I AM always challenged by the word “balance” because of the possibilities it offers and limitations it represents. One major limitation balance presents is its very longevity! ln life, permanence of balance is not possible as environment and attitude are generally dynamic and sometimes radical. This means that whatever is the context, “balance” always require continuous efforts. As we say, there is nothing constant in this world except change and therefore to “balance” in changing environment appears as biggest challenge.
Now, when I imagine the challenge in the light of work-life balance, it takes many metaphors — physical, mental, intellectual as well as emotional and, therefore, becomes interesting subject to discuss. We all want and wish it, but seldom achieve it. When I look around me to analyse if many have achieved this balance, not many faces come to my mind. But few who have achieved it are the people who have not only always been conscious of this, balance but constantly perused it in changing environment on everyday basis.
lt is also a fact that we give our best when in perfect balance. It’s like a race — a person runs best when he or she is able to balance his body perfectly. What one achieves as the outcome of this race is matter of direction, but balance is a necessity to give in the best. Not surprising that organisations are realizing that in order to get the best of their employees, they need to contribute to this “balance”. ‘I like my job, I have wonderful family, but I feel that I am stretched to the limit. ln never seem to have enough time to do my work and still have time for family or things I really want to do’. This is a popular topic of discussion. High level of stress is often associated with conﬂicting demands of work and home. However, one survey showed that majority of employees’ rate balancing work and family as more important than any other employment factors including job satisfaction. It’s not surprising that work-life balance has a critical impact on the employee commitment and associated satisfaction level. Considering organisational and employee needs for a common goal, we at Almtel Lucent have successfully cultivated and implemented certain practices to demolish some of the causes which act as hindrance in achieving this balance. ln my view, these are ignorance, stress and low effectiveness.
Ignorance is countered by group or individual communication whereas de-stressing the individual and the work environment is achieved through creation of communication forums for free expression as sharing is one of the best stress reliever. A direct link to head of organisation to provide opportunity for free and open communication to all employees across levels, irrespective to hierarchical boundaries . Opportunity to relax body through physical exercises is provided through gymnasium and concierge service is provided to help employees with their personal work so as to spare quality time on week ends.
Increase effectiveness: various formal as well as informal forums are created to improve effectiveness of an individual.
Formal forums are internal and external training. Workshops are organized to practice time management skills and to develop ability to differentiate between urgent and important. Since effectiveness is to do more and better as a team, we organize informal time among the team members including ‘Fun Fridays‘ . Involvement of family and friends is achieved through family get-together.
Above initiatives are not exhaustive, but indicative. We all like fresh air to keep our body and mind fresh, healthy, effective and pleasant. My effort is to provide that fresh air without limitation so that each one of them can see sky and aim for it. The idea is to give each one of them enough freedom to feel empowered, responsible and motivated. At the end, I would repeat, organisation or peers, family or support groups can only help to a certain extent with motivation and guidance but creating the proper balance, ultimately depends on the receptiveness and consciousness of the individual. And, therefore, the people who achieve work-life balance are those who recognize the importance and consciously put continuous effort to achieve balance by putting ‘will’ behind their ‘wish’!