Work-Life Balance - A Resume Center Guide
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There's an old joke that when it comes to addressing your work-life balance you first need to review your list of priorities:
But the catch is that you only have time for three things - Work and Holidays are two - and you get to pick a third!
There is no doubt that the 21st century is one that is seeing significantly increasing levels of consumer demand - with the need for services to be provided all day, every day. Understandably, this increase in demand is putting enormous pressure on the service providers themselves leading to individuals working longer and more anti-social hours. As a result, many people have found themselves spending more time at the office and much less time at home.
Traditionally, it has been working mothers who are associated with the need to achieve a work-life balance to enable them to spend quality time with their children while also allowing them to continue to bring in a wage. However, in these modern times, where equal rights are at the forefront of employment legislation, it is no longer just mothers who are entitled to a more flexible working day. Fathers are now being given the right to take paid paternity leave and many people are offered flexible hours to enable them to continue acting as carers for other members of their family. Also, people with no dependents hope to achieve a work-life balance to enable them to continue their training, to travel or simply to enjoy more time pursuing leisure activities.
There are undeniable advantages to employers who offer flexible working hours to their staff. They can enable them to provide a round-the-clock service to their customers and can also increase productivity as a result of the improved levels of motivation within the workforce. Absenteeism can be reduced and employee retention levels improved. There are also statutory requirements that an employer must meet and introducing policies that support the achievement of a work-life balance can facilitate this. Also, an employer that is seen to promote flexible working can be a popular choice for prospective jobseekers.
Many people are opting to work part-time hours, even if this means that they take home less money. Also, the advance of wireless technology means that working from home is becoming increasingly popular. Working from home can also mean reduced costs to the employer as they can cut down on the amount of office space they use and minimize travel related expenses. However, even when working from home in a situation that, to many people, seems ideal it is important to allow yourself time away from your home office including taking regular breaks.
Even if your employer does not currently support flexible working practices, it is possible to make certain changes that will enable you to improve your quality of life. Limit the number of days you stay late at the office, allow yourself time off to attend family activities whenever possible and take regular breaks to ensure that you do not work for long periods at a time. If you prioritize your workload more effectively, you can ensure that you complete the most important tasks and can go home in a frame of mind to relax and switch off from your work.
So, work-life balance is one that enables people from all spectrums of the workforce to make decisions relating to how and when they work. This means not only changing working hours but also changing working practices. Once a healthy work-life balance has been achieved, employees should be able to fully appreciate the time they do spend at home and employers should see a significant improvement in their productivity and the fulfilment of their business objectives. However, you should not feel obliged to adopt more flexible working if you are happy with your current hours. The ultimate aim is to encourage choice and adapt different patterns according to differing individual and business needs.
Author: James Innes