In a cozy evening, you are with family for a picnic and the phone bell rings with “Office Calling” displayed on your mobile screen and you are literally tortured.
Suddenly, question arises in your mind; is technology giving ease to lives or it is taking peace out of life? Do we live to work or work to live??
The point is simple, work-life balance. We need to understand that, it’s not the technology that is changing our lives, it’s the change of systems, values and priorities that actually effects our attitudes, perceptions, wants and eventually our lives. Today, we are living in a highly competitive world, that we are facing competition in business, competition in education, competition of dreams, competition in fulfilling our needs, competition to stay at the top, in all the respects of our life our position is at stake. And due to this competition we are leaving ourselves far behind the originality of life. In actual, the competition is taking us deeper and deeper towards unbalanced life. But we cannot outsource any aspect of our personal or professional duties, and hence, we have to manage both on the same ground in the same time and therefore, we need to create a balance between our personal and professional life. If the personal life is affected by professional life or vice versa the outcome would be work-life conflicts, which are going to affect both concerns.
There can be number of effects of Work-Life Conflicts;
There has been number of studies in the context of work-life, and literature suggests that setting long hours at work alongside disturbing the personal life of the employee is harmful for his health too, as it is seen around us that mostly people gain weight, and are depressed because they are unable to meet the personal and social obligations.
The work-life conflicts also effects the satisfaction, commitment, performance and efficiency of the employees. It increases the absenteeism and employees turnover that has long array of hidden costs to organization.
Most of the times we misunderstand that our top management is not so caring regarding the matter of work-life balance. Sometimes, true! But we need to understand that this is not the sole responsibility of the management rather it needs joint efforts from both sides to manage the issue.
Make it Balanced!
On employee side; is it very important to carefully select the career? Career which is most relevant to your personality, knowledge and competencies always keeps you satisfied and motivated and you can produce better performance, as Confucius stated “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. If you have selected profession without proper guidance and consultancy the chances of work life conflicts are high.
Leave your office in the office premises and don’t take it to your home, by keeping the personal and professional contact number separate. Make it clear to your professional network that you will answer the calls in specified office hours. After that you may turn off you cell for professional duties. Always answer e-mails with in office hours, and after office time outside your office, make yourself believe that you are no more with your colleagues rather you are with your family and or friend.
A statement we often listen “work smarter, not harder” is another way to minimize conflicts and maximize work-life balance. We need to be the master of our job. This increases the efficiency and we can perform our duties with in minimum of time. Training and development opportunities are one of the way to increase the efficiency of the employee.
Time management is critical skill for everyone working under high pressures of meeting deadlines, and prioritizing tasks is most efficient tool to manage your time. Employee must prioritize his/her tasks according to their importance and deadline. This will make it possible for employees to meet the deadlines as well as, making time available for personal and social life.
On organization side; it is the responsibility of the organization to satisfying internal customers (employees) altogether with satisfying clients, and also has the authority to establishing result oriented environment and making policies/ procedures. So at the larger end the organization is more responsible to create balance in employees’ personal and professional life.
Flexible working hours are becoming more and more popular around the world to facilitate the employees to meet their personal obligations. The flexible hour permits the employees to work in different hours in the day or nights and perform the specified duties and meet the results. The organization is more concerned with output. The working hours per day are fixed and employees have to work specified hours but can work in different times.
Well organized combination of leaves is another way organization can contribute towards employee work-life balance. Everyone need rest and want to spend time with family and friends. The leave policy must facilitate the needs.
Child care facility available at work place decrease the burden of mothers working in the organization. The organizations should have provide this facility because alongside job the primary responsibility of a women is take care of her child.
Work-life balance is an enrich topic of research and practical studies. Every person has unique set of needs and obligations. It is difficult for organizations to satisfy each and every employee on the other hand it is not possible for an employee to make it himself. Therefore, it is the responsibility of both, the organization and the employee to facilitate each other. Above described are some of the solutions and there can be number of others too. The point is, everyone has to plan for his side, and can add to solutions themselves.
A young scholar and researcher, Ahsan Ali is a committed HR professional and trainer at Cogilent Solutions (Pvt.)