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Western Care Association

Location: Various locations throughout Co Mayo

Funding: €19,500

Examination of work life balance needs and awareness within the organisation through a staff survey. The data gathered from these surveys was analysed and a number of recommendations produced. The current culture of individual informal arrangements on work life balance issues is being formalised into policies and practices for the organisation as a whole.

Number of employees:

  Total Male Female
Employed 550 100 450
Participated* 192 38 154

*Staff members who replied to the questionnaire which was issued to all staff members.


  • Establishment of a committee to undertake the project (ongoing)
  • Evaluation of current situation
  • Assessment of the local labour market
  • Secure the support of senior management
  • Assessment of employee's needs (survey on priorities and preferences and explore barriers)
  • Identify resources and constraints to the introduction of favoured options (ongoing)
  • Develop policies (ongoing)

  • Obstacles:
  • Childcare was identified by a number of members of staff as necessary to achieve Work Life Balance. However, given the nature of the organisation - work takes place 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and in 45 different locations it was recognised that it would not be possible to provide a childcare solution to meet the needs of all staff members. Three solutions have been identified to this problem:

  •      1. One person has been nominated to hold current information in relation to approved childcare services in the County
         2. Links to childcare services will be available on the Association's website
         3. The establishment of another committee to address the issue of childcare will be promoted.
  • Staff diversity - another challenge faced by the committee was the variety of staff grades and working conditions that exist within the organisation. It was recognised that what might be appropriate for one staff member might not be necessary or feasible for many others. To overcome this issue it was agreed that though work life balance policies and procedures will exist on an organisation wide basis, all initiatives will be addressed in a flexible manner in consultation with the staff member and management, creating individual responses to various requests.

  • Lessons
  • There should not be an assumption that all staff are aware of existing work life balance initiatives, even when practices are in place and promoted throughout the organisation.
  • Western Care's favourable attitude to requests for work life balance initiatives has created a positive image of the organisation amongst employees.
  • Line managers must be trained in the promotion and implementation of work life balance initiatives to ensure an organisational awareness and a consistent approach throughout the organisation.
  • Top level management recognition and commitment is vital for success
  • Staff should be informed on a consistent basis about work life balance initiatives. This is to reduce 'misinformation' and staff dissatisfaction.

  • Future Plans:
  • Communicate policies to staff
  • Monitor and review policies
  • Assess the equality implications
  • Disseminate the experiences of the project as an example of good practice.