Michelle Obama, the former First Lady, had said, "we need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list." And this remains as extremely relevant when we talk about striking a work-life balance.
With technology taking over our lives, people are more hustle-minded than ever before. In this world of hyper-connectivity and 'always-on' culture, the line between work and life has grown extremely thin. Amidst such noise, the need to always be 'on top of our game' and to be driven, often pushes people to the point of exhaustion, leading to psychosomatic disorders, stress, anxiety, and depression, impacting individual efficiency and hence workforce productivity. According to a survey by Harvard Business School, 94% of service professionals work for more than 50 hours a week. And while it has been claimed by some that long hours are necessary, research has been proven that striking a balance between self-growth and work is critical for one's mental well-being.
The rise of the millennial workforce is one of the biggest reasons for work-life balance to become such an important conversation. If reports are to be believed, millennials will comprise 50% of the total workforce by 2050 and 'work-life balance' would surely be one of the deciding factors for retention of good talent. Millennials and Gen Z wants to be recognised for their work, and are even willing to take a pay cut to join an organisation which is more rewarding and gives ample opportunities to learn and grow professionally and personally. Most young workers have varied interests, so they prefer taking up jobs that give them the freedom and time to explore different verticals. With work life balance becoming a priority, many organisations are offering flexibility in terms of work hours and locations to address this requirement.
Effective work-life integration is equally important for the employer as it is for the employee. The ongoing conversation about a healthy balance between achieving and enjoying, it boils down to the camaraderie between an individual and the organisation that is mutually beneficial and a win win for all. With work-life balance being an important aspect of a healthy work environment, organisations are increasingly adopting new ways to ensure well-being of their employees.
Encouraging productivity through flexibility
Now-a-days, organisations are willing to go the extra mile to understand the needs of their employees and help them improve their quality of life. Working towards 'employee satisfaction' as a business goal, the 21st century workplaces are ensuring their people are happy and motivated at work, thereby increasing their productivity. To further this agenda, companies are doing away with the older models and adopting newer employee-friendly policies like flexi working hours, location agnostic roles, work from home facilities, maternity-paternity policies and four-day work-week. For instance, working from home a couple of times in a month helps in building a sense of trust between the employee and the employer, as they do not feel micro-managed. This leads to the development of an increased sense of accountability and responsibility.
It is also very important to create an environment of motivation at the workplace which helps to enhance employee productivity. For instance, at Panasonic, we have fun break-out zones for employees to take a break and refresh, we host state of the art in-house gym along with in-house chefs to ensure quality nutrition for our employees.
“Working towards 'employee satisfaction' as a business goal, the 21st century workplaces are ensuring their people are happy and motivated at work, thereby increasing their productivity.”
Making work fun
It is no longer all work and no play. Organisations have realised that motivated employees are the most productive. Companies are introducing fun learning activities and celebrating special-days like - Emoji day, International women's' day, World Food Day, Family Day etc. - bringing the element of fun at work. Through such activities, companies are attempting to build camaraderie and team spirit among employees, thus encouraging a healthy work environment. With the right mix of fun and engagement, employees feel more connected to their workplace, thus resulting in better productivity and in turn, business profitability. E.g. Organising International Yoga Day at workplace by engaging with employees and discussing the importance of mental health along with physical health for a healthy wellbeing.
Talk the talk - be more transparent
It is essential for organisations to regularly communicate with their employees, and constantly update them about the organisation's achievements, new initiatives, issues, future plans, etc., so that employees feel involved and trusted. After all, employees are the biggest advocates of one's brand. Involving employees and engaging with them to know their opinion/feedback on new developments, plans, etc. builds a strong sense of trust, which is critical for every organisation.
Workplaces have undergone drastic transformations since the last decade, which has redefined work life balance. Organisations are constantly introducing people friendly policies to have a positive impact on the lives of employees and help them deliver better results. At a time when work-related stress is becoming a growing concern, it is refreshing to see the needle move towards companies encouraging a healthy work-life balance by going out of the way to make their staff love the work they do. It is important to realise that people make a workplace great and a business profitable!
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