Work-life balance at its best is an ideal way of life, and at its worst, a complete myth.
While it sounds great in theory, figuring out how to juggle a thriving career and a happy family life may be a challenge. Between the deluge of emails, stringent deadlines, back-to-back meetings and late-night client calls, it’s tricky enough to squeeze in a ten-minute coffee break, let alone carve out time for your kid’s school events, play dates, family get-togethers, or a day to shop with the girls.
Work-life balance is not a new concept; back in the 18th century, the U.K. and the U.S. constituted legislation to limit the number of working hours. It gained more prominence in the early 1970s and 1980s when more women forayed in the “working space.” In the past, the concept revolved around women, but it became more inclusive in 2000 and focused on the needs of both men and women.
It is as unique as you…
In the 21st century, work-life balance is an ever-evolving concept unique to every individual, regardless of gender, geography, working culture, and status. Put simply, work-life balance is not a one-size-fits-all notion. It means something different to everyone; it can include spending time with your family, taking care of your kids, engaging in personal, educational or spiritual development, or just binge-watching your favorite sitcom. It can even include your work!
Life balance is a perceived state; only you can know when it’s balanced or going out of hand.
Work hard and go home?
A few decades ago, our work and home lives were separated quite distinctively. Work happened at the office and life began at home after the office hours. With the advancement of technology and society, work-life balance has also evolved. Today, work has broken the shackles of office and has entered our homes. We work on the go, and this means that work-life balance is not about leaving office anymore, but about integrating work in our lifestyle—work being an integral part of your life.
Microsoft’s Asia Workplace 2020 study has revealed that many Gen X and millennial workforce in India value work-life integration more than work-life separation. They prefer digital work spaces and are embracing flexible work hours, allowing them to personalize their way of work and life. The millennial workforce is not now looking at how their work fits their overall vision for their lifestyle, and employers are promoting a work culture that understands and implements this need for synergy.
Find harmony, more than a balance
It’s been over nine years that I’ve been managing motherhood and work; I am often asked how I manage work-life balance. My answer is—I don’t. I focus on work-life integration.
I do not strive for a perfect balance but focus on integrating all aspects of life. I realize that not everyone can say that their company values the importance of work-life integration, but I am grateful to have been able to do so throughout my career at Teleperformance. Integrating work and life as a mother of toddlers is easier if your company offers benefits like flexible working hours, option to work remotely, and creating your own schedules.
Teleperformance has long recognized the importance of gender diversity at the workplace. We are a #GenderSmart organization, and work-life balance is not just a buzzword—it is an integral part of our culture.
By Neha Sethi, SVP at Teleperformance in India