The concept of work life balance

Gone are the days when employers would scorn at the concept of work life balance. However experts point out that there are several employees, despite innovative efforts made by organizations, who find the task of striking a chord between work and personal commitments quite excruciating. The need therefore is to understand that without work life balance, your best laid plans ought to go wrong. After all you cannot conduct a flawless business presentation if you haven’t slept for three days.

Are you working towards a client presentation when you know your child needs help with his studies? Your wedding anniversary tonight but you have a business dinner to attend? You made a spa appointment after a long time, but then there is a critical situation you need to address at work, that too on a Sunday? In one’s corporate life, we have all encountered situations like the above when we were compelled to make a choice. Though we do end up making one, the process towards prioritizing responsibilities is not easy. And this brings to light the biggest issue that most employees face on a regular basis: work life balance. Work life balance remains the buzzword in the corporate parlance and it is a well acknowledged fact that having a good work life balance is essential for the well being of an organization and its employees as it is crucial for employee engagement and productivity. But with the advancement of technology and changing workplace dynamics, the line between one’s work and personal life is narrowing rapidly thus making the struggle striking the right chord between office duties and familial commitments a day to day affair for many people.

Many a times, it so happens that concentrating on one affects the other. Considering this predicament of their employees, many organizations have introduced several policies to help their employees balance their professional and personal lives. Initiatives like flexi-working hours, telecommuting, paid leaves, work from hoe etc help towards achieving just that. But experts opine that more that employees understand the significance of work life balance and actively work towards pursuing it.

Work life balance is a growing concern in India Inc and experts say that a constant struggle to balance both will have serious implications on the health of an employee. Giving enough time for professional and personal chores and keeping both separate is of utmost importance. But how can one do this? Proper planning and prioritization so as to improve time management could help strike a fin work life balance. Delegating work, spending at least an hour a day on things one enjoys doing, reducing usage of cell phones and Internet, keeping a log of activities you indulge in and analyzing them periodically to improve utilization etc are a few things a person can do on his / her own. An individual has to make an effort to ensure that he / she does not take work home and vice-versa. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also important. It not only means eight hours of sleep but also 15-20 minutes of daily, non-rigorous exercise. This helps maintain high energy levels and de-stresses people after a long day’s work. Giving time to self is the key s it helps to reconnect with your own thoughts. Individuals should use any opportunity they get to switch off their mobile phones and spend quality time with themselves..

You can adopt to ensure a good work life balance: 1) time management : start on time and leave on time and leave on time and do not carry work home; this trend is slowly turning out to be norm among professionals these days. Find support from someone (a cook, good day care facility, housekeeping service a driver etc) who can run errands for you, particularly women 2) eat well: do not skip meals good food and sound sleep are important as they give you the much needed energy to shoulder various responsibilities and 3) take short breaks: when needed take a break from work: you cold opt for a short vacation or even spend quality time with your friends / family. However time it well so that it does not stress you, when you return.

An employee’s personal and personal and professional lives are just like the two sides of the same coin. And compromising one for the other or spending more time pursuing one as opposed to the other, can have serious negative repercussions. The key therefore is work life balance. And there are more ways than one through which you can achieve just that.

Striking a chord between work commitments and personal priorities is no cakewalk. However, there are ways through which you could master this art:

Be organized: Try to manage you day instead of letting the day manage you. Set realistic timelines and stick to the timetable.

Delegate better: Develop social and professional support systems or back ups.

Don’t be a slave: Technology has made it a lot easier to access email or answer work calls, when not within the confines of your workplace. There is always a tendency to carry work home especially when you are working towards cut throat deadlines. Unless completely unavoidable it’s advisable you switch of when at home.

Know your weaknesses and strengths: An open conversation with your boss may help. Explain your priorities to him/her in detail and if needed, request for support or training exercises that can make you more efficient and help hone your multi-tasking skills.

Set boundaries and learn to say no, when required: Being a good employee, spouse, parent or friend doesn’t mean giving in to their unrealistic demands. It is acceptable to be selfish towards fulfilling your own interests; do not compromise on your time.