Let me start by stating I HATE the phrase ‘Work-Life Balance’!!!
NOTE: My apologies, in advance, to my mother, for she never liked us using the word “HATE”, but let’s just say “strongly dislike” doesn’t emphasize the point well enough in this case.
‘Work-Life Balance’ or some VERY similar phrase, gets thrown around regularly by mangers in every organization known to man. Typically, the conversation goes something like this (assume this conversation takes place on a Friday afternoon because they always seem to take place on Fridays for some reason):
Manager: ”You know, you really have to do a better job at finding a work-life balance.”
Employee: ”I know, but I love what I do and the work has to get done.”
Manager: ”You see, that is what I am talking about. You need to find more time for your family & friends, unplug, and enjoy your time off. You have to learn to work smarter.”
Employee: ”I guess you are right. I will try.”
Manager: ”Great! By the way, I need you to compile the latest quarterly numbers from all five business units (3 days of work) by first thing Monday morning. Make sure you format them the way the big boss likes them. Got it? Oh yeah, and have a great weekend!”
Managers throw around the ‘work-life balance’ card so often that it has been watered down to the point where is really lacks meaning. You know that some senior level managers created the phrase because the word “work” is prominently positioned ahead of “life” and “balance”.
Maybe if it were called ‘Life Balance’ it would have more significance?
But I digress.
The ‘work-life balance’ concept is a great one but is often practiced in an illegitimate fashion. In this day and age of downsizing, layoffs, and doing more with less managers and employees have to learn to work smarter. Managers should be focused on optimizing their employees’ work environment and methodologies ensuring they are setup for success. Employees should be smartly planning and prioritizing their work, minimizing multi-tasking, and ensuring they don’t take on more then they can actually complete. This is not a one time event but an ongoing process for achieving optimal results.
Working smarter is the key to achieving a ‘Life Balance’ that so many find so elusive.