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Demand for personal life vis-à-vis work has been a major challenge to both employees and employers alike. In the past employees had tendency of working for longer durations leaving only minimal time for their private lives. They are expected by there employers to be practically visible at work all hours. This burden put on workers by there employers has; however, not yielded any fruit as far as productivity is concerned. Instead it has increased stress and loss of concentration at work place. This has been attributed to lack of enough sleep due to exhaustion of adrenaline during day time. Putting into consideration the mentioned shortcomings as result of long work there is a need to strike a balance between work and private life. This paper therefore critically but succinctly looks at importance of balancing life and work, repercussions of failing to balance work and life, emerging trends ,how to achieve work and life balance and finally impediments of work and life balance.
According to Whitaker, (2008), the term work\life came in place on the realization by both individuals and organization that neglects of social life due to long hours of work could not last. Proponents have advocated for integration of work and life at work place. This has led to emergence of Nationwide Building Society which is an indicator of a company’s commitment to improving working environment with an aim to attract and retain employees across the board. On recognizing benefits accrued by encouraging employees to balance work and home life Nationwide has initiated a wide variety of policies, practice and procedures in order to achieve this noble quest (Whitaker, 2008).They include giving information on leave policies, childcare, how to manage a flexible team, tips on how to achieve a work\life balance and real life case studies among others.
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Nationwide illustrates that a society that embraces work and life balance stand to benefit by accessing a wider pool to recruit thus get the best employees who are flexible and multi-skilled. The societies also get a diverse workforce that is customer-centered and capable of proving business solutions to meet market demands. Above all work and life balance improves commitment, intrinsically motivate, boost morale, increase productivity and reduces stress and absenteeism among workers while at the same time increases customers’ satisfaction. The out come is a mutual benefit from employees, team and business.
There are a number of repercussions that result from long hour of work without resting, exercise and fun. One becomes increasingly exhausted that leads into an interrupted sleep pattern. According to Mellot (2000) as quoted by to Whitaker ,(2008) “Energy is pie where each pie last for only a day and for this reason work life and home life cannot be separated, the two are intrinsically linked!”Majority are concerned that a vast chunk of there energy pie is squandered at work place leaving them with very little to do chores that really matter in there lives. It is realized that a strong focus on performance with total dedication and commitment without injecting an element of fun is just but impractical (Whitaker, 2008).
Success is measured on the ability to laugh often and much, to win respect of intelligent people and affection from children, to appreciate beauty, to earn appreciation of honest critics and endure betrayal of false friends, and find the best in people among others,(Handy,1997 as quoted by (Whitaker, 2008). There is a rising trend that large salaries, big bonuses and excessive long hours of work do not bring fulfillment in life,(Mori,1999,as quoted by (Whitaker, 2008).People now redefines success as being more than financial reward. They are making a critical analysis of there inner purpose in life with an aim of setting a road map to that purpose.
To achieve work and life balance requires a concerted effort both from an individual and organization. Each individual must yarn to have a balance and seek regular attention on physical and mental health, family, friends, and recreation among others with work. Self regulations and discipline are epitome to work and life balance. Despite desperate efforts made to achieve a balance in life there are a number of impediments to the realization of this noble goal. Working for long has become part and parcel of people having been inculcated by organizations that employees must be present at work place all hours. A financial commitment due to materialistic style of life in many people has also contributed to failure of achieving the balance. Technological advancement which has eased global communication quick and efficient has made it very difficult to respect different time zones making people work throughout as they answer different calls and emails. Finally many people have just become addicted to work place neglecting home life.
The need for balancing work and life cannot be underestimated. Therefore, pragmatic policies should be put in place by organizations to ensure flexibility at work. Such policies ranging from compulsory paternity leaves as well as longer maternity leaves and developing technologies that are family working friendly. This will enhance productivity at work while at the same time observing personal social life.
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