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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 the workplace.

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 achieved.

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.

Repercussions

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 work-life balance.

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 professionals hold.

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.

Gains

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 productively.

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 the business.

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.

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