Monday, November 24, 2014

Work-Life Balance: Policy or Proactivity?

CLO's article today on mental fitness and the effectiveness of leaders raised (or rather, reminded) an interesting question for me:
To what degree does a company's culture allow for work-life balance, and what amount of latitude does someone have with their personal agency to affect that balance?
Let's be honest; the 21st century has put lots of tech on the table, but no time to digest and process everything that has thus been enabled by it. Throw in business-side concerns like project deadlines, quarterly reports, and life-side realities like parenting and soccer games, and one can be forgiven for having to accomplish goals in the way early computer chips once had. All this new technology allows us to handle work and life on a more real-time basis, but the dark underbelly is it always means we can rationalize (guilt?) ourselves into not doing more, more of the time. Missed opportunities! Lost time! Wasted profit!

Company policies are surely one part of the solution/problem. A codified statement is at the very least some sort of recognition that the balance exists and must be struck in order for a workforce's maximum net positive effectiveness. Whether or not that statement is outlined in further detail, and further still in action, remains up to the culture, its leaders, and the influence people at the various levels have to enact change - whatever magnitude - for the better.

Often times, at least from my perspective, the work side seems to be the focal point for the balance question, and rightly so. Work, especially for white collar careers, has never been more flexible in terms of where and when it can be done, or even how casually the work can progress in off-hand situations. But life can certainly be an equal if not heavily weighted contributor to the problem/solution as well, for any number of reasons.

A few of the article's points (i.e. eating right) can more or less be followed regardless of schedule. But aside from those, which side do you find the most challenging to organize for the balance equation? How has technology made the problem/solution better/worse? Has technology given you more power in this respect, or taken it away? Do you feel you have more power if the technology is yours, or the company's?

...and while we're answering this question, perhaps someone can provide a solution for getting news outlets to stop using awful clipart...

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