Salaam Ramadhan, everyone. For this week’s article, I am going to touch on a topic that has been long debated, especially during the pandemic. Do you have a Work-Life balance in your current workplace? Do you have the right support from the organisation to make sure this balance is achievable and materialised? Does your company have a clear direction on this Work-Life balance aspiration, but it was not put into practice?
Whatever the situation that you are in right now, Work-Life balance is an important aspect of your employment, and nobody should take that for granted. It is also closely related to your physical and mental wellbeing. We have heard that a lot of employees who are facing mental fatigue and burnout due to the increase in stress levels while working in the new norm.
Working to Live vs Living to Work
“Work-life balance refers to the level of prioritisation between personal and professional activities in an individual’s life and the level to which activities related to their job are present in the home.
Work-life balance is a topical issue due to the increased amount of technology that removes the importance of physical location in defining the work-life balance. Previously it was difficult or impossible to take work home and so there was a clear line between professional and personal.
The increase in mobile technology, cloud-based software and the proliferation of the internet has made it much easier for employees to be ‘permanently’ at work, blurring the distinction between professional and personal. Some commentators argue that smartphones and ‘always-on’ access to the workplace have replaced the authoritarian control of managers.”
The statement above clearly described the dilemma of today’s workforce in juggling between personal and work life. With the system that is available 24×7 and the ability to work from anywhere with internet connection, has increased the pressure to deliver. In some organisations, we have Managers who are micro-managing their staff at an intolerable level which makes the situation worsen. Can you imagine a staff member being reprimanded just because he failed to pick up the Manager’s phone call?
I believe that all organisations always have their employee’s welfare as priority. However, along the way, the implementation of such policies did not reach the working level. In this case, the Human Resources should play an important role and become a good listener to find out what is exactly happening at the working level. This will increase the trust and loyalty of every staff member to the company.
Drawing the Line Between Personal and Professional Life
We must take charge of our life and we should not put any unnecessary work pressure that may impact your personal life. Let’s start by practising the following:
Prioritise your work
Make it a discipline to prioritise all your work and categorise it into smaller chunks so that you can settle faster and more effectively. You need to differentiate between what is urgent and important, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, etc. If we do not put all these tasks according to their level of importance, we will be going all over the place trying to complete a job. Please refer to the ‘Eisenhower Matrix’ for a good time management approach:
It’s okay to say ‘NO’
Don’t be such a people pleaser and help everyone to complete their tasks at the expense of your own. Some organisations also have this tendency of rewarding the high achiever by giving more tasks! This is not a healthy workplace to be. You should politely decline and say ‘NO’ to people and justify that you’ve already had a pile of existing workload to attend to. Be polite but firm. Your priority comes first. If you keep pleasing people, you will end up having more workloads that you can chew.
Reject Toxic culture
Don’t give in to toxic culture in the office. The ancient mindset that whoever leaves the office late is the most hardworking one is a great misleading concept. That’s why we have pretenders who delay all their work just because they want to leave the office late. Some just browse the internet and waste the company’s electricity and resources. Do your work efficiently, deliver, and leave on-time.
Always make time for your family
No matter how busy you are chasing deadlines or projects, always make time for family. Spend time listening to your kids on what happened at school, or how your spouse’s day is. When you are down and sick, your family is the one who will be impacted and will take care of your recovery. A job is a job, there is always a limit of how concerned a company is about your wellbeing.
Communicate and express your feelings
Please do not let your stress and pressure bottle up inside of you. Let it out, share and communicate your feelings with friends and family. Communication is something that seems so simple, but it is a great cure. The more burden you stock up inside will end up like a time bomb that could explode at any time. By the time it exploded, it would be too late as damage already happened.
Take a break
Apply for leave and get your own ‘me’ time or outside of the office. Enrol yourself with any activities that you love. Yoga? Archery? Hiking? Or you can take your family for a holiday and pamper yourself to the max. You cannot be so indispensable that the company may wind down if you take leave. It is for the good of the company as well to have a good succession plan and backup expertise.
It’s all about human
We are not robots who can be pushed to work without rest. Recognising the importance of having a Work-Life balance, many countries like Belgium, Scotland, Japan, UAE are now moving towards a 4-day workweek. I am looking forward to this arrangement to be applicable in our Region.
Please take care of yourself, everyone. Chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace. It can lead to physical consequences such as hypertension, digestive troubles, chronic aches and pains and heart problems. Stay safe.
Catch When Expert Meets Expert by Ts. Saiful Bakhtiar Osman articles every bi-weekly Tuesday. Don’t forget to subscribe to stay connected. You are also encouraged to ask questions and seek advice from him.
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