Author(s): Sana Khan
My mom is always so motivated to work if she really enjoys what she’s doing. During the pandemic, she applied for a position and started working right away as she was super grateful and excited. She not only received the new role at her place of employment but had gone through a serious mental and emotional experience following the second dose of the vaccine. She was one of the rare cases that had lymphadenopathy (which refers to swollen lymph nodes) and was in excruciating pain as she wasn’t able to walk or even breathe.
With life slowly going back to “normal” and restrictions being lifted, some employees depending on their occupation or company were making a transition going back in-person gradually. Recently, it has been mandatory for employees to work in-person for a certain number of days. Especially, it has been said at my mom’s workplace to come in 3 times a week which has been really hard on her. She feels as though she can get more work done at home rather than in-person due to the travel time and comfortability of being at home with her medical condition. Her working habits are comparatively different from being at home and in the office as she works harder and longer at home rather than physically being at work. This also limits her from her responsibilities as a mother to be able to provide food or taking time to herself to relax and meditate.
With my mother’s experience, it has emphasized the fact that our work is as important and significant as our family, friends, health, and life. According to experts, employees are more satisfied with work-life balance if they feel they can juggle the demands of both their personal and professional lives (Althammer et al., 2021). This interprets how employees will feel less stressed as they are able to feel happy in their personal life and in the workplace.
An excellent example of this would be employment versatility, such as allowing employees to physically attend work on specific days, having flexible times to start and end work as well as flexible work hours (Shirmohammadi et al., 2022). An employee's inadequate lifestyle and potential drug usage could occur if their employer does not provide for job flexibility. Another example would be an employee taking some time off without overdoing it to the point of exhaustion both physically and psychologically. You'll feel more at ease and more efficient than you did previously after spending time alone or with a co-worker.
When we don’t implement a work-life balance in the workplace, it can cause serious problems for employees. Strain based conflict occurs when a person's stress in one area like life conflicts with their performance in another like work (Althammer et al., 2021). Additionally, this may lead to work-family disputes in an employee's life, which would burden and disturb them emotionally. Cross-lagged research revealed that the equilibrium productivity process, in which your competence in job or life and balance efficiency functioned in sequential phases of interrelatedness over time, was predominantly launched by conflict (Wayne et al., 2022). This will negatively impact an employee's motivation along with job satisfaction, which may lead to employee attrition. Conflict is considered to be an issue that could destroy a person's impact in the workplace or life, leading to risk factors like poor mental health.
When taking into account the more demanding conditions under which work is being done during COVID-19, neglecting to offer employees enough support in reducing chronic work - related stress is likely to cause struggles with daily obstacles to eventually progress to more severe chronic tension reactions, like tiredness (Calderwood et al., 2022). In fact, workplace chronic stress is a typical health condition that can have physiological symptoms like cardiac difficulties, high blood pressure, chronic muscle and joint pain as well as digestive issues. Employees were having a difficult time transitioning to the work-at-home lifestyle as they were continuing to take on care obligations and enabling home learning when the COVID-19 pandemic struck which happened so suddenly (Shirmohammadi et al., 2022). Employees had to learn how to use modern technology and become accustomed to constant changes in work routines, so it wasn't simple. This would cause employee productivity and performance to plummet downhill as they weren’t able to adjust nicely to the new environment.
Women in the workforce are often struggling with work-life balance as they have many responsibilities they need to endure in their personal lives. Women in Middle Eastern families or nations suffered social pressures and criticism from their close relatives since they did not prioritize raising their children when they started working (Lekchiri & Eversole, 2021). Not only would women become more stressed in these situations, but their quality of work would be substantially low as they could also go into depression.
How can work-life balance be achieved?
Here are three recommendations for companies to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.
1. Encourage mental health programs and therapy to be made available to employees to make them feel a little relaxed.
Clearly, your health comes first because if you're not feeling well, you won't be able to accomplish anything. Ensure your emotional, physical, and mental health are all in good condition. If they aren't, therapists and therapy sessions should be made available through the company so that employees can speak with a therapist one-on-one and feel a little bit better after. If therapy sessions don’t work out, maybe mental health programs could be a good route as this might improve an employee’s perspective on life and work.
2. Have managers understand the employees’ needs and goals in order to achieve a good work-life balance.
Employees look up to their managers for guidance and assistance when they are struggling. Each employee is going through something different and speaking to them individually about their needs or objectives is the best way to help them. Some of the employees might want a flexible schedule and might be more comfortable working some days at home. It is also important to let the employee know that they have options available, such as family leave.
3. Offering many work-life balance initiatives to employees as they are not limited to being happy and healthy.
There are numerous work-life balance efforts because only a small percentage of employees may benefit from each one. There is a high-quality, reasonably priced daycare facility on-site if an employee has a child and is concerned about who will supervise them when you’re at work. Other work-life initiatives include on-site stress management and nutrition classes, as well as exercise centers, training possibilities, and many others.
Work-life balance programmes are beneficial for businesses because they help retain remaining employees, recruit new talent, improve workplace morale, and reduce burnout and stress. It is essential to offer employees these many options who struggle to maintain a suitable work-life balance to eventually be considerably happier overall.
Althammer, S. E., Reis, D., Beek, S. V. D., Beck, L., & Michel, A. (2021). A mindfulness intervention promoting work–life balance: How segmentation preference affects changes in detachment, well-being, and work–life balance. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 94(2), 282–308. https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12346
Calderwood, C., Breaux, R., Ten Brummelhuis, L. L., Mitropoulos, T., & Swanson, C. S. (2022). When daily challenges become too much during COVID-19: Implications of family and work demands for work–life balance among parents of children with special needs. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 27(5), 516–527. https://doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000333
Lekchiri, S., & Eversole, B. A. W. (2021). Perceived work-life balance: Exploring the experiences of professional Moroccan women. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 32(1), 35–53. https://doi.org/10.1002/hrdq.21407
Shirmohammadi, M., Au, W. C., & Beigi, M. (2022). Remote work and work-life balance: Lessons learned from the covid-19 pandemic and suggestions for HRD practitioners. Journal of Human Resource Development International, 25(2), 163–181. https://doi.org/10.1080/13678868.2022.2047380
Wayne, J. H., Michel, J. S., & Matthews, R. A. (2022). Balancing work and family: A theoretical explanation and longitudinal examination of its relation to spillover and role functioning. Journal of Applied Psychology, 107(7), 1094 –1114. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0001007