Work-Life Balance in Organizations

People want an opportunity for growth and development in order to achieve mastery. So, how does this principle relate to having a work-life balance?  They relate because people seek mastery in both their personal and professional lives. When they are unable to achieve mastery in their personal lives, their ability to achieve mastery in their professional lives suffers.

All too often today’s workers spend as long as necessary getting their jobs done. This is particularly true of men. Putting in 50, 60, and 70 hour weeks is not uncommon, especially in a down economy.  Home life suffers and, ultimately, work suffers.  Workers simply cannot make a sustained contribution if they are exhausted.  How much mastery do you suppose they feel when their lives are out of balance?

People rise to become leaders and managers because they are committed people. Whether it is the expectation of their organization or their own personal drive, it doesn’t take much for them to overwork.  This is why the organization must have policies that address the problem and protect their employees. It is more sensible for organizations to encourage autonomy and creativity rather than endurance; you know, work smarter, not harder.

It is a complicated issue because the needs of individuals differ.  For people in families, especially those with children, there is a great need for protection.  They have the most trouble with extended hours, and they cannot meet the same work expectations of others without families. Companies that make demands of their workers at the expense of family involvement, whatever that is, will pay a price in unhappy and less productive workers.

The organization benefits by encouraging growth in the personal lives of its employees since this will enhance their sense of well-being and productivity. People want to feel mastery at their jobs and in their personal lives. To achieve this they need a balance.

Tom DeMaio, PhD


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