Sunday, May 3, 2009

Work Life Balance

The concept of work-life balance is not something new. It has been around for ages but it is only recently that people have become much more aware of having a good balance between work/career/profession and personal life. Not only the individuals but the organizations are also waking up to the fact that they have a role to play in helping employees maintain a good work – life balance.

It has been observed that the high stress levels or an imbalance between these two aspects in any employee negatively affect his quality of work, increases problems related to his health and causes decline in productivity and efficiency. Moreover, it also affects his personal life which again causes more stress in work life. So, this is basically a vicious circle which affects both the spheres of our lives.

There is a life at work and at home and also a life having space for leisure. Of late, we have been seeing an increasing number of social issues such as high divorce rates, infertility due high stress levels, more frequent nervous breakdowns etc. in young people. This is all due to the increasing importance of one’s career over personal life. Young people are falling prey to working 24 hours a day and hoping to get to the top very soon and in the process they totally neglect their personal lives which ultimately create such an impact on their lives that they lose out in work sphere as well.

Thus it is necessary that people exercise some control over when, where and how they work. True, work is important but not at the cost of health and personal life. Just as a good job is necessary to boost our self esteem and self worth, a good family and personal life is necessary for a happy and peaceful mind. A good balance in work and life can play a phenomenal role in the attainment of personal and professional goals.

The core of work life balance could be defined as the achievement with enjoyment. If an individual goes on working his or her best at work place without enjoying it, they will never be able to sustain it for long. Sooner or later, the performance will fall. But if you enjoy what you do, you will sustain your work motivation and excel in whatever you do. But most of us are not so lucky to get a job which we enjoy doing. There are many more concerns such as money, family etc which are involved. In such a case, though it may seem difficult, if you have a personal life to fall back on in tough times, it will help. Having something to look forward to at the end of a boring day at work can help lift your spirits and make you ready to face another challenging day at work. The key is to relax and unwind before commencing another grueling day at work.

It is quite possible that you do not enjoy what you do for eight hours a day , but you do look forward to what you do for next three four hours and that will energize you and de- stress you and let you enjoy your life. When you are relaxed and not totally dependent on your job, you have a better chance of managing your job better. Infact, you will see that you will find ways to motivate yourself and create a much better atmosphere at work too. Your productivity will increase and this will help you get better opportunities at work. Hence, it becomes absolutely vital, that you give equal importance to all the spheres of life. A person who is a workaholic and does not enjoy his family life cannot be termed a successful person.

Today the deadlines are getting tighter and an individual's job is not only to match that deadline but also to give quality output. Due to this work pressure it becomes exceedingly difficult to maintain a family life. It becomes very difficult to have the right mix of work and pleasure. While you strike a work life balance, you are not merely balancing your profession and family, you are also balancing your mental and status quo and thereby balancing your emotional intelligence, which is the worldly ability to manage you and to handle others.

According to Sarang Panchal, Nielsen’s managing director, customized research, Asia-Pacific, India, China and Greater China, “A booming economy has resulted in better jobs and salaries. However, this has brought in long work schedules, leaving individuals with very little time to balance their work and life,” It is not surprising that most Indians consider work-life balance as their biggest concern since demanding careers are taking a toll on their family lives.”

The organizations are also doing their bit by helping employees have a healthy work life balance. They have specialized training and awareness programmes and also allow their employees to actively pursue a hobby and a healthy after work life. According to Shantanu Banerjee, Director HR, Xansa , “Employees tend to feel motivated when they feel that the organization is putting extra effort in providing a healthy balance between work and life." It has been seen that there is a strong link between work-life balance policies and reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and job satisfaction. Other benefits include improved recruitment and retention rates with associated cost savings, a reduction in employee stress, greater levels of job satisfaction and loyalty and an improved corporate image.

The benefits of a healthy work life balance are there for both the individuals and the organizations. Hence, it is not only important but also better to give equal importance to all the spheres of your life.

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