A fresh take on ideas and trends in Human Capital

Work Life Balance: Whose job is it?

Do you leave work at the office door as you lock up at 5 P.M or are you the type to keep an eye on t

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Do you leave work at the office door as you lock up at 5 P.M or are you the type to keep an eye on the e-mails through dinner at 8 o’clock? Well if we get really down to it it’s definitely a balance, there is no way if you just had a baby that you’d forget about it at work or alternatively if you were potentially getting a promotion you wouldn’t be a little nervous the night before. This has been backed up a million and one times by the research to show the balance is there for employees but what I want to ask is where do you fit on the scale?

For one it seems obvious to me that a work life balance would differ depending on the occupation and the career an individual wants to have. Some people see a job as their identify and clearly that would take up a lot of their time, alternatively some may just want that pay cheque to see them out the rest of their month and so they can get on with their life. Furthermore, this is a well-established concept in the 21st Century life how many examples can be thought up that addresses the work life balance? The main examples would be the great steps that were made for a work life balance in maternity and paternity leave/pay, however there are some developed countries such as the USA that still doesn’t offer pay. It seems that it is still very much an uphill battle when it comes to discussing how work truly fits in with a happy healthy life.

Of course it is unfair to simply leave it down to government policy to make the change, it’s not like there are legal barriers in place to stop a healthy work life balance being put in place. Last week I talked about how a company had put in place a policy to encourage their employees to get their 8 hours of sleep a night. It got me thinking, what responsibility does an organisation have to the wellbeing of its employees outside of the organisation? There is clear that when a company invests in its employees that they invest right back in several different ways, but what that is simply an organisational model and based on goals and preferences of the company. I would be interested in what is accountable to the organisation (non-legally) that a future employee would expect from the organisation, if anything at all. Should an organisation be accountable for how content their employees are with their work life balance? How much of it is down to the employee themselves? And finally at what point would an organisation’s involvement in an employee’s life become intrusive?

Once these questions start being debated and brought to the forefront of the HR discussion then the framework of the 21st Century workforce can be realised with all its potential.