‘Work-life balance is not a need or a priority of life; it itself is life.’
The pressure of work culture somehow is interfering with the peace of our life and results in poor mental health.
The prior need of the hour is to maintain work-life balance but the term work-life balance does not stand for splitting our time 50/50 and contributing to work with life aspects. Undoubtedly, work and life are two different aspects of priorities. Still, these are integrated as well as interact.
The quality of our personal and professional life affects our work and at the same time, the nature and quality of our work have a definite effect on our life. Nowadays, we have complex phenomena, everyone is too engaged in life, therefore, it has become too difficult to maintain balance. A healthy balance stands for devoting sufficient and quality time to family, friends, society, work, and above all to self. One must forget conflict to have a happy and healthy life.
Work-life balance is the amalgamation of three different words i.e. work, life, and balance. The word work is related to workplace, career, duties, and obligations, ambition, work skills, knowledge, and activity done to accomplish a goal. Life is associated with personal life, social life, family life which are further related to health, joy, many responsibilities, and so on. The third-word balance means giving equal importance to different things to achieve coordination. Work-life balance is a broad concept that demands an ideal situation in which an employee can split his/her time and energy between work and other important aspects of their lives.
Five States of Balance/Imbalance
There are five states of balance/imbalance which affect work-life balance. In other words, the level of a person’s work-life balance depends on the level of these five states.
The word ‘subsistence’ means livelihood. People are always engaged in earning and arranging resources for their livelihood. An easy and comfortable subsistence of a person may increase the level of his work-life balance, whereas the contrary situations are accountable for low level of work-life balance because the minimum income is always needed for subsistence.
Conflict is a kind of state when a person is unable to manage his different dimensions, of life and cannot decide to which dimension he should give importance.
Integration is the act or process of making whole or entire. Integration is like enrichment where an individual achieved a satisfactory level in performing his multiple roles in different spheres of life. When a person consider his different dimensions of life as a whole, seems to achieve integration. This integration assists in increasing work-life balance.
Idleness is liable for low level of work-life balance when an individual is doing nothing due to his personal or other reasons (such as ill-health, disease, unemployment etc.) is a state of idleness. Idleness makes a person both passive and incautious.
Hedonism is a state where a person devotes his time to his personal life, leisure and joy. Here, he forgets about his stress and conflicts, obligations and duties and engages in non-work activities.
Why – Work-Life Balance?
A balanced life means a lot for everyone. We are always engaged in managing activities of our work life and many other domains of our life. A person having great bank balance does not mean that he has balanced life or a person who always spend his/her time at home also can’t be considered as balanced. Instead one who tries to fulfill his/her works demands as well as give sufficient time to his/her family can be said to have work-life balance.
Work-life balance gives a kind of satisfaction and makes one realize that an individual is living an ideal life. It is difficult task to explain the importance and need of work-life balance for a person because the true meaning of work-life balance varies and changes according to different persons. For one person balanced life means to have contentment and happiness but for another, it is to have a good career and honor.
Generally, a moderate or high level of work-life balance proves to be helpful in the following ways:
- The balance in work and life spheres is essential to lead a contended and peaceful life. The person with a low level of work-life balance can always be seen as struggling and due to this, his life becomes directionless.
- A balance in work and life provides satisfaction in performing multiple roles. Work-life balance is a kind of insurance for happiness. It reduces stress, strain, and conflicts which a person has to accost.
- This balance helps an individual to manage his resources and time and enables him to lead an ideal life.
- For career and personal development work-life balance plays a key role. A good balance motivates a person to grow and develop emotionally, intellectually, morally, and socially. He always tries to intensify the level of his skills and talents.
- A person with a poor work-life balance endures many psychological and physiological problems. These problems are directly or indirectly associated with poor well-being. As a result, headaches, high or low blood pressure, tension, stress, strain etc. occurs frequently. It is only work-life balance that can reduce or remove all these problems. Due to balanced life, a person can dedicate his time to self-care.
- A person with a high work-life balance can devote his time to his self-life and this will enable him to know about himself and to make a quest for his identity. He may realize the goal accomplishment.
- Work-life balance is helpful in the accomplishment of professional goals also. With proper management and utilization of resources, he can get maximum returns in a minimum time.
- The work-life balance provides a scope for individual development and due to individual development, the development of family, institution, society, and nation becomes feasible.
- Work-life balance is essential for emotional hold-up and balanced emotions. Only a balanced life makes it possible to give and take emotional support. This emotional aid increases the level of emotional attachment and results in a jovial family.
- An employee’s balance in work and life domain is important for his institution also. The employee will recognize that it is his duty to maintain and improve his work prescription. Work-life balance will help an employee for his in-service growth. The organization will surely bring the growth of the institution.
- Work-life balance is most essential for dual-career couples. The dual-career couples has to manage so many works and responsibilities related to different dimensions of life. Members of dual-career couples have to be smart, active, energetic, and go-getters. It is a work-life balance only that can maintain love and affection between them.
- Work-life balance is required to protect oneself from controversial situations. Controversies create disturbance in life and make it hell. People are always engaged in earning and arranging resources for their livelihood. They seem to live for work and not to work for a living. A balanced life makes them enjoy their lives and spend some time in repose for other activities.
How to Maintain Work-Life Balance?
- Preparing schedule: A schedule should be prepared and work should be done accordingly. It will be helpful to accomplish tasks effectively within a limited time period.
- Giving importance to identity: An individual has many responsibilities regarding his personal, social, family, and work life. He should get his work done but at the same time, he must give importance to his identity. He will be bestowed with a sense of self-respect.
- Reducing stress: One should not always think about work and tensions, instead, he should reduce his stress. He should try to resolve his problems and establish a balance.
- Be active and smart: A person should be active and smart. He must perform his duties actively because a strong will to perform duties makes it easy to get the work accomplished.
- Thoughtful: An individual must think about his life, priorities, roles, and responsibilities. He must also think about the level of his work-life balance. If there is a low level of work-life balance, he should think and plan to get an average or high level and then step accordingly.
- Managing resources: Management of available resources is an essential principle. Proper management of both financial resources and human resources makes it easy to accomplish every task.
- Developing positive relationships: Positive relationships with employers, colleagues, friends, and family members provide special support and help in maintaining a work-life balance.
- Time management: Time management means giving required time to every aspect of life. For instance, a teacher may devote eight hours to his work, eight hours to his other aspects of life, and the remaining time to his rest and sleep.
- Concentration and meditation: The method of concentration and meditation makes it easy to have peace and maintain physical and mental well-being and, therefore, it is helpful in achieving work-life balance.
- Healthy discussions: Discussion of problems and other important issues lend a hand to solve many problems and taking a load off one’s life. Such situations leads to work-life balance.
- Determination of goals: One should have specific and precise goals for his professional life as well as for his other dimensions of life. Only then he would be able to find proper means to achieve end. Determination of goals imparts clarity about what a man exactly want in his life. Therefore, it is easy to achieve balance in work and life domains.
‘Balance is precious for our precious life.’
Shah Satnam Ji College of Education, Sirsa