Article (July-2021)


Work-life balance is more of an internal fight rather than external

Nita Baluni

Designation : -   General Manager - Corporate Human Resources

Organization : -  The LaLit Suri Hospitality Group


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Is work life balance still deemed as a misnomer in the culture of productivity or pandemic has changed this thought process?

NB Work life balance itself is very subjective. What is balanced for me may not be balanced for someone else. Life is not a weighing scale where one can say 50% work life and 50% personal life. Accomplished are those individuals who can strike a balance between their work life and personal life by being able to adjust, give the due attention to the demands of both work and personal life. In simple words, work-life balance refers to the ability of every individual, regardless of gender, to coordinate work and family obligations successfully.

I have not been able to master the right formula, but guess I successfully keep juggling between both the priorities. The mantra is give your best shot and live in the moment. In fact, I have a completely different take on the entire concept of Work Life Balance. If you are passionate about what you do, you strive to find the balance between your work life, personal life and social life. Overdose and over indulgence in any one area will surely create an imbalance. By spending long hours at work place does not imply of one being productive. For decades, scholars have described how organisations were built upon the implicit model of an "ideal worker": one who is wholly devoted to their job and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, every year of their career.

The pandemic has surely brought us back to basics and made humanity realize that nothing is more important than your own wellbeing and your family. The life, which is the most precious thing, is very unpredictable. Before pandemic the tilt of long hours was at work place and during pandemic it's a home. Pandemic has forced organisation to switch to Work to from home.

How do you underline the importance of work-life balance in present pandemic period?

NB Work from Home has become most prevalent during the pandemic and therefore it has become more difficult to manage a work life balance. Employees working from home, feel there hours of work has gone up and there is no longer a clear demarcation of the office timings, work space and family space. The employee while working from home is intruding into the personal space of the other family members and thus disturbing his Work Life Balance.

So with Workplace, home and even school for some is under the same roof.  It has not been easy for any one. Imagine Children, for over a year they have not stepped out of home. Their school, their playground everything is at home. Xth and XIIth could not appear for their boards. It's not been easy for them.  Student who had opted for colleges of their choice are forced to study from home.

Work life balance has never been more challenging. What is worse is that no one knows when things will become normal. Many people are dealing with illness, loss of friends and family members to the corona virus, or new responsibilities to care for loved ones. Thus, mental health will likely be an even bigger consideration for proper work-life balance long into the future.

What new challenges have been posed by pandemic induced Remote working or WFH as it has become living at work?

NB In continuation to the above I would like to highlight here that when the Lockdown started in March 2020, people welcomed the break from their own personal rat races. People started enjoying and spending valuable time at home connecting with their parents, spouse/partner, sibling, children, friends. Many revived their passion, cooking, gardening, painting, yoga, meditation, reading books. Am sure you would recall all the happy videos of limitless creativity. In few months the creative spirits started drying out. Over indulgence in any, either work, social or personal life does have a negative impact and brings in reasons for stress. Human being is a social animal and does need a mix of all the three. Striking a balance is a continuous affair, from your student life to work life.

Statistics show that there are more cases of domestic violence, increase in stress and life style diseases. Partially here I would blame it to the fact that work has entered home.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a health emergency and economic hazard but has also resulted in dramatic changes in people's personal lives and roles within families have been disrupted. This pandemic has changed many norms and Work from Home is one of them. There are companies where depending on the job roles, employees have been WFH since March 2020 with no negative impact on productivity. In fact in many cases we have seen improvement in productivity as the external factors of tea breaks, catching up with colleagues, and various other breaks and protocol meetings etc. have been cut down.

Unfortunately at home not everyone has the luxury of space, laptops, network connectively and a proper desk and chair to work upon. Organisations are now intruding into the personal lives of employees. Many women have reduced their working hours and those who have stopped working do twice as much childcare and household duty as their male partners who are still working.

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