long hours even when they may not need to do so. In a review of some of the literature on workaholics, Peiperl and Jones (2000) note how it was initially viewed as a disease akin to alcoholism (Baylin, 1977) but that research by Machlowitz (1980) suggested that it was more properly viewed as a form of extreme work involvement. More recently, Scott, Moore and Miceli (1997) have linked it to three relatively stable personality types, the achievement-oriented, the perfectionist and the compulsive-dependent. Peiperl and Jones distinguish workaholics, who choose to work long hours and perceive some rewards from doing so; from over workers who may also work long hours but who have little choice in the matter and who do not believe that the returns they receive justify the long hours. This stream of research needs considerable development but it highlights the importance of taking into account individual differences in any attempt to establish what is the meaning by balance.

The Fact of Work Life Balance

Work Life Balance, Flexible Working, Family Friendly Policies or Life Style Choices are just a few of the names given to the need to balance the demands of the workplace and home like. When looking deeper on the society side, the demands of the economy, customer pressure and individual needs are all changing rapidly creating a more turbulent organizational context and stimulating the need to review how work is organized.

Customer pressure, especially the hospitality industry, is instrumental in forcing organizations to review their working practices. According to Dti, 2001, the growing demand in all sectors for “24 hours a day and 7 days a week” service means that for organizations to compete, managers are requiring flexible working options to ensure business survival. In UK, many of the organizations that have already put Work Life Balance policies into place are reporting other bottom line benefits. The South Lanark shire Council in UK report decreased absence levels (IRS, 2000); BT (British Telecoms) has taken the approach of considering proposals from any member of staff putting forward a case for altering their benefits to the company. The proviso is that the alteration should not harm the individuals’ work or their work colleagues.

In an IRS survey of 83 organizations using Work Life Balance policies and employing collectively just under 1/2 million workers, 67% of those employers report improved recruitment and retention of staff (IRS, 2001). BT describes improved retention of staff, which has saved them money on recruitment and training costs (Seneviratna C, 2001) and Lloyds TSB advise that the introduction of “Work Options” has improved morale leading to increased productivity (DTi,2001).

According to CIPD Survey 2001, a regression analysis reveals that an imbalance was more likely to be reported, as might expect, by those working longer hours. It was also more likely to be reported by those in managerial positions and on a higher income; by women rather than men and by those with dependent children; and by multiple job holders. On the positive side, those who reported that they worked in an organization with a friendly climate, where more human resource practices are in place and where they have more scope for direct participation and autonomy reported fewer imbalances (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2002).

On the other hand, according to Clark (2000) has dissected the concept of “family friendly” to distinguish practices associated with temporal flexibility, which give workers some control over when they work, operational flexibility, which give control through autonomy over the content of work and supportive supervision, which allows for rules to be flexible in the case of family crises, illness and so on. However, from a policy perspective, it is interesting to note that the presence of family-friendly practices was not associated with a reported work-life balance. This implies that they were either ineffectively implemented or that they may have lessened but did not eliminate the problem.

An ambitious study by Kossek, Colquitt and Blurn (2001), building on some of Kossek’s earlier work, has examined the influence of both work and family climate on aspects of work-life balance and related outcomes. It is hypothesized that work and family climates, and specifically the climates of sharing and sacrifice, will influence the consequences of the decisions for work-life balance and work and family performance and well-being. The results confirm that the climate of sharing in the home and at work has a positive impact on performance and well-being.

Work Life Balance – The Panacea?

Work Life Balance is a relatively new concept and most of the research and reporting on the subject are showing positive outcomes for those organizations who have implemented programmes and a warm reception from individuals. It is recognized by CIDP (2001) that adopting Work Life Balance policies will initially incur costs for employers, it is anticipated that the benefits will be worth the investment, although they may also be difficult to measure.

Stradwick et al, 1999 point out that often flexi time or home working can be implemented in a Head Office environment but for operational reasons cannot logistically be offered to customer facing field staff. This could potentially create resentment and a “them and us” attitude. Likewise shift-working production line and transport staff also face barriers to working flexibly. Flexi time is one of the most popular Work Life Balance options. However, Pilbeam S. et al 2001, (p.81) highlight the need for organization to use flexible working entirely to their advantage at times with little regard for employees’ Work Life Balance. As an example of this, Salamon, M. 2000, (p.536) puts forward the theory that organization are keen to promote Work Life Balance schemes when the labour market is low, as has been over the last few years when Work Life Balance has become fashionable. The writer suggests that should unemployment level rise and result in more people competing for work, organization will be less inclined to encourage flexible working unless it is profitable for the business, with employees having less power in determining their work patterns. Although reports on the concept of flexible working make much of the benefits to employees, it is inconceivable that organizations would consider introducing these initiatives if they were not set to make a considerable gain.

In short, Work Life Balance is an integral and important part of corporate social responsibility. Good employers need to recognize that part of their obligation to their workers is to ensure that they are not working so hard to damage their lives outside of work or lead to health problems. Long hours is not just potentially damaging to the individual employee but also to the company itself. Companies need to understand that long hours may lead to lower motivation, morale, turnover and productivity of employees and reputation in the labour market. For government also must be concerned with the social impact of long related costs as there has long been recognition that happy employees are more productive and less likely to leave (Welford & Mahtani, 2005).

On balance, many surveys and much research has been carried out on the effects or long hours on employees, about what employers and employees want from Work Life balance initiatives and their effect on the bottom line. Most of the current literature, thinking and research are positive about what Work Life Balance can do for people and organizations.

Barriers in WLB

Work life balancing is not a simple concept. It mean different to different persons. The managers and the administration are always engaged to introduce flexible work practices. But barriers can be seen as related to management skills and attitudes; the persistence of traditional workplace cultures; and a lack of appropriate supports, systems and services.

The management skills and attitudes can be barrier such as:

  1. Unwillingness to accommodate employees wanting.
  2. Lack of management knowledge about the organization’s work life policies.
  3. Not having the negotiating ability.
  4. Lack of trust on flexible management practices.

Traditional attitudes can also mitigate against the adoption of flexible work initiatives. “A recent OECD report documented that many people (including many women) continue to believe that mothers with young children should work part-time or not at all. There remains tension between what mothers ‘should do’ and what many actually do and that this leads to considerable stress, guilt and ambivalence in the workplace. Evidence of the persistent nature of ‘long-hours’ cultures, where being seen to be present is highly valued and rewarded. Some commentators suggest that while more people are working longer hours, there is not necessarily a clear benefit to the organisation.” (Tacking Stock: A Survey of Contemporary Research on Work/ Life Balance for the Victorian Public Sector).

Lack of appropriate supports, systems and services in the organization can also be considered as barrier. For example, lack of flexibility to accommodate sudden changes in working hours, child care services, and difficulties accessing respite care for elderly or disabled family members can also add to the challenges of employees.

Benefits

By the introduction of work life balance concept in the organization there are many benefits to the organization. They are:

  • improved retention of skilled and high performing employees;
  • reduced staff turnover, saving on recruitment and training costs;
  • reduced absenteeism and improved employee health;
  • reduced stress and stress-related injuries and illnesses in the workplace;
  • better work performance from higher morale and increased discretionary effort;
  • increased workplace cooperation, commitment and motivation;
  • recognition as an ‘employer of choice’ with innovative and flexible work practices;
  • greater capacity to meet service demand through flexible working hours, work schedules and other work arrangements.

Benefits as an individual is greater job satisfaction, improved relationships, less stress and better health, great control over the work and responsibilities etc. for a business the work life balance provides efficient and dedicated employees, who enjoys working. In the community, work life balance will improve the economic growth from increased business productivity and developing full potential of work force.

One of the important things to be considered while applying work life arrangement in the organization is the nature of the business, type of the business and size of the business because a particular need of a workplace does not fit for other businesses. That means the need of employees in a business is different from other businesses.

History of work life balance

In the year 1960s-1970s, employers considered the work life mainly an issue for working mothers who struggled with the jobs demand and raising children. “The U. S. government had the major impact in the field, as reflected by the Presidential Conference on Families, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Quality of Employment Survey.” (Bird).

During the 1980s, recognizing the value and needs of their women contributors change was introduced in the internal workplace policies, procedures and benefits. It included maternity leave, flexi time, employee assistance, home-based work, and child care referral.

In 1990s it was recognized that work-life balance is a vital issues for both women and men. The growing awareness on this issue resulted in major growth in attempted work life solutions. The managers realized that the basic need is creating a good atmosphere for working in the organization so that employees enjoy working. It includes sanitary facilities, medical facility, flexi time of working, relaxation time, good payment etc. Many policies were adopted but unfortunately, managers were not successful for implementing it. Most of the policies were failure.

In the twenty-first century, the human resources and work life professional were disappointed because of the worse result. Many books were published on this topic. But after a long research it was found that training and educational programs will give positive effects for the implementation of work-life activities. Introducing a work-life program or making an already great one better, will improve the organization bottom line results better and changing individuals life better.

Future of work life balance

In the earlier period, the work life balance concept has exclusively concentrated on the gender dimension, how working mother and father can rear their children while performing paid work effectively. Then, we have seen public concerns were concentrating on how to reconcile the balance between paid works and time off required dealing with elderly and dependent relatives. The feminization in the British labour market has raised interest on how women and men together can raise families and also participate as much as possible in the paid work.

“Over-work in our society is seen as a primary cause of growing ill health, both physical and mental. It is argued that men and women have to work at a more intensive pace than in the recent past. Stress has become an increasingly intractable problem in the modern workplace as much for managers as for their office staff and shop floor workers.” (Taylor).

The changes in the patterns and times of working has always subject to pace of change rapidly. The driving force for these changes comes from both organisation and individuals. Organisations are always under constant pressure to produce goods and services. This constant pressure forces them to find new means of working to make best use of their staffs and resources. Employer needs highly skilled employees, so they introduce family friendly policies to retain the skilled persons in the organisation.

Employees have their reason for selecting one pattern of working time to another. The commitment of employees can make the difference between the competing company and which cannot. The employers who can best combine the requirements of their organisation and the needs of employees will be well placed to succeed.

Company profile

Las Vegas Sands Corporation, incorporated in August 2004, owns and operates The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. The Venetian Macao, which the Company refers to as the Cotai Strip in Macao. Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s Macao operations consist of the Sands Macao, The Venetian Macao and other ancillary operations that support these properties. It owns and operates the Sands Macao, the first Las Vegas-style casino in Macao, under a 20-year gaming subconcession. The Sands Macao is situated near the Macao-Hong Kong Ferry Terminal on a waterfront parcel centrally located between the Gonbei border gate and the central business district. This location provides the Sands Macao primary access to a large customer base, particularly the approximately nine million visitors who arrived in Macao by ferry in 2007. The Sands Macao also includes several restaurants, a spacious Paiza Club offering services and amenities to premium customers, luxurious VIP suites and spa facilities, private VIP gaming room facilities, a theater and other services and amenities The Venetian, is the second resort to open in Macau. It is the anchor of mega-tourism development, an unparalleled master plan that will become the Las Vegas Strip of Asia.

The Venetian Macao, opened on August 28, 2007, the anchor property on its Cotai Strip development, which is located approximately two miles from Macao’s newly opened Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal on Macao’s Taipa Island. It combines the glamour of Las Vegas with mystical Asian flair. Bringing the charm of Venice and the glamour of Las Vegas to Macau, as its construction billboard declares, The Venetian Macao will include 3,000 luxury suites in a 32-story tower, creating the beauty of baroque Venice complete with canals, gondolas, singing gondoliers and other legendary Venetian icons. Sheldon Adelson is the mastermind behind The Venetian Macau.

The Venetian Macao is approximately 550,000 square feet and has approximately 820 table games and 2,650 slot machines or similar electronic gaming devices, and a designed capacity of approximately 1,150 table games and 7,000 slot machines or similar electronic gaming devices. The Venetian Macao, with a theme similar to that of The Venetian, also features a 39-floor luxury hotel tower with over 2,900 suites; approximately one million square feet of retail and dining offerings; a convention centre and meeting room complex of approximately 1.2 million square feet, and a 15,000-seat arena that has hosted a range of entertainment and sporting events.

Methodology

Research Design

This study is conducted though the systematic research works. A research design is the arrangements of conditions and analysis of data in a manner that aims to combine relevance to research purpose with economy in procedure. This approach taken for this research is survey method.

Sample design

The Venetian Macau Resort Hotel is the place selected for research. Two departments, house keeping and F&B are selected as universe. Around 2500 employees are employed in these two departments, in which 400 are taken as respondents. Questionnaire was the main source of data collection. It was designed in such a way that maximum information is collected related to the topic of research.

Method of research

The primary research of the study will be based on quantitative method to reach as a large proportion of the population as possible through a questionnaire approach. Focus group or individual interview will not be used in this research as individuals’ in-depth opinions on this issue are unique. Hence, if qualitative method was employed, the researcher would also need to concern the individuals’ factors, his/her family concerns as well as his/her organisation culture.

A certain amount of secondary data was mentioned in literature review section for proving the concern on work-life balance in western countries and how the westerners perceive it. However, this study will only employ primary research and base on the survey method to achieve the aims and objectives to find out opinions directly from the target market itself.

This research will take a case study on Venetian Macau, one of the major players in Macau’s hospitality industry, seeking their staff perception on work-life balance and opinions on their current work condition. It will be necessary to include a large sampling frame for this study, as it is important the data obtained as representative of the total target population. The respondents will be chosen through simple random sampling, the researcher desire to get over 400? responds if possible.

For the sake of the convenient on filling the questionnaire and by considering the difference education level between individuals, a total of 19 target questions will only be contained in the questionnaire (see Appendix I) and no open question will be presented. Moreover, a Chinese version questionnaire will be given to all Chinese native. Meanwhile, all explanations of the survey was not an ‘official’ Venetian Macau Questionnaire will be stated clearly on the questionnaire in case of employee expectations will raised.

Construction on the Research Design

This is a blend of a sample survey of tangibles and intangibles. The tangible aspects would mainly involve: work hours, compensation, time for family or personal pursuits; while the intangible aspects would be: workload and stress level. These two aspects are classified as intangibles, as these are subjective, and the data will be based on the respondents’ subjective experiences in these aspects.

The first section of the questionnaire will be related to the demographics of the respondents. The demographic treads in preference, details sought included position, age, gender, work hours as well as the length of services.

Followed by is a section of the respondent’s perception on working overtime. Questions related to are the respondent regularly work overtime and the reason for regular working overtime, are they get paid for doing so, alternatively what is the reason for working unpaid overtime. These closed questions are not given numerical, as it would not be appropriate to calculate a mean from the responses. The percentages of each answer will be calculated and presented to instead.

Closed questions that related to the respondent’s well-being will be asked in the third section. Questions such as are the company allows flexible working hours to compensate for working late, are regularly working late generate impact on the respondent’s well-being and which specific impact is. Upcoming is the questions on are they taking sick leave for recover from working long hours and what is their perception on the days leave they received.

In the last section measured the interviewees’ perception on Work Life Balance and work using a five-point “Likert-Style rating scale”, the closing questions will be related to what would they like to improve on current conditions and their trend of leaving job in the next 12 months.

Procedure

An invitation letter will be sent to the Director of Human Resources of Venetian Macau, enclosed with the questionnaire for her approval and acceptation. The researcher would like to distribute the questionnaires, by proportion, to all departments’ administrators for them to distribute to their line members during departmental briefing. The researcher would also eager to issue the questionnaire in the staff lounge to encourage the respondent rate. Two weeks will be given to the respondents for return the questionnaires to the administrators respectively. Then, the researcher will personally collect the returned documents from the administrators. However, the research would highly recommend the interviewees to complete the simple questionnaires in a short time and return immediately.

The researcher also anticipates in case Venetian Macau turndown the invitation, another organization will be invited for assistance.

Data Processing and Data Analysis Plan

The researcher will look at the respondent rate whether it is sufficient for representing the total population firstly. After that a hypothesis will be tested by utilizing the methods of coding.

Secondly, the researcher will analysis the make-up of demographic of the sample population base on their gender, age, position grading and work division. Response on questions related to working hours and compensation will then be analysed. The results of these questions will be performed on the percentage of respondents’ chosen answers. For the last section, questions related to satisfaction at work, life outside work, and perception on work-life balance will be analysis based on a five-point “Likert-Style rating scale” to assess the level of satisfaction on current condition. The researcher will also explore the factors that contribute to or detracted from how happy people are with their jobs and then, in turn, to ascertain whether there is a link between happiness and a consideration of whether to leave jobs in the following twelve months. Further than that, examination on relationships between working hours, unpaid overtime worked, compensation, time spent with family and friends and the rating of how happy people are with their job will be explored. Last but not least, question about what ways to improve current condition will be performed by percentage of each answer.

Finally, conclusion will be drawn and recommendations will be provided to the organization for references.

Analysis

The primary data of this study is mainly based on the survey made through questionnaires distributed in the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel. The respondents were manager’s supervisors and lower ranked employees knowing Work Life Balance strategies. The survey is done through the random sampling method. The questionnaire was distributed mainly in two departments, the department of housekeeping and F&B.

The survey focused upon the gender of worker, hours of working, how long they are working, overtime working, flexible work time if provided, the level of satisfaction in work and the satisfaction of family in work. The Venetian Macau Resort Hotel has over 12000 staffs, 3000 Rooms and 14 outlets. Among them housekeeping staff are around 700 and F&B staff are around 1800. Most of the staffs in Housekeeping are female. In F&B department the employees always have long hours work, so they have flexible working hours. Many determinants are deciding the work life balance of a person. The female employees have more responsibility in the home; they are more concerned with the dependents in home and rearing of children. So, they are often unhappy with the long working hours. But the male workers are enjoying the work. The family members of female employees are not satisfied with the time. The working time of the employee also depend upon the culture of the organisation and polices of the organisation supporting it. The internal culture of the organisation also depends that is the culture inside the organisation in each department. As the nature of work in each department differs the policies of the department and time of work changes. According to a survey report, the demand for work is more, this fact also decides the working time. But every employee is from different community and culture at home. Culture at home refers to the expectations of home environment and family about the commitments and obligations “The demands of home refer to the commitments and obligations outside work. These may exist in the family, in the community or through choice of leisure activities. In the family, the demands, for example for someone who is young and single, may be very low while for those with dependent children or elderly parents, they may be very high.” (Guest).

There is a work culture in every organization, it exist out of the relationship between employee and employer. The employer and employee relation ship exist through the structured channel of communication pertaining in the organisation and also exist through a social inter relationship. The employer should be able to coordinate the activities though the action plan and policies without conflict. They have to develop a strong employee relationship program that inspires people to deliver maximum levels of performance and models of the company culture.

According to survey, only such employees having more demands at work are not satisfied. Employees with less burden of responsibility are more interested to work long hours. The women professional, who have kids and dependents, may have sudden problems. In such cases, mandatory overtime and restriction on leave may cause pressures and depressions. But some people are interested in earning more. So, it is better to make the overtime voluntary than mandatory.

The age group of person is also a factor deciding the working nature of employees. According to the Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia, “Young men use to work the longest hours of any demographic group and also report negative health consequences of working long hours.” (Welford).

The age group over 50 works more overtime than the group from 40 to 49. The employees are working for long time for many reasons like to earn more, to show the commitment towards the work, or because of enormous work load. It is also seen that the individual factors are also connected with Work Life Balance.

The employees have some perception about the work, his interest towards the family matters, interest towards the self achievement and propensity for work. It depends upon the person’s locus of control, his ability to survive in the pressures of competing demands. The forces of inter cultural clashes within his environment of working and his capability to solve also effects his perception. Work life conflict is one of the related term which means inner conflict in the role of pressures from the work and other family domains. Initially the concept of work life conflict was focused on the impact of family demands on work. But now, it extends to the impact of work on individual stress, relationships and family well being. “Work Life conflict includes issues such as difficulties related to child rearing, kinship responsibility or stressful life events.” (Cieri).

It is seen that the employees are commonly working overtime in Hong Kong. The flexible working hours are expected by the employees in the department where the working hours are long. The employees are interested in overtime if they are paid for it. The non managerial workers are more concerned with overtime works.

Another factor is leave provided to employees. According to survey, the female employees are availing the full leave. Most of the leaves taken are for family matters and maternity leave. Paternity leaves are also availed by the fathers but most of these leaves are taken from annual leave.

The balance between their responsibilities at work and home: There is always an inner conflict between the work life and family life which responsibility should be taken as prior. Both work life and family life has their on importance, deciding which stand first is difficult. Work life conflict is one of the related term which means inner conflict in the role of pressures from the work and other family domains. Initially the concept of work life conflict was focused on the impact of family demands on work. But now, it extends to the impact of work on individual stress, relationships and family well being. Work Life conflict includes issues such as difficulties related to child rearing, kinship responsibility or stressful life events.

Findings

The employees in Hong Kong are mostly associated with hospitality job. The government’s ultimate goal is for one member of every Macau family to be working in a casino, and with the unemployment rate at 3.2 percent, casinos are pulling out all the stops to lure local workers. The employees in the hospitality field are working longer hours than any other sector employees. Comparing the work load with other industrial sector the hospitality sector has long time work and flexible time of working. So, the work life balance of each industrial sector differs from hospitality sector.

In the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel it was found that the hospitality work is smooth. Even though there are many factors which affects the quality of work. The main findings are as follows:

  • Female workers are more in housekeeping department who have more pressures and demands at home.
  • Overtime working is common in the work culture.
  • A good medical facility. “Staffs at the Venetian enjoy medical cover, a fully-equipped gym and club room, and a “gourmet” staff canteen open 24 hours a day. (Lifestyle News).
  • Female workers are availing more leave then male workers for family matters.
  • Employees work for long time for many reasons like to earn more, to show the commitment towards the work, or because of enormous work load.
  • Young male employees use to work for long time in the demographic structure.
  • As compared to 2004, the worker’s have a significant reduction in the overtime work and late evening work.
  • Flexible work time is liked by most of the employees.
  • Overtime is paid for most of the non- managerial works.
  • Workers with less demand at home are more satisfied.
  • Now, people are less thinking about changing of job in twelve month.
  • The practice of five days working in a week is introduced.
  • “There is no great difference between men and women in terms of their happiness with their jobs.” (Work Life Balance in Hong Kong Survey Results).
  • Less manpower caused job pressures.
  • Stress in the job and demands of family are the reasons for dissatisfaction.

The most of the problem arising in the work which disturbs the work life balance is due to the frustrations arising between the relation of employer are employee, less compensations, less benefits and workload. The unhappy situation is because of the:

  1. Insufficient involvement with senior management.
  2. Ineffective implementation of policies.
  3. Lack of communication to staff.
  4. Failure to evaluate the input of programs conducted to improve the working conditions.

The work life balance in an organization is an essential factor for an efficient performance of the employee. Most of the organizations are introducing programs in the organization which meets the employee’s needs. But the implementation of programs is still in effective. The main reason behind is the unchanged attitude of the implementer. Without executing the policies and reviewing it well the policies cannot give good results. The employer should be good communicator. They should review and appraisal of implementation is to be done for a good result. The employee’s needs are changing with the changing environment in business. The changes in the environment are to be implemented in the organisation and reviewed for achieving the objective.

According to work life experts, the main reason for the growing gap between the work life and paid life is globalization and productivity. The pressures caused due to the productivity, forces the employers to undermined the progressive policies and focus on the maximum productivity. The belief of the business is there should be harmony between the personal life and work which require the trade off between profits and people, where profit is important.

Another finding is that the problems arising in olden days are not the problem of today. In the olden days, the work life imbalance is caused due to the pressures in the family, the raising of children, more responsibility of female. Main problem was gender difference. But now a day the changing family structure and the changing life style have caused many problems. The rearing of children is solved by the increasing baby care centres in the urban areas. Now every where nuclear family exist where both husband and wife re working. Both are workaholic, even children use to work after the age of eighteen or even before that. So the situation of the people has changed a lot. Now some of the problems raising are repetitive stress injury, eye strains, broken marriages and infertility, health problems especially which have far reaching consequences. Another problem is, ambition, overwork, worry, fear of failure, workplace politics, travel-related sickness, irregular eating and wrong food and drink habits. The interconnections amongst the symptoms that occur together, one leading to another, justify calling it a syndrome. The curious thing is that the stress which is an old problem but now days the extent of stress is too high and it is found among the all age group of people. It has leaded many people to depression and even worse to that.

Recommendations

The organisation always need to attract and retain the valued employees in a highly competitive labour market is a strong motivating factor for increased organisational awareness and action about human resources, policies and practices.

Work Life Balance from the employee’s perspective is maintain freedom to experiment and innovate must be encouraged rather than constrained.

when a company is preparing programs for work life balance, it should consider the purpose of program “The purpose should be to find ways to allow workers to come to the job free of worries that their responsibilities at home are taken care of and that they have the time to pursue the areas of interest that bring them joy outside of their work hours.” (Rose).

Another important component is the participation of all the levels of employees. It helps to change the attitude of the managers and executive. Some of the ideas for changes are:

  • Opening day care canters for the children whose parents are working in the organization.
  • Healthcare services for the employees in the organization for emergency medical issues.
  • Eldercare initiatives such as support services.
  • Training and development programs of better performance of employees.
  • Paying for overtime and making it voluntary.
  • Travelling expenses for the employee and its partner.
  • Providing educational incentives for children.
  • Providing facilities for increasing the standard of living of employees and family.

These ideas will increase the interest of employee in work, increase productivity, morale, retention and engagement.

Conclusion

The Venetian Macau Resort Hotel in Hong Kong has attempted to resolve so many problems related to Work Life balance. But as the changes occur another need arises. Hong Kong, which is the place of resorts, the government has aimed to employ maximum people in the hospitality business. In a survey, it is found that the maximum working hours are in hospitality business and the Hong Kong peoples are workaholic. Thus to solve the problem flexi times were given to employees.

The Work Life Balance is not an easy issue. The changes in this field now days are remarkable but still needs arise. This is a complex issue, but building awareness about the problems, recognising the causes- health problem, social discord, inequity is the first step in the right direction. It can be done only through the combined effort of businesses, governments, communities and individuals

Changes can be made by the government by creating proper policies and legislation addressing the issue more broadly. Issues related to the needs and equity of society, minimum wages, working condition and terms of employment. There should be encouragement and freedom for experimenting and innovating the solution to the problem.

Work Cited

Bird, Jim. Work Life Balance Doing It Right and Avoiding the Pitfalls. WorkLife Balance.com. 2006. Web.

Cieri, Helen De et al. Work-Life Balance Strategies: Progress and Problems in Australian Organization. Monash University. 2002. Web.

Guest, David E. Perspective on the Study of Work-Life Balance. ENOP Symposium. 2001. Web.

Lifestyle News. Channel NewsAsia. 2007. Web.

Rose, Joni. Creating Work Life Imbalance: Bad Corporate Plans to Improve Balance in the Work Place. Suite101.com. 2008. Web.

Taylor, Robert. The Future of Work-Life Balance. E.S.R.C: Economic & Social Research Council. 2008.

Tacking Stock: A Survey of Contemporary Research on Work/ Life Balance for the Victorian Public Sector. State Services Authority. 2005.

Work Life Balance in Hong Kong Survey Results. The University of Hong Kong. 2008. Web.

Welford, Richard. Significant Improvements in Work-Life Balance in Hong Kong. CSR Asia. 2008. Web.

Work-Life Balance: Hospitality Work Force in Macau
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