Work / Life Balance - 30 September 2008
Work/life balance is over. The time has come for work/life integration – for three reasons.
Reason number one: “Work/life balance” implies that ‘work’ and ‘life’ are opposites and in conflict with each other, when really they’re not opposites at all and should be able to coexist.
When painting the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo worked standing up for eight hours a day, six days a week, for four years – without a break. This is because the quickest path to job fulfilment lies in utilising employees’ natural talents in the work they do.
Reason number two: Work satisfaction and life satisfaction correlate, which means that the happier your employees are at home, the more engaged they are at work.
Britney Spears went from being a record-breaking superstar to delivering what was described as the worst performance in the history of the MTV Video Music Awards. At the time, she was going through a divorce and custody battle. A work/life ‘imbalance’ wasn’t the cause of her work issues.
Reason number three: An image that represents work/life balance is a set of scales, which signifies that hours dedicated to work and life should be equal. But they can’t possibly be equal.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said this year that public service employees (who complained of burnout) should just get used to it. What he didn’t get was that the work/life scales, while never equal, need to tip back and forth from the employer’s side to the employees’.
So here’s what this all means for you:
- When your employees do work they love, it rarely feels like work.
- Your employees’ personal issues can quickly become your issues if left untreated.
- Fairness in the employment relationship matters more than the hours worked.
Work and life don’t have to be enemies. The war is over.
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