Work-Life balance is an art. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but can be if we understand what actually success is.
A state of equilibrium is required within which the necessities of both a person’s job and private life are equivalent.
In the 1980s and 1990s, companies began to offer work life programs. While the first series of these programs were primarily to support women with children; today’s work life programs are less gender-specific and recognize other commitments as well as those of the family.
A recent report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) has revealed that globally, Indians are among the most overworked workers. Throughout the world, employees desire flexibility and control over their work and personal lives. In a pioneering study of considered values, work, and family lives case study (involving more than 800 business professionals) presented by Friedman and Greenhaus, in their highly acclaimed book, ‘Work and Family—Allies or Enemies’, published in the year 2000, found that “work and family, the dominant life roles for most employed women and men in contemporary society, can either help or hurt each other.”
The study emphasizes that working adults need to learn to build networks of support at home, at work and in the community.
The work life balance has always been a priority for those engrossed in the quality of working life and its relation broader quality of life. Factors like advances in information technology and information over-load, the need for speed of response, all demand our time and might be sources of pressure. The strain of work begins to dominate life and a sense of work-life balance ensues.
At work, the demands of work may be either too low or too high; and what is termed as the culture of work reflects the organizational culture and may support balance through appropriate policies and practices, such as occasional time off work and flexible hours.
A lack of work-life balance not only affects your mental health, but companies also endure loss in their profits and employee engagement.
The Employer’s Perspective:
An employer’s commitment to work-life initiatives is influenced by the assessment of whether or not such initiatives have a definite return on investment. In recent years, employers gradually have more awareness that the quality of an employee’s personal and family life affects work quality and that there are concrete business reasons to stimulate work and family assimilation.
The Culprit – Lack of Clear Priorities
Rescue Time Survey showed that while only 38% of people work fewer than 8 hours a day, only 5% of people finish their daily tasks every day. 25% of the employees in the study said it is because of “too much work” but more people placed the blame on “lack of clear priorities.”
Work-life balance may be achieved by proper planning, scheduling, and time management skills. Maintaining balance at personal and professional front is vital for your health, happiness, and your overall wellbeing.
Is Your Organization Ready for Work-Life Initiatives?
Before planning to roll out work-life initiatives, it is important to know if the organization’s culture is open and prepared to support work- life programs. As with most change initiatives, work -life programs require support from senior management in order to be successful. It is also beneficial to have a “corporate culture that urges employees to take a look at business in an entirely different way and encourages and acknowledges employees as individuals with priorities beyond the workplace”.
Work-Life programs (the programs which are financial or time-related in nature established by an employer that provide employees options to deal with work and personal responsibilities) have the potential to significantly improve employee morale, reduce absenteeism and retain organizational knowledge. Particularly during tough economy, work-life programs offer a win-win proposition for both employers and employees.