I stumbled across this blog today – http://www.robertsoncooper.com/blog/entry/who-needs-work-life-balance-anyway – which covers a subject that is close to my heart – the issue of work-life balance. I was particularly interested in the idea that we need to develop a new concept around the subject and start a different debate about the issue. This is particularly important linked to the ongoing technological developments and societal changes that are making us work differently.
It is easy to say to people you have to get a balance between work and non-work life. In the past that had been turning up to work, completing a set number of hours and then leaving at the end of the day. And Ben Moss is right in his blog this makes work an extension of the school timetable that we all experienced.
People have a different view to their working lives. For many people work takes up a huge amount of their time as they may have two or even three jobs. How can we then lecture them on establishing some form of balance when they are working to survive? We have to accept that people have very different experiences of the world of work and need to define what is appropriate for them.
I have had many conversations with colleagues at work who feel I spend too much time working. However, I enjoy my work and as long as the additional support is provided willingly then I won’t excuse myself for doing it. I do, as I have said in other blogs, have to make sure I don’t neglect other parts of my life. The idea of blending or integrating work and non-work life is one that appeals to me. After all I can log on to emails at any point during the day, I have some of the best ideas in the middle of the night or at a weekend. Should I say to them go away until Monday morning?
The key for employers now is to find ways to allow staff to be more flexible and encourage new ways to work. It needs to be give and take, and allowing people to be adults that make the best use of their time. Perhaps now the time is right to banish the idea of balance and move to a view of integration. After all, if you have a keen, willing and enthusiastic bunch of employees why not allow them to work in a way that suits them, as the organisation will always benefit.