The Balance of Priorities

Organizations are cognizant of employees juggling between their personal and professional commitments, changing lifestyles and employee expectations.

As we step into a brand new year, we bring forward our past experiencesand anxieties and also new hopes and ideas. Work life balance has been a key area of priority for organizations for quite some time now… so, let me begin with the obvious.

How do we really define Work Life Balance? Simply put, it is about the prioritization of professional commitments and personal lifestyle to feel a sense of accomplishment without missing out onthe enjoyment.

This concept may seem to be simple, but is in fact very hard to practice.

What work life balance is not

● It is not about being a clock watcher! Maintaining balance between work and life does not really mean apportioning equal number of hours between work and personal life. It is more about flexibility — to take up your personal/ professional commitments at your pace and convenience. It is also about a sense of urgency — to focus your time and attention on things that are within your ambit.

● It is not about using a tailor-made approach to plan and prioritize. Priorities are fluid, and,as one steps into different life phases, they get phased out or supplemented. For instance, when you are single versus when you get married, when you have just about started your career versus when you are midway in your career, when you are an individual contributor versus when you are responsible for a team.

● It is not an organizational or managerial responsibility. I firmly believe that managing a balance between my work and personal life is my responsibility since I know what my priorities are and what could possibly hold me back. While an organization can have policies and technology to facilitate work life balance, the ultimate onus is on the individual.

Organizations are cognizant of employees juggling between their personal and professional commitments, changing lifestyles andemployee expectations. We can look forward to (as an employee and an individual in our own right):

The role of an organization

● Focus on health and wellness initiatives at work and beyond.

● Build hobby networks or communities within the organization to provide enjoyment along with a sense of accomplishment.

● Impress upon building flexibility at work using technology, harnessing the digital media or just simplifying life at work.

At Aegon Life, for instance, we have started off with a flexi-dressing policy. Does that balance out my work and life… perhaps not! But it allows me to be myself at work — comfortable.

We have an online library service for employees who love to read, but, are not able to use a library service due to a variety of reasons. So we help them pursue their reading habit by bringing the books of their choice at their tables.

We have Healthy Cooking Sessions, Health Checkups and Yoga Sessions at work and so that one can focus on his/her health and well-being. We organize treks for those who love to don their camping boots or experience nature.

These are some examples of simple yet powerful ways to facilitate work-life balance. And our endeavour is to continue building on it. But, individuals have to do their bit as well!

Planning in an individual capacity

● Building downtime in your schedule. Plan and manage your time (personal or professional) such that you don’t have to cancel on appointments or rush-through.

● Understand your stresses and work on managing tasks that cause you to stress out. Don’t skimp on your sleep, nutrition or exercise.

Accept that “change is constant” and be adaptive to change. This only goes on to say that life will change, work will change, but your focus should be to manage these changes with concerted, proactive approach so that it does not overwhelm you or eat into your schedules.

● “Time off” is important. It is necessary to take a step back, spend time to switch off so that you spring back with rejuvenated energy.

Ms. Saba Adil is the Chief People Officer, and Head of Talent and Human Resources, AegonReligare Life Insurance Company Limited. Ms Adil has a Masters Degree in HR with more than 14 years of experience in various areas of Human Resources from talent sourcing, management to development.

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