You can wear my glasses if you need to see distinctly. Does this statement have any practicality? Or does it even work? Also, hold on, why are we saying this? How does this have to do with our blog titled “Why is it important to have a work-life balance?”
We brought this up because work-life balance can also be seen under the same lens. This means the definition is not distinct, and it varies for different individuals. But here, we have attempted to not exactly define but present an overview of how it gets perceived. We will also try to explore the need for what employers can do at their front. And secondly, how can you define your right balance?
The discussion is also important to address now because of occurrences of work burnout, rise in fatigue, and stress levels. At the same time, physical diseases have also turned out to be rampant. Say hypertension, chronic heart diseases, aches, and irritable bowel. And much more comes from a highly stressful work atmosphere. Continued stress can lead to severe depression, insomnia, anxiety, and the list can go on. Here’s also how work-related anxiety impacts our performance.
In this blog, we attempted to embrace the most commonly used phrase and tried to reason with it. Before we proceed into the subject completely, let’s look at all we will have here.
- Defining work-life balance
- Reasons why work-life balance is the need
- How can employers shape work-life balance?
- What can you do about it?
Defining work-life balance
Did you know millennials will be 75% of the workforce by 2025? Yes, that’s happening. And with changing generations. Employers are finding it difficult to define this for them. But why is that happening?
During our research, we found out something. That is, how different generations of the workforce saw this in a different light.
To elaborate, we found out:
For boomers (typically from 1945-1960)
Growing up in the era of war and hardships, they were more than eager for financial stability. And they clasped into anything that assured them of a decent living. Work, therefore, became the primary objective. Thus, work-life balance as a concept wasn’t something they looked forward to.
Currently, they are seated at the top-most managerial positions. But report higher to moderate stress.
For generation X (From 1961-1980)
They grew up with the burnout effects of their family members. And hence are firm believers in maintaining a life out of work. With them, the concept of work-life balance started resonating. They value family time more, be it vacations or paternity leaves. They are the ones invested in this ideal.
For Millenials (From 1981-1996)
The kids of generation X. They have been thought of as a generation that takes work secondary. But born with the surging costs of education and housing, they are the most financially burdened generation.
Thus work for them is a crucial part of life. For them, work-life balance is more focused on what will be their life outside of work.
Thus, HR practitioners have the toughest tasks today to satiate these sets of generations. While work-life balance remains a volatile subject. Meaning different things to each. Hence pinpointing an exact definition is difficult.
Bottom line, when we look at work-life balance, it is not a see-saw based time managing aspect. But more associated with the feeling of content. Where individuals feel satisfied with their decisions towards life and work.
In addition, trying to provide this to them will also lead to a productivity increase and boost employee retention for growth.
Moving on, we need to look at why it is now necessary.
Reasons why work-life is the need
- It will lead to reduced amounts of stress. Stress has the potential to dig out your grave and turn fatal. Thus, deciding on your boundaries (which means saying ‘no’ when you aren’t able to perform) becomes very important.
- It gives your mental health a boost by providing the needed mental space. This will let your subconscious thoughts come up well. And in return, ease your decision-making ability.
- Have you heard of endorphins? These hormones are secreted when you walk around in the open. So take that much-needed break. Because the secretion will induce positive thinking and better functionality.
- The balance leads you to a more present attitude, both at home and at work. You are not lost in the process.
- Your engagement at work sees a significant improvement. And you focus and perform better at the given task.
- Your professional and personal relationships improve well.
- Your creative thinking boosts up with mental spacing.
- With the right balance, you will feel happier and fulfilled. A feeling that can be a stepping stone for a brighter future.
- All this will then contribute collectively to your success. People think that creating a balance might hamper that growth. But why would it? If you engage better, perform better, and have been consistently productive, success will be inevitable.
The list can go on. But this is for your introspection and understanding of the importance of work-life balance today.
How can employers shape work-life balance
In the whole narrative, the employers have a fair share of say in crafting that balance. Here’s looking at things they can bring in or contribute to ensuring work-life balance.
Focusing on paid-offs
Rolling out policies where, if your employees earn the leave hours per specified work hours, they become entitled to take a week-long or a shorter break duration. This is necessary as they feel more responsible for delivering their tasks. The time-off helps them return charged and better. Since there is no fear of loss of pay, they relish these time-offs more.
As an employer, this assurance from your end can help them.
Short breaks throughout the day
A 15-minute break that doesn’t sound like extra time at work and a pay cut. This will boost their morale while working.
Because, let’s face it, we are not meant to work at a stretch without a break. If the breaks add to their work hours, they will not take them. Leading to much more stress and fatigue. So don’t make breaks arduous for them.
Suggest what you practice yourself
If you say that you take time-offs post-work seriously. Then stick to it. No late-night calls or weekend emails should be shared with your employees in that case. They need to relax and gain momentum before they start working again. Value their time and space too.
Ask them their feedback
When you roll out your policies, consider your employee feedback. If it’s for them, their words should be given the due leverage. A policy’s success lies in its determinant’s contentment. And here, your determinant is your employee base.
Look out for the hybrid model
Even before the pandemic, employers were rolling out the WFH setup. The pandemic just fast-tracked that. And since people have now relished the benefits. It will be difficult to convert them back to a full-time office mode. Therefore, as an employer creating a hybrid plan that suits both the parties is essential here. Some reasons to look forward to it by people include
What can you do for it (as an employee)
The definition of work-life balance, as we saw, varies from person to person. Thus, it becomes important to define yours first while seeking it elsewhere. In this section of our blog, we have attempted to suggest a few ways to help you shape a work-life balance for yourself.
Where you right now need to be thought over. Think of all the factors that are stressing you. Making you feel dissatisfied. Self-introspection is a must-have. First off, think, pause, and then reflect. Ask questions: why are you not performing in the current setup? What is it that you are looking out to deliver? And so and so forth. For better documentation, jot them down and answer for yourself. Make yourself aware of the present situation.
Note your emotions
The emotional state of well-being is critical too. If you have undermined it for a long and suppressed it. Then the effects would bounce back at you and leave you disturbed. Note “the how I feel.”
Does it make you irritable, hurt, or angry? An emotionally sound mind is a much-needed precursor for chalking out your work-life balance. So make sure you value this.
Relook at your priorities
Look for what you need and what you want. Define your priorities. How can you manage with or without certain things? The strongest point of self-introspection comes here. This is where you will outline a major chunk of your “ideal work-life balance.”
Think of your alternate plans
For every decision you take, you always plan out the alternatives. So think of the work-life alternatives too. What is it you can compromise? What is it that you absolutely cannot proceed without? Are the alternate plans aligning with your priorities?
Execute the plan
Once you have listed according to the directives, draft your plan. Draft the requirements for your balance. Because what you want is only upto you. So create one that suits you the best. And by that, you will be on your way to negotiating your next work-life balance discussion.
With this, we have reached an end to our blog. We hope the reasons and ways align with your thoughts well and help shape your work-life balance definition.
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