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Happy Holidays

Whenever I talk to friends who are coming to the end of their studies, or who have just started working, I have never heard them say that they expect to only work 9-5 and not do any overtime!

In a highly competitive working environment, young professionals are expected to do more than the customary, especially in the early stages of their careers. Which, in most cases, seems to be the unwritten deal of the employment contract.

On the other hand, I recently attended a presentation by an occupational physician that was addressed to senior executives. He talked about the need of physical and emotional compensation for employees to prevent work-related psychological and physical breakdowns.

As I looked around the room I saw many senior executives agreeing with this theory! The speaker then presented some research and used case examples of companies that have increased employee satisfaction and motivation by offering sports-programs at the cost of working-hours.

I felt somewhat confused by this seemingly contradictory trade-off. There appeared to be an expectation on employees to work overtime, yet during this presentation, an apparent agreement at C-level that employees required work hour dispensation to favour their long-term wellbeing.

Does that mean it would be appropriate for an employee to reschedule an important meeting because it clashed with their spin class, which was one key dimension to their healthy work-life balance? I admit that this is an extreme example heavily favouring the life side of the work-life balance, but is this what we have to look forward to in the future?

At the other extreme, I was also asking myself if my boss would really notice, and more importantly value emails and updates at 11pm, on weekends or during well-deserved holidays.

The point that I am trying to make is: Have you ever analysed if your boss’s expectations of you, and what you think is expected from you is the same? Maybe you think that working late every day is something expected of you, but maybe your boss thinks that all this overtime could contribute to your stress levels and productivity.

There’s no doubt that the work-life balance issue is a challenging one. But it is essential to gain an understanding on the best approach to take at your firm, maybe through observation and common sense.

When I asked myself about how I want to handle the work-life balance, I concluded that I really have to be adaptable upon the situation I am faced with at a particular point in time. I am going to change the balance as my priorities change.

I am pretty sure that I’ll spend plenty of hours at the office working overtime finishing important projects, but I hope to always find the right balance to keep myself healthy, prevent burnout and stay productive.

What is your approach to handle the work-life-balance?

I don’t know if it was possible to follow my mercurial thoughts today, but the message I wanted to deliver is:
It’s Christmas!!! Use the holidays to take some time off. Enjoy spending time with your family and friends, reflect on this last year, and treat yourself well. Don’t think about work too much, and when you do go back to work in the New Year, do so with a refreshed mind, motivated and enthusiastic.

eMusketeers wishes you very happy christmas and a prosperous new year.

Categories: Sebastian
  1. December 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    By Chance the HBR Management Tip happened to focus on the same topic just today:
    http://hbr.org/tip?date=122311

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