First of all, what does work-life balance mean? Why are we talking about this a lot lately?
The 24 X 7 connectivity is one of the culprits that has prompted me to dwell a little more on this topic. I believe that people are not able to prioritize their tasks and complete them during their productive hours in the office.
So even after they leave the office to take care of their personal lives, they still remain connected to the technology and answer calls and attend meetings and disrupt their personal lives.
Why do we stay connected 24 X 7? We do it simply because we like the self-importance and we grow addicted to it.
Companies know this and they leverage it. By providing flexible work conditions, by allowing people to work and conference from home, by buying them smartphones and notebook computers, they’re trading one for the other – more of your time and attention when you’re not at work.
Late night working is a trend set in the IT industry. All the employees now in the high tech industry are imitators of this policy.
Officially we are supposed to work for only 8 hrs which includes a break time of about 30 mins. But the work culture in our country is that we are in the office close to 12 hrs every day with long breaks in-between. With this culture being followed, one can never achieve a work-life balance as we are spending 50% of our day at work.
Work should be a part of our Life and Work should not be our Life.
How is this long working hours trend affecting women employees?
The entry of women in the software services sector is rapidly growing. As women take the role of working professionals along with their role of homemaker, they are under great pressure to balance their personal and professional lives.
They will need both the family support and workplace support to balance their work and family. This vicious circle of long working hours will affect women who strive hard and put in lesser but the required smart productive hours to complete the tasks.
Women or employee of any gender for that matter who do not work more than the required 8 hours per day are termed as unfit to work in the high tech industry.
This mindset and work culture should change. We need smart workers and not hard workers to grow our organization.
All this said, how are we going to achieve this?
In modern day society, we see nuclear families with both parents as working professionals.
Organizations should offer a wide range of work-family benefits and programs to their employees, such as job sharing, telecommuting, job-protected parental leave, part-time return to work options, flexitime, shorter standard work weeks, improvement in job conditions, on-site childcare, support groups for working parents, sports facilities, day-care facilities, etc.
Employees must be encouraged to work the standard 8 hours and not be rewarded for keeping the seats warm for a longer time. Employees putting in long hours should be identified and care should be taken to provide them with adequate options to maintain a good work-life balance. Slowly, the lifestyle prioritization of individuals would change and eventually, we can excel in our career graph and still achieve a work-life balance.
What do you think? Is it only important for women or do male folks need to adopt the strategies that best suit them to achieve the perfect personal and professional life balance? Share your thoughts on the comments section below.