The Downside of Work-life Balance
Before we plunge into the downside of work-life balance, we should remind ourselves what work-life balance means and why it is important to individuals and organizations.
Mind you, I know you all must have read much about the benefits of work-life balance. Although it’s true that maintaining a work-life balance is vital for the comprehensive growth of a company, giving too much flexibility in this area may have disadvantages. Bear in mind that the intention of this article is not to make any negative claims against work-life balance but to merely shine a light on the other side of the argument to make you see another angle of the concept more objectively.
What Then is Work-life Balance?
Work-life balance is a phrase that informs you how much time you need for both work and other aspects of life, whether those are family-related or personal interests. Some of the benefits of maintaining a proper work-life balance in an organization are; increase in productivity, a low rate of absenteeism, a happy and less stressed workforce, improvement in staff health and well-being, employee loyalty, commitment, and motivation.
In other words, work-life balance is a system where an individual is able to carry out his/her work responsibilities without sacrificing his/her personal goals. To simplify things, we will concentrate on the popular aspects of the work-life balance offered by employers today. Some of the common elements encouraged by companies on work-life balance are:
Allowing a flexible schedule
Encouraging employees to work from home
Allowing short breaks throughout the day
Encouraging unpaid time off for life events
Granting leaves easily
When the main goal is on business development, employers automatically lose focus on where to draw the line regarding these practices. Let us look at what could happen when flexible working is not monitored well or goes over-board.
Leads to a Complacent Attitude
It is essential to build a rapport with your employees by understanding their personal issues and granting them latitude to work around them. However, it’s very important for employers to know where to draw a line.
In cases where employees have the freedom to work at individual schedules suiting their needs, there’s room for them to take advantage, by not being productive. For instance, the many short breaks employees are allowed to take may turn into long ones, and the easy grants to take unplanned leaves will lead to their absence from the desk too often.
If there is no system of measurement to monitor some of these benefits, it may lead to the employees developing a complacent attitude towards their job. As a result, this leads to lower productivity, a lack of ownership, and accountability. If you value the well-being of your business, then you need to remind your employees about managing their responsibility efficiently.
Lack of Communication and Innovation
Another common challenge faced by employers who have a team working remotely is communication. While the reasons appear to be genuine most of the time, the employee can make a habit of such issues.
For example, an employee working from home might be situated in a ‘bad phone network’ zone, which makes reaching out to them becomes challenging. This will lead to confusion and possible delays in completing the assignments or tasks. Also, there may be poor internet connection or electricity problems or no fuel to put on the generator. All these are common problems of today which makes the remote working option very inefficient.
Distractions and Missed Collaborations
Employees tend to make a promise that they will manage work from home and stick to deadlines but are unable to do so due to one or multiple reasons. Be it due to having a pet or a kid or having constant distractions with a large family in the house, such employees are bound to be interrupted because these distractions won’t let them concentrate on their work.
The only way an employee can enjoy scheduled flexibility and work perfectly well in his or her comfort zone is if the project is being handled individually. In the case of a group task or assignment, where one team member’s task depends on another’s, there’s bound to be a setback. The one who decides what time he or she decides to work can’t keep up with what the rest of the team is doing.
If you’re an employer, give these aspects serious consideration and understand that while it’s essential for you to help your employees work better, it’s also equally important that you ensure the work-life balance is evenly balanced. Note that it’s always better to work smart than to work hard.