How to strike a balance between professional and personal life?

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    These days, dimensions of work have extended and working is not limited to 8 hours only. It is not very unlikely for professionals to receive mobile notifications in the midnight about their work deadlines and neither is it unlikely for the organizations to expect 24 hours availability from their employees over the internet.

    Such changing dimensions of work have resulted in situations of work-life imbalance and this problem has become the grave for millennials and growing adults of Generation Z. For young people, the meaning of work extends beyond, more than just a medium to receive financial payments. They associate deeper sense of fulfillment with their work.

    Though maintaining a proper work-life balance has now become difficult due to changing dynamics of market, it has also become more important for people to remain mentally and physically productive and to avoid problems like stress or work burnouts. Let’s look at a few things which the employers and employees can do in today’s time to ensure a proper balance between the personal and professional life of the working professionals.

    A few things which the employees should take care of to maintain work-life balance:

    • Becoming self-aware of their values and belief systems:

    Young professionals are in the constant quest of striking a balance in between everything – their work, their personal life, family, friends, social activities etc. Balancing all of these aspects, however, must not be confused with spending equal time on all of these. Work-life balance doesn’t necessarily mean you spend half the time on your work and half of the time on your personal life. 

    Mohan Ojha, Managing Director of Growth Sellers

    On this, Mohan Ojha, Managing Director of Growth Sellers who is also the President of Human Resources Society Nepal, said, “It is extremely important for the upcoming generations to define what is the meaning of success for them and what are the things that they are willing to sacrifice to become successful.” According to him, an integral component of work-life balance is to have the ability to understand oneself, ones values and beliefs. He further said, “It is highly crucial for people to define their priorities in order to maintain a sense of well-being. When people are aware about what their priorities are, they can choose to allocate their time accordingly.” 

    If career is someone’s biggest priority, they have to make the necessary trade-offs accordingly and if a fulfilling family life is something people strive for, then they need to choose a workplace which will allow them to have that. Thus, being self-aware of one’s needs and desires is the first step to maintain a balance in life as the only people who know what they want from life will take actions accordingly to reach their goals.

    • ‘Focus’ is the key to balance:

    As the famous quote of Sam Ewing goes by, “It’s not the hours you put in the work that counts, it’s the work you put in the hours.”

    People don’t necessarily need to elongate their work hours to get more work done. They rather need to fully focus on what they have been doing, to ensure larger proportions of their work get completed in shorter time durations. In today’s world, which is full of distractions, one way to maintain work-life balance is to focus and concentrate completely on what one is doing at the present moment.

    Bimal Kadel, Managing Director of FroxJob

    As stated by Bimal Kandel, Managing Director at FroxJob, “The art of work-life balance requires the use of smart tools and techniques from people. One important tool for work-life balance is time management. If an employee ensures that all of his/her energy is diverted and focused into work during an idealistic 8 hour work-day, it will be more than sufficient for them to produce quality work and get work done. Today, problems seem to be arising in work-life balance due to the large number of distractions people are subjected to. If people can move past such irrelevant distractions and fully dedicate their attention to high priority tasks, work-life balance will not become a huge issue for people.”

    A few things which the employers can take care of to maintain work-life balance:

    • Being flexible with the employees:

    Today, millennials and growing adults of Generation Z don’t work only for financial pay but they also look for avenues of personal development and growth in their work. They always seek a sense of fulfillment from their work. Also, there is an innate desire in young people to take control of their lives, a large part of which includes being in control of their time. 

    Gurulaksmi Iyer Hait, Faculty of Human Resource at Kathmandu University School of Management

    According to Gurulaksmi Iyer Hait, Faculty of Human Resource at Kathmandu University School of Management, “The technology has made it easier for employers to become flexible with their team members. Options like telecommuting, work-from home, flexible working hours are good ways through which employees can take control of their life. Flextime can also become a great option to retain more female employees.  In the South Asian context, a woman is required to wear multiple hats all the time, and options like working from home can allow women integrate their career goals with family responsibilities.”

    Hence, employees who have a greater sense of control of their time will find it easier to maintain work-life balance which will continuously motivate them to remain with an organization. This means that organizations who are flexible with their employees will have two added advantages – one of less employee turnovers and the other one of higher motivation levels in employees. 

    • Wise use of technology:

    Technology can become either a boon or a curse in maintaining work-life balance depending on how well it is used.

    Preeti Joshi, Executive Director of Federation of Women Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal

    For instance, Preeti Joshi, Executive Director of Federation of Women Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal stated, “There are many instances where technology acts as a mere distraction for people, making it difficult to concentrate on their work and complete it on time. However, these days, many people consider it offensive if someone doesn’t reply immediately once a message or email is sent. This is where the problem arises.”

    Joshi further added by saying, “Training is highly required in various organizations on the use of technology. Technology should never come across as a barrier in maintaining work life balance. Technology does facilitate quicker communication between the employers and employees. However, the use of technology shouldn’t put the employers in a position where they expect immediate responses from their employees. Such an attitude can harm the mental peace of employees by creating a disturbance in their personal life.”

    Thus, basic rules like not expecting employees to be available even on technology after work hours, not disturbing employees during weekends, late nights and early mornings are some good ways to ensure that technology doesn’t hinder the work-life balance of an employee.

    Work-life balance is equally important for both the employers and the employees. Work-life balance allows employees maintain a peaceful life with lower levels of stress which in turn is beneficial for the organization as productive employees can be more profitable in the long run. Thus, both the employers and employees should constantly take steps towards ensuring the maintenance of a proper and healthy work-life balance.

    Mahima Poddar