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"Work to live. Don't live to work" - A Success Mantra

Dr. Kshama Singh
Dr. Kshama Singh
Director, Institute of Management Social Sciences & Research, Pune
Kshama Singh, Director In-Charge, MJS Mandal’s Institute of Management Social Sciences &... more>>
While all aspects of our life are important, without a balance you become addicted and like all addictions you lose". ~ Catherine Pulsifer.

In the early days of world trade, goods would be produced in the local countries, at earthly hours, and would be transported by ship to faraway destinations. Globalization today is more taxing. Businesses are more complex. As the services component of global trade increases, so does the need for more communication and interaction.

We need to recalibrate our time and travel. Cost and ecological considerations are encouraging companies like ours to reduce travel and adopt video-conferencing instead. In addition, companies are recognizing they need to set boundaries around working hours, personal time and holidays.

We need to encourage corporate cultures that separate work and home, and hold family time sacrosanct. We also need to be "modularize" work so that local teams, working in close physical proximity, take on specific projects and tasks in "packages" that make geographic sense. Interface standards, across work packages, will minimize the need for extensive communication and interaction.

As a world, we are still learning how to deal with globalization at an individual and family level. We need to strike the right balance, in terms of distribution of work and output, between globalization and localization. Do share your own experiences and perspectives with regards to globalization and family life.

Monitor implementation and put feedback systems into place. In India, there is a starting point in that organizations have recognized the need for and value of Work-Life Balance policies. An integral part of our lives is our profession. Just as there is responsibility and opportunity in life, our careers are also guided by opportunities and responsibilities. We must ensure that these two factors dont work at cross purposes. Quality of life is something we all covet, every profession affects life in general and every profession has a duty towards life.

Surprisingly, the literature does not contain one clear definition or measure of work-life balance that has demonstrated acceptable construct validity on the criteria discussed above. Instead, an array of definitions and measures populate the literature. We suggest that this variety of work-life definitions and measures provide limited value for both the theoretical advancement of the construct and for practical human resource (HR) interventions. We provide here a brief review of the more common work-life balance definitions, with the intention of highlighting this variety and stimulating discussions towards a consensus.

Why Work Life Balance is Important to Women? Todays career women are continually challenged by the demands of full-time work and when the day is done at the office, they carry more of the responsibilities and commitments to home. The majority of women are working 40-45 hours per week and 53% are struggling to achieve work/life balance. Women reported that their lives were a juggling act that included multiple responsibilities at work, heavy meeting schedules, business trips, on top of managing the daily routine responsibilities of life and home. "Successfully achieving work/life balance will ultimately create a more satisfied workforce that contributes to productivity and success in the workplace." Employers can facilitate WLB with many schemes that can attract women employees and satisfy their needs.

Some of these are:
Facilities for child care
* Financial planning services for employees who need them
* Flexi-timings
* Work sharing
* Part time employment
* Leave plans - both paid and unpaid - to suit employees needs
* Subsidized food plans
* Insurance plans
* Counseling services for problems like managing work and the home
* Rest rooms, food preparation services
* Jobs with autonomy and flexibility
* Realistic work loads

In case of working women, getting caught in the work/life balance trap will continue to be an ongoing challenge. Careful planning and personal effort is the advice from those who have found balance in both career and home life. As one respondent summarized, "Plan, prioritize and schedule as efficiently as possible... and dont be afraid of hard work!" Work-life balance is a persons control over the conditions in their workplace. It is accomplished when an individual feels dually satisfied about their personal life and their paid occupation. It mutually benefits the individual, business and society when a person’s personal life is balanced with his or her own job. The work-life balance strategy offers a variety of means to reduce stress levels and increase job satisfaction in the employee while enhancing business benefits for the employer. In our increasingly hectic world, the work-life strategy seeks to find a balance between work and play. A sentence that brings the idea of work life balance to the point is: "Work to live. Dont live to work." 

People are successful when they have the flexibility to meet the demands of their professional lives and accomplish personal goals outside their offices. Our goal is to create a flexible work environment, where we can respond to the demands of client service and at the same time provide enough support to our professionals so that can have control over their personal lives.

Our profession is a demanding one, and we cant change that. But we can provide more flexibility in both the individual careers and the personal lives of the people who make up our organization. We are constantly trying to increase flexibility into the way we work and the things we do. Flexibility is becoming more and more a part of our environment everyday.

Strategies to keep work life balance :

1. Dont overbook.
This may seem unusual to people who try to crowbar as much as possible into every workday. The problem is: Things rarely go according to a prearranged agenda. That means a lot of time falling through the cracks chasing down appointments, unreturned phone calls and other items that simply arent going to happen. "Dont try to plan on doing too many things. Assume that only 50% of the things you plan on doing today will actually get done

2. Prioritize ruthlessly.
The secret to booking your time effectively boils down to knowing whats important and what can wait. But its critical to use the sharpest knife possible in trimming the essential from the secondary.

3. Learn how to say no
. One of the biggest land mines to effective time management is recognizing you dont have to agree to everything and with everyone. Use your priority criteria to identify requests that simply arent worth your time.

4. Organize.
Bringing your time into line isnt just a matter of scheduling. The mechanics of how you operate can be every bit as important. That means organizing most every element to allow as smooth a workflow as possible.

5. Use technology
. Although personal habits and practices can do wonders for time management, dont overlook technology as yet another weapon to make the most effective use of your workday

6. But dont overdo it.
Many businesspeople are gun shy about using technology out of fear that theyll remain too much in touch—that their time will be consumed by intrusive e-mails and cell phone calls. Fair enough. Part of effective time management knows when to shut things down. Turning off a cell phone or other wireless means of communication establishes boundaries. In short, it helps you balance your personal and professional time.

7. Know it wont always be perfect
. Try as we all may, time management isnt an exact science. Dont stress out—and waste time in the process—by obsessing over every second of time. Do what you can and enjoy whatever time you spend more pleasantly or productively.

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