Work-Life Balance; Water and Oil?

My idea of a perfect day is to be up at 4:30 am. This is followed by me observing my miracle morning which includes activities like journaling, meditation, and a hundred skips which hand me a trophy made with beads of sweat.

Then I get to sit in my remote workspace and put in eight hours of undistracted work. Have a decent three-square meal at appropriate times and spend the evening with a good book or with family. What could be more perfect?

It’s highly likely that our ideal day would be worlds apart from reality, but the dream remains the same.

A perfect day is a rare occurrence; you know it just as well as I do. Your many attempts at a perfect day have been punctured by adult responsibilities, engagements, overtime drive at work, and a zillion things that only you know.

You have probably missed countless appointments and canceled on some commitments to stay sane or meet a deadline for work. This attempt at perfection and balance has been on for months and years. Surely, you must have realized that trying to schedule an equal number of hours for work and personal activities is driving full speed to insanity.

The effect of the current global pandemic on work is full proof that a work-life balance in this sense is an illusion. Working hours have spiked, taking up the week and spilling into the weekend. In the light of this, work and life must no longer be seen as oil and water, even if it is, it’s the kind that must mix.

Work and life are inherently intertwined, there is no perfect scale for the perfect balance and if you can’t separate work and life, you shouldn’t balance them, but you try to. Here’s what you need to do. You need to approach balance in a balanced way. You cannot separate your work from your life. What if you accepted that everything is interconnected? When you sift your view to a wholistic sense, you get transformative results’.

Ideally, the responsibility of work-life balance should be a joint responsibility of both the employees and the employers. Unfortunately, commercial companies are inherently designed to get as much from you as they can get away with, it’s in their nature and structure and it can be fixed.

The role of the human resource manager is to put organizational and managerial expectations and policies to ensure that the line manager works under favorable conditions. By ensuring a strict timeline on the close of business for the day, flexibility for an emergency, paid leave, company-sponsored family events, instituting policies, and procedures that enables a work-life balance a host of other measures. Despite the measures in place, the plaque remains.

A few weeks back, instagram was flooded with monochrome pictures with the hashtag “women supporting women”. We can tag a week and the weeks following, ‘colleague supporting colleague” if we so choose because the work-life balance boils down to relationships. The responsibility of the line manager in fostering work-life balance for colleagues and subordinates is therefore glaring as it is critical.

To make the work-balance work, the human resource manager must ensure that the policies and measures in place are working effectively by creating a system that works. This is as practical as exploring the possibility of staff working remotely in recent events such as the closure of the third mainland bridge, this would save hours of commuting that could foster the work-life balance.

Also, a clear-cut delegation as well as feasible timelines for projects would enhance a work-life balance would between line managers and right down to subordinates. This coupled with an objective performance feedback system, support, communication, and understanding from every party is the right cocktail mix for the fix.

Finally, it is up to you as an individual to take control and responsibility for the type of life that you want to lead. If you don’t design your life, someone else will and you may not like their idea of balance.

The little things matter in being balanced and that doesn’t mean dramatic upheaval in your lifestyle. Remember, you can’t do it all in one day, you have to elongate the time frame by which we judge the balance in our life without falling into the trap of procrastinating your entire life.

“In essence, when we are free to not be perfect, we are where we can make choices that will lead us to positive momentum, we are empowered to take so much more control for our lives to live more purposefully.” -Michael Walters

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