Finding the Balance - Work vs Life

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on April 09, 2015

Work Life balance is the new demand of every individual. Let us first define -what is work life balance. Work life balance revolves around two important concepts of everyday life those are achievement and enjoyment. It is the concept of keeping a balance between the work schedule like career and ambition, and individual life like lifestyle, health, family etc. by prioritizing work and adopting various other methods and practices.

Now the question comes- why work life balance is required. With the increasing work pressure, employees have been reporting about various conflicting situations in their day–to-day life stemming mainly from the stressful jobs and as a result facing a great difficulty in finding out the balance between the two. As per the survey carried out by the National Life Insurance Company, in the United States, four out of every ten employees find their jobs very stressful and these people face a lot of medical complications such as weaker immune system, health problems, headaches, cardiovascular disease etc. In India, the situation has been worsening day by day and is slowly coming at par with the United States. It also leads to a disturbed family life, leads to divorces, and may perpetuate to habits like drinking and smoking.

This takes us to the question as to how this work life balance can be achieved or can be sustained in everyday life. Work life balance is not something like giving or contributing equal hours to professional life and personal life. It is something that happens gradually by following certain things and practising them every day and making them a part and parcel of the daily routine. It starts with prioritizing the work that is setting our individual priorities as per our choices by asking ourselves about our priorities and not going by the ideal choice of priorities. It helps us to know what we really want rather than what ideally we should be.

Once the priorities are set, it is very essential to keep track of the time scheduled for our duties and priorities. We cannot let go of something important to us just because we could not allocate time for it. This requires proper planning of the time for each activities and adhering strictly to the timings and deadlines. A lot of people waste their valuable time on activities that add a very little or almost no value to their life like spending time on social media, e-commerce sites, spending time on web etc. and miss out important things, as a result draining out energy and bringing the morale down. Therefore it is required to minimize the time spent on such activities and taking up the stock of activities that enhance our career and personal life. Again, this has to be in coordination with our stakeholders who are the family, bosses, friends, and colleagues etc who need to understand and support our effort towards accomplishment of work-life balance.

Picture Courtesy: wikis.uit.tufts

The most important aspect over here is focussing on a single thing at a time and devoting our full time to the task we have at hand. Being responsible for carrying out multiple activities at a time leads to nothing less than screwing up everything at the end. This also takes into account, setting boundaries for each aspect of life. For example, while at office or at work, we should not get carried away by family problems or thinking about our near and dear ones. Similarly we should turn off our official laptop or cell phone while attending family events like husband’s birthday, son’s functions etc.

Outsourcing is the new trend that has developed over the years. As the software companies outsource their work and technologies to others, in the same way working professionals can outsource their work like the time-consuming household errands. Examples include ordering groceries online, hiring maids for day-to-day cleaning works, hiring people for babysitting or gardening services etc

All that we have discussed till now is about adjusting and finding a balance between various activities in or life. But it can only be done if we learn the tactic of saying no so as to avoid additional responsibilities and undue work pressures.

The ultimate method for achieving a work life balance is by giving time to fulfil one’s own individual needs, desires and wishes. Unhealthy and poor diet, lack of sleep and lack of exercise can put us at stress and can adversely affect our efforts in achieving work-life balance. Exercise can help a lot in boosting the energy level and helps us to concentrate on our work. People who exercise regularly find themselves refreshed all the time and can contribute more to their professional life. Taking a vacation like a week off from work at times like twice in a year and spending time with the family like holidaying at favourite destinations can go a long way in satisfying the personal life and can give a positive boost to the routine schedules in the days to come. Playing one’s favourite sport, listening to music, going for dance classes, going out with friends for shopping, leaving office early once in a week, spending some time on hobbies, reading novels, doing community services like taking up corporate social responsibilities, taking a 15 minutes break even on a hectic day and doing little things like this can go a long way in ensuring the proper work life balance.

Employers can also help their employees by providing facilities like gym, football, basketball, tennis courts etc and other indoor games so that employees can get refreshment by spending a little time in playing a sport or exercising and doing things like this like providing flexible working hours, reducing overtime work duties, reducing business travels, providing opportunities like work from home etc. This is beneficial not only to the employees in reducing the stress level but is also beneficial to the employers in reducing the attrition rate and increasing the commitment of the employees to the organization.

Picture Courtesy: apqc

Shown above are the degrees to which work vs. Life balance is achieved through various measures.

These are the results by APQC through Collaborative Benchmarking.

These are all simple concepts and by focussing them as key components of our day to day life make them easy to implement everyday and for the rest of our life and lets us achieve and enjoy a lot at the same time.

This article has been authored by Shibani Panigrahi from XIMB

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