I published my thesis on work life balance last year in 2014 and have since developed a profound interest in a number of HR subjects. I have come across a number of people who assert that they work too long hours and feel that their employers seem insatiable of their presence at the work place. My question is, do employers believe that the longer their employees stay at work the more productive they are? In my opinion this is an extraordinary misnomer. How can a person who works 12-14 hours a day be productive consistently? Then there is the employee who stays at work really late to impress the employer, sacrificing precious time that can be spent with loved ones; spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends? This is a case of both bad managers and equally bad employees. Managers and leaders whose foibles are canvassed in long working hours, perceived as productivity and employees who masquerade as hard working members of the organisation while they play Sudoku or solitaire on their company issued computers are both guilty of wasting organizational resources.
I do sympathise with the employees because in this dog-eat-dog world and with mounting pressure on competition in the era of budget and job cuts, one is plunged into proving oneself above ones colleagues. This may result in senseless and unproductive hours at the office to protect one’s employment status quo. It is even more apparent in the less developed parts of the world where the cost of education, health care and decent housing is prohibitive. People become more desperate in such situations, forcing them to do whatever it takes to remain in employment even if it is at the sacrifice of being absent at home and ubiquitous at the place of work, even when they are not physically at the place of work e.g. taking work home, responding to emails in the early hours of the day and at the weekend. Alas, this is lamentable.
Someone once asked- what is the point of going through life using our health to gain wealth and when all is said and done using the wealth gained to buy back out health? Folks, in my opinion it is a catch-22 and can only be addressed by individuals, it is about setting the right primacies! Remember, it is all about you.
Food for thought:
“According to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that ranked its 34 member countries on work-life balance, the United States comes in 29th in the category, which the report attributes to long work hours and a lack of social activities,” while in Denmark where people spend u to six hours a day on leisure, comes at the top! Source- https://agenda.weforum.org/2014/12/the-best-countries-for-work-life-balance/