Do you think achieving a perfect work-life balance is a pipe dream?
In the last two decades, there have been many changes in our workplaces as well as in our personal life. Initially, people believed that only married people struggled to manage their job and family as they also had to look after their home responsibilities. However in the current scenario, be it a married or unmarried, with kids or no kids, each and every individual in today’s world struggle to balance her/his work with their personal life needs. This struggle was also noticed by the organizations, that led to an acknowledgment of having work-life balance policies in the workplace. The terminology “work-life balance” is nothing but the maintenance of a balance between responsibilities at work and at home.
Work-life programs are a trend in corporates now. A lot of research and literature review have been done on the concept of work-life balance. The prolonged boasting of this concept has indirectly portrayed Work-Life Balance as the pursuit of ultimate career growth. A recent study conducted by Monster.com stated that about 60% of Indian working professionals rated their current work-life-balance as “average to terrible”. Sadly, only 22% of Indian working professionals define their work-life balance by taking time off regularly. This may be because many of the professionals may not be aware that small actions such as taking time off can contribute to work-life balance.
Almost every other organization try their best to compete with other organizations by keeping up with various policies that are in trend. Whereas in case of us as social animals, we try to compare ourselves with others. Most of us try to take the literate meaning of work-life balance, expecting a perfect balance between work and life. For instance, some individuals would struggle to keep up with one hobby while managing work whereas some individuals would somehow seem to manage multiple hobbies. Similarly, we see some people who perceive their life as utter chaos, while we may also encounter some people who seem to have it all together, including the so-called “work-life balance”. If you ask these people their mantra, they will tell you they haven’t figured it all either. So, to answer the earlier question, it’s not really a pipe dream.
Does that indicate that a lot of people have misconceptions about the term “Work-Life Balance”?
We believe that people have actually not understood the term work-life balance. It is usually assumed that work is always dull and life is all about fun. It indirectly creates a division between work and life. However, in reality, both work and life are important components of our lives.
This misconception of ‘work being dull and life being full of fun’ gives false expectations to the employees, by letting them think that work is always uninteresting, but still expect good monetary benefit. Such an attitude hampers employee productivity and gives them a pathway to excuse the work. Many such other misconceptions have been raised due to people’s unrealistic expectations from their organization.
So, then how do we approach this realistic work-life balance? We have some suggestions.
Many of us aim at being a successful person at the earliest. To achieve the same, there will be times where the individuals will need to work more than usual or take some more time off. In such a scenario, people will surely experience the absence of ‘work-life balance’ to achieve higher goals in life. But at the same time, they shall also enjoy their investment of time and efforts. And, that’s completely fine. It doesn’t indicate that these individuals are failing to attain Work-Life Balance.
We need to understand that our main aim is to live a well- rounded and an integrated life to achieve a more realistic balance. However, achieving this realistic work-life balance is only possible if you:
- Set boundaries for yourselves, while you are working and not working. Prioritizing your work or life-needs efficiently may save you a lot of time, thereby being the biggest contributor to work-life balance. If you make deliberate choices about what you want from your professional as well as personal life and how you want to spend your time, can help you to lead a mentally healthy life.
- Keep your mind present at work, while you are at work. Even though with having either strict work hour policies or flexible work hours, as long as you focus on your current environment, work productivity won’t get hampered. It is all about the thought process in terms of how you think about the time you spend in the office and outside the workplace.
- Pursue any hobby that you love on a regular basis. Because, if you do not have any hobbies, it becomes obvious that you will dedicate your time to work. Similarly, don’t spend time in the activities that are in trend, rather put efforts in the activities that you really love.
Hence, don’t let the term work-life balance define your life but your actions. Ultimately, it is on you how to smartly integrate your work and life at different levels. Additionally, even though there are various work-life balance policies, they won’t work unless and until you make it applicable in your own way.
Remember “No one is too busy in the world, it’s all about priorities.”
-Chaitali Joshi (Team PMaps)