Achieving a balanced life
From birth to death, people have to play different roles which can be
Generally divided into two categories, role in the family and role at
In the struggle to find success, people have to find a balance
between the two roles. The balance between work and life is the real
success that one can achieve in this world.
Employees whose life does not clash with work can actively contribute
to the organisation. Maximum productivity can be obtained from
employees, when they lead a balanced life.
We live in a world where there is an unprecedented rise in
competition and unpredictability. Due to which, management thinkers
began discussing about the ways in which work-life balance could be
People are paid for working. People cannot live without working, as
they need money to fulfill basic needs. It means that work and family
can never be separated by a single line. In other words, work and life
is an inter-related concept.
Life is the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from
inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction,
functional activity and continual change preceding death.
Work is defined as an activity involving mental or physical effort to
achieve a result. Balance is a situation in which different elements are
equal or in the correct proportions.
Accordingly, work-life balance can be defined as a person's ability
to meet work and family commitments, and other non-work responsibilities
and activities. As work-life balance has an impact on organisational
performance, it is up to the employers to bring work-life balance
practices to the organisation.
Imbalance results in stress and anxiety in the minds of employees.
Those who experience imbalance, exhibit lower levels of job satisfaction
and organisational commitment, leading to higher absenteeism.
When employees struggle with imbalance, they project a bad image of
the organisation. Then it is difficult for the particular business to
recruit the best professionals. Organisations need a qualitative
workforce, not a quantitative workforce.
A large number of employees working in the organisation means wages,
perks and privileges, while the quality of employees brings values and
profits to the organisation. Hence, it is up to employers to find ways
in which the quality of employees can be improved. In doing so,
employers have to identify some strategies which makes life balanced.
Even though HR strategies can vary from organisation to organisation,
there are some common pitfalls in the organisational structure. When
employees are assigned with heaps of work to be done within a short
period, their creativity is at stake.
Work-life imbalance is a problem with which almost every employee
suffers from regardless of the position they hold and salary they
receive. Business organisations need creative strategies, not mere
plans, while at the same time, many employees struggle to keep their
work and life balanced.
Hence, employers have to identify how serious the repercussions of
work-life imbalance is.
Impact on gender
The group that suffers the most from this imbalance is the female
working community. Their plight has gone from bad to worse, as they are
forced to leave the organisation as an alternative to achieving the
We hardly see any female senior managers and are more unlikely to see
female CEOs in Sri Lankan business organistions.
Their inability to keep the office life separate from family life is
responsible for this injustice. Due to this, most organisations have
been unable to fully use the knowledge and skills that female
Flexible policies have to be drafted to accommodate women in
organisations. Money spent on training employees including female
employees becomes useless, when they leave the job, due to personal
reasons. This can be seen in the apparel sector. If work does not come
into conflict with family life, women can continue in their jobs.
Work-life balance can resolve many HR-related issues. If senior
managers introduce work-life balance practices which makes a real change
in the organisational culture, employees can work more efficiently and
When an employee is not under stress, he can deliver better service
to customers. The loyalty of employees to the organisation is also
strengthened. An employee with a balanced life style is a blessing to
If seniors brush aside the importance of work-life balance, it may
open a can of worms. Surveys have found that employees spend time in
office shopping online, planning holidays or emailing friends.
This will make operations unproductive and uncompetitive. Therefore,
it can be said that every employee has a right to lead a balanced life.
The writer holds a BA in Economics from the University of Colombo.