In a world as competitive and as fast-paced as ours, we often fail to realize the importance of taking a step back and reflect how we are managing or rather balancing certain aspects of our life.
Thus, Work-Life Balance, as a term, is rapidly gaining leverage in the corporate world and is often seen by HR teams as one of the cores of company welfare and employee development.
Now, let us dwell on this mouth-full of a word and see what work-life balance is and how employees are affected by it.
“Work-life balance is the individual perception that work and non-work activities are compatible and promote growth in accordance with an individual’s current life priorities.” - Kalliath and Brough
Work-Life Balance: A review of the meaning of the balance construct (JUL 2008)
Several studies on occupational health, indicate that better the work-life balance, the better employee productivity, organizational commitment, and family satisfaction. Here, we need to concur that work-life balance doesn’t mean trying to allocate equal hours for all the tasks in a day, but it is all about striking the right amount of time, or balance if you may say, between your activities.
Studies have also shown how work-life balance can keep anxiety, stress, depression, and burnout at bay, which if you have seen the newspapers in the past six months is quite a welcome change. The figures in India, however, are surprising to say at least. According to an article published in the Economic Times, 60% of working Indians rate their work-life balance from average to terrible. 11% even reported a negative attitude towards work-life balance by supervisors despite company policy. Statistically, it is only downhill for India. According to Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2018, all the Indian metropolitans score less than 40% in people index, which in layman’s terms connote work-life balance, affordability, and income equality, among others.
It is evident that employees in companies with intense pressure and work hours, usually are tired, less-social, and less-productive.
No wonder that Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook once said,
“There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life and there’s no balance.”
This immensely narrated the lack of work-life balance and how certain measures and initiatives need to be undertaken by HR teams to build work-life balance.
The question, however, is, how can HR teams build an ideal work-life balance thus maintaining the efficacy as well as boosting employee morale. This conjunction is especially important in the times of pandemic where employees are working from home or as I like to call it, living at work.
To comprehend why work-life balance has garnered popularity in the past decade, we need to realize that that the boomer generation had a non-existent emphasis on work-life balance but the millennials who are currently engaged in the workforce are bent on the idea of striking a balance between all the parts of their lives, thus, emphasizing the need of a flexible workplace which brings us to our first strategy.
- Flexi-Time: While promoting flexibility seems obvious if there is one strategy that is always effective is Flexi-Time which suggests allowing employees to schedule and alter their work hours flexibly.
- Periodic Workload Review: This strategy is inclined towards managers. An effective review of workload should be established to ensure equal and fair distribution of the tasks. A convenient way for this procedure is to ask the employees. Most corporates refrain from surveying the employees but in a bid to improve work-life balance, it is only reasonable to ask the employees and trying to tailor it according to their needs.
- Promoting Mandatory Down-Time: This is an increasingly growing strategy especially in the technology sector where HR teams ensure to get employees turn off their systems to pause, take a break and socialize. This has proven to enhance productivity and morale while increasing further engagement. Even in the Covid-19 pandemic, a unicorn startup, Oyo, has ensured absolutely no work calls and emails to any employees on the weekends thus promoting or rather enforcing a down-time.
- Home Offices & Training: This strategy is exclusive for the teams working remotely or as popularly called working from home, which due to the disruptive Covid-19 pandemic is the norm now. A large chunk of professionals are facing infrastructural, work stress and communication issues. The primary reason for it can be understood as the lack of training and experience in working, operating, and managing work from home. Thus, simply training the employees will facilitate working efficiently. Working from home brings its own challenges like tracking employee attendance. Runtime HRMS’s remote attendance feature comes handy in such cases. Using Runtime Workman mobile application, employees can mark attendance from home with in/out time. Remote attendance can be enabled selectively for those employees who are actually working from home.
Moreover, work-life balance will gain massive traction in the forthcoming decade and thus adapting to the changes and needs of such culture is not only a choice but a necessity to promote a healthy workplace and healthy employees.