“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you are keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. However, the other four balls are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, naked, perhaps even shattered.”
These lines by renowned author James Patterson in his book ‘Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas’ feel too close to home in the overwhelmingly busy lifestyle that we lead today. The hyper-competitive scenario that we are currently living in has inevitably resulted in work and the quality of life becoming mutually exclusive. Essentially, in a bid to make a living, people have forgotten how to live.
Understanding the conflict between work and quality of life
Such is the extent that the work has become an indispensable part of their day, assuming higher priority in one’s life than might be necessary. And it is not downright wrong on their part—after all, quality of life is nothing but how much of one’s expectations have turned into reality, and work determines the reality on a materialistic level and to quite an extent, on an emotional level as well. However, the conflict remains—should one continue investing all their time and efforts to reap bounties in the professional space only; or does there have to be more?
The quality of life and work are not inversely correlated; the former subsumes the latter and therefore must assume supreme priority in one's pecking order of investments of time and energy. Undoubtedly, having a healthy professional and personal life is necessary for one to not succumb to the stress and other mental ailments that overwhelming schedules can lead to, and people have come to realize the same. So what can organizations do to encourage and help employees achieve such a balance without letting it affect work?
In this day and age, everyone looks for a workplace that fosters creativity, acknowledges and appreciates individual talent as well as team efforts, and provides a conducive environment overall. To make this possible, an organization needs to go beyond just remuneration and extend the necessary physical as well as social apparatus. Because of such work-life expectations, the recent entrepreneurial surge in the country has been observed to be propelled by a drive to improve quality-of-life, especially amongst the emerging millennial and Gen-Z workforces.
Startups leading the change
Startups are leading the charge in driving this outlook towards work. These emerging organizations have been observed to help an individual strike a right work-life balance even amidst challenging work schedules, owing to a combination of contemporary mindset, absence of dreadful morning blues, and the acknowledgment that each employee is making an impactful contribution through their work.
Additionally, startups have also begun initiating and implementing measures like introducing flexible working hours and work-from-home, keeping work-hierarchy and the oft-associated benefits at minimum, engaging employees in team-bonding exercises, leveraging learning opportunities, allowing short-breaks, initiating interesting and insightful workshops and sessions, and even seeking advice and suggestions. In these ways, organizations are not just succeeding at shaping the careers of their employees but also the quality of their life itself.
Having a positive work-life balance enables an individual with a greater sense of control and ownership over their lives, thereby keeping them motivated to continue hustling. Even though the efforts expended remain more or less the same, having a healthy workplace environment and a considerate employer makes all the difference. At the same time, individuals should strive to manage their time and energy more productively, keeping all the aspects of life into consideration. In essence, life is valuable, and people should understand that all their priorities deserve equal attention to live their lives truly!