Work life balance is about how effectively a person adjusts his day to day activities in order to achieve a sense of balance between his work life and personal life. In today’s world, every work is demanding and work pressures are on the increase and you are expected to give your best and complete your tasks, perhaps by working beyond the scheduled hours. No doubt, it’sadmirable that you excel in your career. But when it drains on your personal life it can affect your mental and physical well-being. The fact is that the lack of balance between the work and personal life not only affects the employee but the organization as well. Employee stress can increase to the level of exhaustion resulting in lower productivity of work, and reduced job satisfaction.
Work-life balance is a concept that supports the efforts of employees to split their time and energy between work and the other important aspects of their lives. Work-life balance is a daily effort to make time for family, friends, community participation, spirituality, personal growth, self-care, and other personal activities, in addition to the demands of the workplace.
The phrase ‘work-life balance’ is rather more recent in origin. It was probably first used in the UK in the late 1970s, and in the US in the mid-1980s. It has, however, taken on a new meaning with the recent technological changes that have made it possible for workers to stay in touch 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Smart phones, remote working technology and the like have meant that, even on holiday, people find it hard to ‘switch off’ and genuinely rest, and the complaint is often that people are expected to be ‘on-call’ at all times, without being allowed to have a life outside work.
Work-life balance is assisted by employers who institute policies, procedures, actions, and expectations that enable employees to easily pursue more balanced lives.Many of the organisations are becoming alive to the vital issue of work life balance and they have started adopting various ways for encouraging a healthy work life balance for their employees. Many organisations have also integrated work life balance into their HR policy. Let us have a quick look at how organisations address this highly relevant issue.
Allowing flexible working options
Many employers offer their employees flexible working options to help them design their working pattern that better fits their personal commitments. Flexible working options include allowing employees to work from home, as more and more companies are becoming technologically advanced. In the present digital era, employees can work from almost every location with the use of their laptops and smart phones or tablets and also could access their work related emails. Apart from that, flexible working options further include compressed working hours and job sharing.
Allowing unpaid time off for contingent events
Leavesthat come under the leave policy of an organization are paid ones. But many a time, situations like family emergencies or inevitable social obligations warrantemployees to take unanticipated leave.There areorganisationswho have the practice of allowing unpaid leave to employees for meeting such contingencies.
Developing a culture of collaboration
Even though we feel proud about our self in the work, the fact is that we will not be able to do everything on our own. When you see that one of your colleagues is struggling, it is but natural for you to offer to take some work off his plate, even if you have still got something to do.Your colleagues will undoubtedly notice your kind gestures and chances are they will return the favor, taking work off your plate sometime in the future. Just because collaboration is routine does not mean it should go unnoticed. Showing gratitude when your coworkers help on a project is what is required. Many employers encourage this collaborative culture among their employees in sharing of work to reduce the stress of colleagues.
Asking employees for guidance
Some employers try consulting their employees about what changes around the workplace might help them if they feel that employees are failing to maintain the balance in their work life.These employers try to measure employee satisfaction with regular meetings either as one on one interaction or group discussion, anonymous surveys and employee engagement at different levels.
Encouraging short breaks
It is necessary for employees to take frequent breaks throughout the day rather than sitting still and staring at screen for straight 8 to 9 hours, as there exist a number of health issues associated with it. Organisations have started allowing regular breaks at work to make employees more focused and productive and less burnt out. Moreover, millennial employees embrace mobility at workplace in order to de-stress and heal themselves back to normalcy.
Company sponsored activities and events
The objective of those employers which organize activities like picnics, entertainment programmes, periodic family meets, sports meets, community programmes etc. is nothing but facilitating improvement of the work life balance among the employees, as they are well aware that such initiatives will be advantageous to the employees as well as to themselves by augmenting the feel good factor and employee productivity.
Reliable working environment
Maintaining a structural consistency has been proven time and time, that lets the employees know what to expect at workplace on day to day basis. It makes the workplace more reliable as it can reduce the stress that employees feel at home, and will also help them to streamline their activities in a better way.
Work-Life Balance does not mean an equal balance. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is and should be more fluid than that.
Your best individual work-life balance will vary over time, often on a daily basis. The right balance for you today will probably be different for you tomorrow. The right balance for you when you are single will be different when you marry, or if you have children; when you start a new career versus when you are nearing retirement.
There is no perfect, one-size fits all, balance you should be striving for. The best work-life balance is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives.
The pursuit of work-life balance reduces the stress employees experience. When they spend the majority of their days on work-related activities and feel as if they are neglecting the other important components of their lives, stress and unhappiness result. An employee who doesn't make time for self-care eventually damages their output and productivity.
Work-life balance enables employees to feel as if they are paying attention to all of the important aspects of their lives. It occurs when employees experience the flexibility of a workplace that allows them to pursue all components of a healthy life.
Balanced employees tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work. Employees with positive work life balance are able to do better job at work that subsequently increases individual as well as organizational productivity. Organizations that offer employee friendly policies and flexible working environmentare able to attract and retaina huge base of talented manpower while creating happy employees.