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Factors determining work-life balance may differ in some ways, but the core parts remain the same for all.
"You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy." In the wake of the pandemic, this recent statement of Jane Marczewski on AGT made a million people emotional.
Talking about organizational factors affecting work-life balance, happiness, indeed, is a choice.
But making that choice is quite difficult as some challenges seem insurmountable, especially when it comes to achieving work-life balance through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
This article will touch on the quality of work-life balance and other factors in managing work-life balance.
The pandemic caused sudden, widespread mortality, as well as social, political, and economic disruption. Covid-19 has decimated jobs and placed millions of livelihoods at risk. To survive, the workforce and companies scramble to change and adapt to the present situation.
According to a McKinsey & Company report from What’s Next for Remote Work: an analysis of 2,000 tasks, 800 jobs, and nine countries, labor forces in advanced economies can spend more time working remotely than the workforce working in emerging countries.
With the UK leading at 33-46&%, followed by Germany at 30-39%, then followed closely by the US and Japan tied at 29-39%, France at 28-29% and Spain at 26-36% From emerging countries, Mexico leads at 18-26%, 16-22%, and India at 12-16%
It was good that remote work has gained popularity in recent years since the coronavirus forced everyone who could work from home to do so on such short notice.
Challenges not just of setting up the remote work and its processes arise. Though productivity may have returned mostly to normal levels, confusion, frustration, and other personal feelings set in.
So now, there is a need to re-examine what work-life balance means, both now and after the crisis ends.
Meanwhile, in the US, a survey from Glassdoor conducted by The Harris Poll revealed that nearly 3 in 4 employees are eager to return to the office. That is, 76% of the workforce express eagerness to return to in-person, and here are the top factors why:
As workplaces open in many regions around the world, more and more employees express their desire to get back to in-person collaboration. Many look forward to seeing coworkers in person one day soon. Perhaps the biggest question in employees’ minds is not just when but what that work model will look like.
What safety measures will be in place in the workplace? Will employees be able to maintain social distancing at work? If so, how? Fears and worries like these can overshadow the excitement and enthusiasm in getting back to in-person work.
COVID-19 also taught us that meeting fatigue and digital overload is real. Remote work has challenged our well-being. Proactive business leaders reimagine their organizations with a new operating model for processes, places, and the workforce. Thus, the hybrid model is born.
Many business organizations are allowing their employees to choose their place of work. Hybrid seems to be an ideal alternative for most. Many manual or physical work cannot be done remotely, depending on the nature of work, industry, and activities. Here is the report from the same study of McKinsey Company regarding the possibility of hybrid work.
So, should employees work from home or work from the office or some days at home and some days at the office?
It honestly comes down to the environment a person can be most effective in, along with the industry they're in. Now that employees have experience and can compare and contrast between remote work and in-person, they can have a good idea of how these work.
Companies are making decisions about what works for them. Employees ought to think long and hard about what works for them as well.
Let us take a closer look at the results of a Monster.com survey in July:
These statistics evidenced that there are things employers can do to make employees feel more comfortable.
Times of crisis can also be seen as an opportunity to rethink old ways of doing things. These trying times are exactly the perfect time for companies to determine what the future of work looks like for their business.
Companies need to design work arrangements with individual human concerns in mind by fully remote, in-person, or hybrid. Not just organizational and institutional ones to make transitions successful. But it should require companies to approach the problem from four different perspectives:
(1) Duties and responsibilities;
(2) employee preferences;
(3) goals and processes; and
(4) inclusion and equity.
Empowering employees to a healthy work-life balance to achieve common goals and business success is a must.
Yes, companies must be empathic and proactive to guide and provide an ideal work situation for employees. Still, each employee must not depend solely on their organization to provide an ideal situation to achieve work-life balance. This must be a personal quest first and foremost.
Essential to achieving a work-life balance is to feel good and do good. Employees must aspire to be more productive, use their brainpower, test their decision-making skills, creativity, empathy, etc.
An Empowering Work-Life Balance
Whether remote work, in person, or hybrid, these tips will surely help employees thrive and achieve a healthy work-life balance that can better one's quality of life.
Participate on equal footing.
Let go of comparisons. What we see is not always as it seems. Choose to encourage. Give your best and allow others to do the same.
Connect with Others.
Spend time with others outside your immediate circle. Grab a cup of coffee, or have a virtual coffee break and catch up. Too often, we get disappointed when we don’t receive the support we need. But did we ask or express a need for support? Start opening up, communicating feelings, needs, and thoughts. Small talk can help.
Create Alone Moments.
Find a quiet corner and take a moment just to sit and think. Or take a walk and empty your mind. This creates space that helps make better decisions. Often too, being alone can give comfort and solitude, allowing a person to gather energy to fight battles again.
Tolerance and Acceptance.
Accept imperfection and embrace compassion. Allow yourself to let go of perfection and accept others' weaknesses as well. Life is Yin and Yang, an acceptance, temperance. Take the good with the bad. Accept that life isn't always good, which means it will never be always bad either.