Work Life Balance in Current Scenario


By

Mr. Nazeer Khan S.
M.Com, M.Phil., Ph.D.
Dept. of Business Studies
Ibri College of Technology
Post Box 466, Postal Code - 516, Al Akhder, Ibri
Sultanate of Oman
 


"A lot of people are having a more difficult time finding balance in their lives because there have been cutbacks or layoffs where they work. They're afraid it may happen to them, so they're putting in more hours,"
                                                                                                                                
Psychologist - Robert Brooks

Introduction

There was a time when the boundaries between work and home were fairly clear. Today, work is likely to invade our personal life and maintaining work-life balance is not so simple task. A decade back, employees used to have fixed working hours or rather a 9 to 5 job from Monday to Friday. The boundary between the work and home has disappeared with time. The advent of globalization makes the people working across countries; as a result, concept of fixed working hours is fading away. Instead of just 7 or 8 a day, people are spending as much as 12-16 hours every day in office. The technological blessings like e-mail, text messaging and cell phones which were thought of as tools to connect them to their work being away from their workplace, have actually integrated their personal and professional lives.

Therefore, tension and work related pressure, responsibilities at family makes an individual difficult to find balance between work and personal life. Professional working in BPO industry, top executives, doctors, nurses, bank employees, and IT professionals are the few examples who are facing the brunt of hazard constantly.

Today, Industries have realized the importance of the work life balance of their employees. Organizations are setting up policies for maintaining a work life balance. They are going in for innovative methods to keep their employees happy and satisfied, as it makes office a better place to work and also positively impact productivity.

What is work life balance?

Work life balance is about managing our work commitments with career goals, and our responsibilities at home and the wider community. In an ideal world we would work 8 hours, have 8 hours of recreation, and the last 8 hours would be spent sleeping  i.e., equal balance between work, personal and self activities. But, in the real world many people are working more than 12hrs every day, with little recreation time or time for sleep. They are working late and bringing work home on the weekends. They want to spend more time with their kids but the pressures of work are unrelenting. Work life and personal life are inter-connected and interdependent. Work life and personal life are the two sides of the same coin. People have to make tough choices even when their work and personal life is nowhere close to equilibrium.

The concept of work-life balance is based on the notion that paid work and personal life should be seen less as competing priorities than as complementary elements of a full life. The way to achieve this is to adopt an approach that is "conceptualised as a two way process involving a consideration of the needs of employees as well as those of employers" (Lewis, 2000: p.105).

Definition

". A growing reorganizations that individuals require a satisfactory balance between the demands of work and those of the rest of life"

What work life balance is not?

Most of us misunderstand the work life balance concept, so it better to understand what is not work life balance

* It is not about being perfect
* It is not about being right
* It is not about being clever

Need for Work life Balance

"No one can have everything and do everything at the same time"
                                                                                                                          
-Oprah Winfrey

The ability to balance work and family has led to:

* increased productivity and job satisfaction
* improved corporate image with balanced employees
* Improved recruitment and retention rates, which are associated with cost savings.

Factors causing the problems of Work-life Balance

Over the past generation there have been considerable demographic changes which have influenced our working practices, examples of this include:

* Increased number of women working 85% in 2009 compared to 70% in 2005
* Majority of women with dependent children working 65% compared to 90% of men
* Majority of women return to paid employment after childbirth
* Increased life expectancy is resulting in an ageing population
* Elderly relative responsibilities are on the increase 6 million adults have care responsibilities for another adult

Tips for achieving work life balance

The following are some of the valuable tips for balancing work and family life.

1. Time Management:

It is one of the best solutions which can help to reduce the imbalance between the personal and the work life of the employees. Prioritizing the tasks and planning the activities can help to take out some free time which can be utilized for other personal purposes. Taking some time out for hobbies and leisure activities, spending time with loved ones can help to beat the stress.

2.   Increase your effective time at work

Rather than thinking of the number of hours of work, think of the effective time you spend at work. It is no matter how much time we spend on work, the time we spend with concentration and commitment on work counts.

4. Reduce your long working hours

Make a list of your tasks, and divide them up by the amount of time it takes to complete them. Then give yourself three quarters of that time to complete each task. This creates a sense of urgency around your top priorities. It motivates you to become more efficient, productive, and focused.

5. Focus on the family

Focus on the family means quality time you are able to spend with your family. Attending household work as and when arises and spending time with kids and family members on a regular basis.

6. Stay healthy

We have to look for effective ways to remain hale and healthy, which keeps us energetic through out the day / life. To achieve this, we have to maximise the four pillars of health:

1. Nutrition.  Eat fruit and vegetables and avoid too much caffeine.
2. Exercise. Exercise helps you to de-stress
3. Relaxation. Learn relaxation techniques such as meditation, imagery, or yoga.
4. Sleep Without adequate sleep it can be difficult to concentrate and focus throughout the day.

7. Set clear priorities

Make sure that you are clear on priorities over tasks to be performed. Whatever priority system you use, make sure that you are clear on your high impact tasks.

Some other tips:

1. Set a time to shut off work
2. Find something to immerse yourself in after work
3. Learn to be mindful and present

Benefits of Work Life Balance:

For Employers:

* Reduced absenteeism and lateness
* Improved employee morale and commitment
* Reduced stress and improved productivity
* Good corporate citizenship and an enhanced corporate image

For employees:

* Ability to manage work and individual commitments
* Improved personal and family relationships
* Increased focus, motivation and job satisfaction knowing that family and Work Commitments are being met
* Increased job security from the knowledge that an organisation understands and Supports workers with family responsibilities

Conclusion:

Life is like a game and an individual has to play with work, family, health, friends and spirit. Work is like a rubber ball. If dropped it will bounce back but the other four aspects family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. Assuming one of these are dropped they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. One must understand that and strive for balance in life.

According to a survey of Indian Health Organization, 81 per cent of the top executives have admitted that their jobs are affecting and creating stress in their personal lives. The pressures of the work or personal life can lead to stress. According to studies, it has been found that such situation affects person's health both physiologically and psychologically.

Therefore, it is important for employees to maintain a healthy balance between work and their private lives. This will help them achieve their personal and professional goals as well the organisation they are working for.

Work-Life Balance is not a problem to be solved. It is an ongoing issue to be managed.

REFERENCE

Books and Journals

1. Avinash Kumar Srivastav, (2007), "Stress in Organizational Roles: Individual and Organizational Implications", The Icfaian Journal of Management Research, 6 (12), pp.65-74..

2. Greenhaus, J.H. and Bentell, N.J., (1985), "Sources of conflict between work and family roles", Academy of Management Review, 10 (1), pp.76-88.

3. Haland, I. and Daugstad, G. (2005), "The gender-divided labour market", Magazine, 02.08.2001, en.html.

4. Chermiss, C. (1980). "Staff burnout: "Job stress in human service." Beverly   Hills: Sage.

5. Linda J Kristjanson, (2004), "work life balance creating & sustaining connections in a complex world" , Journal of applied Psychology

6. Nancy R.Lockwood, (2003), "work / life balance challenges and solutions", society of human resource management journals.

7. Parus. B. (2002) Recognition: A strategic tool for retaining talent,workspan,45,11, 14-17

Websites

www.tuc.org.uk
www.employersforwork-lifebalance.org.uk
www.cipd.co.uk
www. WorkLifeBalance.com,inc
 


Mr. Nazeer Khan S.
M.Com, M.Phil., Ph.D.
Dept. of Business Studies
Ibri College of Technology
Post Box 466, Postal Code - 516, Al Akhder, Ibri
Sultanate of Oman
 

Source: E-mail September 17, 2011

          

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