The Yin and the Yang: Harmony and Balance in the Workplace

Written by Carlo Miguel Lao

The taijitu is a symbol that dates back to ancient China, where it represented the belief that everything and anything in the universe consists of two forces that are opposing, but complementary. Better known as “Yin and Yang”, it symbolizes harmony and balance within the universe. Neither Yin or Yang are completely absolute; the two are interdepedent on each other.

But before delving on the vastness of the universe, we should first find balance within a smaller circle — our lives. Life is complex and has many dualities like man and woman, day and night, the heat and the cold. One duality that is closer to our hearts would be the ever so sought out work-life balance.

Take it as a yin-yang dynamic that is essential to achieving harmonious balance — as with most things in life, moderation is the key. In today’s fast-paced world, the ability for students and employees alike, to achieve work-life balance is becoming much more challenging. Maintaining work-life balance is not only important for one’s personal health and relationships, but it can also affect the efficiency of one’s work performance and results.

In this day and age, most of us would think that work-life balance is something we personally have to work towards achieving. The reality is that, the proper facilitation of that balance would also fall on the senior management and the organization as a whole. Fortunately, John Clements Consultants offers these initiatives. Let me share a perfect example of this with you through a photo story.

I had just recently arrived from a 15-day vacation trip from Croatia and Italy with the entire Lao family.

Surrounded by the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is surrounded by medieval castles and fortresses, ancient architecture that punctuates the Dalmatian coastline and the Istrian peninsula, and the intricate facade of their small towns. The country is also surrounded by UNESCO protected parks, natural landscapes, and ruins.

My family visited a total of 12 different cities and, later on, crossed over to the enchanting city of Venezia, Italy. We visited four different kinds of cities: coastal, mountainside, the old town, and the island type.

Rovinj was one of most gorgeous seaside towns I’ve ever been to in my entire life. The city is very rich in history and remarkable architecture, which was influenced by the Austro-Hungarian empire.

We were lucky enough to arrive during one of their holidays. Compared to the Philippines, where everyone is out of their homes during holidays, the citizens of Rovinj were all inside. There was no one in sight whilst we walked around town that evening. It was beautiful — buildings around Rovinj decorate the sea, while the traditional stone pavements, steps, and parks will charm you to live there permanently.

Cities like Dubrovnik and Split are very old UNESCO heritage-listed towns, with walls that towered through centuries. The facade remained in its original form throughout the years. No wonder the famous HBO TV series, Game of Thrones, and the recent Star Wars film wanted to film in these places!

Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, boasts of impressive fortified city walls, which are 2 kilometers long and 22 meters high. During weekend evenings, streets are transformed into a vibrant party scene. Locals and tourists party by the bay, while those who are into a more romantic scenery gather at the Old Town Plaza, where a local singer serenades the crowd.

Motovun is a charming hilltop village surrounded by majestic grey mountains. It is famous for its Venetian architecture and is also known as the Croatian Tuscany. Motovun is also famous for its fine wine. Luckily, we had a chance to go wine tasting and go on a short tour around one of the famous wineries in the region, Kozlovic. If you ever find yourself within the vicinity, make sure to grab their Mediteran or Teran wine bottles; these are definitely worth your Euros. We also visited several other cities with houses that are built atop mountain slopes, similar to Motovun’s.

Among the four city types I mentioned, the island-type city is my favorite. We visited Hvar, one of Dalmatia’s trendiest destination (especially during summer), which is known as the “party island” off the coast of Croatia. The entire island is surrounded by sunset yachts (which take tourists around the entire island during sunset) and sailboats (for local fishermen and/or those who just enjoy sailing).

It was stunning! The island’s rolling hills were adorned with bright purple flowers and vineyards at the foot of the mountains. At the top most part of the island, you will see an imposing fortification, which now serves as a viewpoint for tourists. Let these photos speak for themselves.

We knew the trip was coming to a close when we crossed over from Croatia to Italy for Venice. I have personally been to Venice twice and, for some reason, it never loses its ability to enchant its inhabitants and guests. The city draws you into its labyrinth-like streets and secret squares. The Gothic vibe of the entire city, along with the snake-like waterways will simply blow you away! We had a quick photo shoot at the Piazza de San Marco to cap the trip off.

As I bade farewell to Croatia and Venice, I had not felt any pressure to come home to the Philippines — to John Clements. The truth is, I arrived in Manila on a Thursday evening, slept the night, and went straight to work the next morning.

What I’m trying to say is that, in the world of work, wherever it may be, work-life balance is often overlooked. In most workplaces resides the masculine principle of hard work — long hours, overtime, and making results happen. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing ; in fact, these are on top of the list of qualities employers look for.

However, you must also be able to consider what’s good for your employees holistically. Being able to offer opportunities for work-life balance, even as small as time for travel, will definitely make employees happier and healthier. Most of all, this may also offer a boost in morale and an increase in productivity, creativity, and wisdom. Fortunately, this is something I get from John Clements!

Hvala, everyone! That’s “thanks” in Croatia. Until my next trip; until my next article. Have a great, balanced, and harmonious weekend ahead!

“The art of life is not seen as holding on to yang and banishing the yin, but as keeping the two in balance, because there cannot be one without the other.” — Alan Watts, Philosopher

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About the author:

At 24 years old, Carlo is currently a business development consultant for John Clements’ Executive Search and Selection Division. He is concurrently the site manager of their Bed and Breakfast in Tagaytay City, Villa Marinelli Hometelle. Furthermore, he is also part of the committee that handles the Mariano C. Lao Scholarship Program in Silliman University. Carlo graduated from the De La Salle University — Manila with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.

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