What Work-Life Balance Really Looks Like in 2018
The question of the ‘perfect’ work-life balance has been around for some time now and with good reason. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, which is why this question never seems to get a satisfying answer. Nevertheless, the issue of the work-life balance seems to have picked up some momentum in recent years with more and more businesses seeking to address it.
Unfortunately, however, there appears to be somewhat of a duplicity in the way some companies chose to approach it. Intentional or not, providing upscale gyms, yoga sessions, neck massages, company discounts, travel privileges, leisure areas, or upscale food delivered in the office are not examples of this balance people are looking for. These perks are better at attracting new employees and enabling for longer work hours, than anything else.
Coming from the Company
As we’ve said before, finding a work-life balance that works is an individual thing, based on each person’s life, own preferences, and overall style. Nevertheless, a company’s role in facilitating it, shouldn’t be ignored. To make that happen, managers ought to strive toward ‘titles’ such as “a tough boss, but one who cares about me.”
Managers have an obligation to the company to get the most out of their employees. Yet, acting as middlemen of sorts, managers should also look out for the staff’s wellbeing. This means that they should always be pushing for the employees to give 100% while at work, but when it’s time to leave, managers should also be the ones holding the door open. The reason why so many employees are unfocused and procrastinating is precisely the amount of overtime they are doing, which takes away from the life part of the equation.
With this in mind, it is in every organization’s own interest to nurture an organizational culture where a special emphasis is placed on productivity and results, and not on the number of hours every employee is putting in on a weekly basis.
Coming from the Individual
For the individual employee, finding a work-life balance that works is more of a case of trial end error. There is no one-size-fits-all approach and everyone is responsible to discover what works best. Some find it extremely productive to work at high intensity for several weeks, during which time their work becomes their life and vice-versa. Afterward, they take a one to two-week vacation to decompress. During this vacation time, there is no talk of work, there are no e-mails that need a reply; there is only free time with friends and family.
Others, on the other hand, prefer a more day-to-day balance. These people will focus their entire being on work-related issues while at the job, but once out the door, that focus shifts entirely on family, self, and other personal matters. This style, however, should be aided by the company by not requesting regular overtime. Others still, find balance in their hobbies or other interests. Be it for several hours a day and/or the entire weekend, this group will go hiking or work on their hobby, either before or after work.
In short, a work-life balance is achieved by first making a firm distinction between the two. This, in turn, will facilitate anyone, regardless of preferences or lifestyle, to give 100% to both when it’s required and not allow work and personal life to mix, creating the dreaded imbalance in the process.