Article: Work-life balance: You have to earn it

Life @ Work

Work-life balance: You have to earn it

Work-life harmony is a key to unlocking the potential of each employee and it is imperative that HR is in driver's seat
Work-life balance: You have to earn it

As a professional, have you ever wondered if you are achieving a healthy work-life balance in your organization? Sure signs of poor work-life balance include high stress levels, overtime, absence and staff turnover. With the passage of time, the relevance of work-life balance becomes very important when family responsibilities increase and care for children or other dependants becomes a priority. Thirty nine percent of all work-related illnesses in 2013-14 were caused by work related stress, depression, or anxiety.

Balancing home, life and work enables you to meet several of your basic human needs. Let’s face it, working fewer hours’ saves up time to focus on other things such as your community, your health, your family, your hobbies and so on. In addition to the demands of the workplace, therefore, in today’s life, it is of utmost importance for any individual to maintain a fine balance between work and life.

Desire for successful career and a life outside work influences job choices of most professionals and when it comes to success, work-life balance tops money, recognition and autonomy, says a research from Accenture.

In today’s highly competitive digital landscape, the fine line between our work and personal lives has been drawn much thinner than before. With so much connectivity, it is important that employees are able to balance the demands of work with the real need for personal time and space. Work-life harmony is a key to unlocking the potential of each employee and it is imperative that HR is in the driver’s seat to ensure that their staff is able to perform at their optimum efficiency levels.

Companies are now aware that well-balanced employees are more engaged and productive, and many have implemented schemes to boost the well-being of staff. Few of the ways in which employers can assist the employees to seek and maintain their own work balance are as follows:

Offer a flexible work schedule and environment: A flexible schedule does not mean that employees can come and go at will but sophisticated flexible schedules such as a five day work culture or telecommuting can be implemented. It is important to remember that performance should be judged based on output, and not face time at the office.

Managers and senior managers need to model the work balance to encourage for their employees: When a manager is on a vacation yet responds to email as if he/ she are in the office, this sends a powerful message to employees about whether they need to do email while on vacation. The actions of senior leaders are heard and observed by employees. When a senior manager calls in for unimportant meetings while out-of-the-office, employees get the message.

Sponsor employee and family events and activities to: Weekly activities (fun and frolic) at the work place can be arranged to engage employees. This further helps in releasing the stress and work pressures. Stress free employees can deliver more efficient results. Picnics/ get-togethers/Team outings or offsite can be organized annually or monthly to encourage team building and comradeships among employees.

Trainings: Trainings shall be conducted regularly to help employees in different aspects. For eg- trainings such as Time management, People management, Self management helps the employees to ease the everyday stress and maintain the work- life- balance, plus learn a new skill.

Companies which offer flexible working enabling employees to achieve a work-life balance will increasingly become employers of choice. In return, employees with a good balance between life and work generally offer many benefits to a company — they don’t call in sick, they are loyal, and save money.

Employees can also ensure balance between their work lives and personal lives through simple means such as managing time well during work hours, know when to be done for the day, acknowledging ones achievements, disconnecting  from office when you are off the clock, make the most of one’s vacation days.

While there is no magic formula for achieving this balance, one can find enough time to do anything a person wants. It is just a question of flicking the mental switch. For any organisation, the most valuable assets are the employees and their creativity. Today, every organization believes that a fine work-life balance ensures a healthy work environment and productive employees.

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Topics: Life @ Work

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