Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Work / Life Balance

Work life and personal life are the two sides of the same coin. According to various work /life balance surveys, more than 60% of the respondent professionals surveyed said that are not able to find a balance between their personal and professional lives. They have to make tough choices even when their work and personal life is nowhere close to equilibrium. Traditionally creating and managing a balance between the work-life was considered to be a woman's issue. But increasing work pressures, globalization and technological advancement have made it an issue with both the sexes, all professionals working across all levels and all industries throughout the world. Achieving "work-life balance" is not as simple as it sounds.

Work life and personal life are inter-connected and interdependent. Spending more time in office, dealing with clients and the pressures of job can interfere and affect the personal life, sometimes making it impossible to even complete the household chores. On the other hand, personal life can also be demanding if you have a kid or aging parents, financial problems or even problems in the life of a dear relative. It can lead to absenteeism from work, creating stress and lack of concentration at work.

Work-personal life conflict occurs when the burden, obligations and responsibilities of work and family roles become incompatible. Obligation of one can force an individual to neglect the other.

Changing & increasing work pressures
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. But with globalization and people working across countries, the 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. Now professionals find themselves working even when they are on vacations.

The ever-increasing working hours leave the individuals with less time for themselves and to pursue his hobbies or leisure activities. This hinders the growth of the person as an individual in terms of his personal and spiritual growth. Professionals working in the BPO industry, doctors and nurses and especially IT professionals are the few examples who are facing the brunt of the hazard constantly.

Reasons of imbalance:
There are various reasons for this imbalance and conflicts in the life of an employee. From individual career ambitions to pressure to cope up with family or work, the reasons can be situation and individual specific. The speed of advancement of information technology, the increasing competition in the talent supply market has led to a "performance-driven" culture creating pressures and expectations to performance more and better every time. Also, many a times, many people find it difficult to say "NO" to others especially their superiors. They usually end up over burdening themselves with work. The increasing responsibilities on the personal front with age can also create stress on personal and professional fronts.

Constant struggle and effort to maintain a balance between the work and personal life can have serious implications on the life of an individual. According to a survey, 81 per cent of the respondents 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 to that such situation can take a toll on the person's health both physiologically and psychologically. Heart ailments, cardiovascular problems, sleep disorders, depression, irritability, jumpiness, insecurity, poor concentration and even nervous breakdowns are becoming common among the victims of such imbalance. Pressure, stress or tension in work life can lead to bad social life and vice versa.

Many experts have given different solutions to this problem.
  • TIME MANAGEMENT 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 purposes.
  • Taking some time out for hobbies and leisure activities, spending time with loved ones can help to beat the stress.
  • Learn to say "no" if required.
  • Sharing the responsibilities will help and don't commit for something which is practically impossible.
  • Utilizing the flexible working hours option of the organisations to get some free time.

Juggling between the obligations towards the families and expectations of the organisation and constant struggle to maintain a balance can work can have serious implications on the life of an individual. 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.

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