The concept of work had evolved over the years, even before the concept of work-life balance came into the picture. Work, in the past, has been associated with the need to earn and survive, regardless of the consequences.
However, as people began to understand more about the complexities of human behavior, work also began to take on many new meanings. It was no longer just about earning a living. There are now things such as satisfaction, fulfillment, and work-life balance.
And this is especially true for women who are often caught up in the hustle and bustle of doing household chores and having to earn to help financially support the family.
But work-life balance is not the sole responsibility of the employee alone. It should also be part of the priorities of any employer as well.
We as individuals function collectively and interactively with our environment to achieve a state of equilibrium within ourselves and society. Thus, the concept of work-life balance would not be complete without both individuals and working environments working together to achieve a state of coexistence.
And since our environment and “society” as working women are largely composed of our employers, both employee and employer are expected to work together to achieve the ideal work-life balance.
What should employees and employers do to help each other achieve the ideal work-life balance? Here are a few tips.
Employees should identify and prioritize balance.
First, identify your balance and visualize your own concept of what it is to have a work-life balance. Then be firm to establish it. Being proactive in your decision goes a long way.
During your predefined working hours, keep distractions to a minimum. Outside working hours, avoid checking work-related emails or messages. Allot time on other commitments. Avoid staying late at the office. Your time for work should be limited only to office hours, and after that, enjoy your time with your family or yourself.
Employees should structure tasks at hand.
If you are familiar with productivity methods, this one should come easy. The gist is, rank your tasks for the day and start with the hardest or the most important task. Make sure to finish the tasks by order of importance, finishing the high-priority tasks before the less important tasks.
Another great method to try is the prioritization framework by former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the so-called “Eisenhower Matrix.” It prioritizes tasks by urgency and importance, resulting in four quadrants corresponding to different work strategies. All your daily tasks and big projects will fall under one of these four quadrants, as mentioned below.
DO FIRST: Urgent and important tasks to be completed as soon as possible. These are tasks you can use a timer with to help you focus.
SCHEDULE: Not urgent but important tasks to be scheduled for a later time. These are tasks that needed to be placed on your calendar.
DELEGATE: Urgent but unimportant tasks that need to be delegated or outsourced to someone else. You can keep track of these tasks through email or messaging.
DON’T DO: Not urgent and unimportant tasks are tasks you should be thinking twice about doing. Under this category are distractions that could make you feel guilty afterward.
This method is highly effective in discovering bad habits and in re-examining your priorities.
Employees should choose their work environment wisely.
Before applying for a job, check reviews and know the work environment the job has. Check for the culture of your potential workplace.
It is vitally important to look for a company that prioritizes work-life balance. In this way, you and your company already have a common interest even before starting your job.
Employees should be proactive in the workplace.
Sometimes tasks are delayed because no one steps up to the challenge. Be proactive and openly communicate with your colleagues and your bosses. If the company you are currently in does not prioritize work-life balance, it's high time for you to speak up and suggest respectfully.
Employers should maintain open communication with their employees.
It is not all about the employee, but also of the employers as well. If you are an employer, ask your team to find ways to apply work-life balance as it should be. You can start with activities that will help your employees open up about their ideal workplace, and yes, you can start from there.
Employers should create a venue to increase awareness.
Some employees are unaware of the disadvantages of not having a work-life balance. Create an avenue for them to learn. Activities and lectures might help foster their understanding of what work-life balance is. Always remember that employees who suffer from being overworked might become more of a liability than an asset to your company.
Employers should lead by example.
Achieving the ideal work-life balance starts with the managers!
This is perhaps the most important thing employers should remember. Establishing and learning about work-life balance is one thing; applying them to an actual daily routine is another thing.
Help your employees understand more about work-life balance by setting an example: do not give them tasks beyond office hours, allow them to have various commitments, and be realistic in setting expectations for them. In this way, your employees will follow suit, and overall, your workplace will be happier and healthier.
Southern Management. (2021). Work-Life Balance: Employee and Employer Responsibilities. Retrieved from https://www.southernmanagement.com/blog/work-life-balance-employee-and-employer-responsibilities/#
Russo, M. and G. Morandin. (2019). Better Work-Life Balance Starts With Managers. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2019/08/better-work-life-balance-starts-with-managers
EISENHOWER. (2016). Introducing the Eisenhower Matrix. Retrieved from https://www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/