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Now that we are back from our mini-holiday, it is a good time (as good a time as any but we have it fresh in our minds after the break), to ask ourselves if we are really reconciling our work and family life or if we are living in order to work. It is true that in most cases the working hours are imposed by the company you work for rather than being of your own choice. Nonetheless, all of that extra time you work (and as a consequence deduct from your personal life) will not be given back to you by any means.
In theory many large companies have work-life balance policies (there is allsorts in the smaller ones but less personnel sometimes prevents it from being possible), but we all know that some of these are not complied with. Those policies are there and nobody is going to ask you specifically to stay behind past your working hours but you know that because of the company culture and due to the general daily atmosphere that you simply have to.
Fortunately in some places there is a start towards combining attendance with telework taking some of the pressure off the employee. Tools such as Zyncro, or other similar ones provide a way in which to work from a distance as well as allowing you to keep up to date with what is going on. There are however many jobs in which this is not possible as they require attendance, overall this is found in the services sector.
The main problem is that longer hours do not result in an increased or better productivity. Giving your team unattainable objectives does not mean it will be more motivated. People have a limit as to their productivity and when this boundary is crossed, the only thing that is achieved is a lesser result than could have been attained without that pressure. In fact, Spain is known for being one of the least productive countries in the EU. The real culprit of this is not the work-life balance, it is the lack of it. If you consider your “employee” as a “human resource”, you may think it does not matter if they are worn down, they can always be replaced, but this is not as true as may seem. Settling in to a new company, understanding how it works and developing your potential within it require a certain amount of time. Replacing somebody has a higher cost than just the economical. But in order for this new mentality to take off, many organisations must be changed, those that are more fossilized and stuck in their 20th century (or 21st) models than they would like to admit. In this way, many start-up type companies are at an advantage as they have been born with this new philosophy.
So if you your company does not allow you to balance your work and family life, you can always look for another. Or begin your path towards entrepreneurship or become a freelancer. After all, it is not work we are talking about if not your life.
Are you able to achieve a work-life balance at your company? What options will you think about if it is not a possibility?