Wednesday, 29 March 2017

What does work-life balance mean to you?


When you’re a newcomer to the workplace, there’s sometimes an expectation that you should clock in early, endure late nights and have lunch at your desk.

Why?

To demonstrate your worth with an unspoken promise that the ‘reward’ of downtime will duly come as you move up the ranks.

While many young guns (and even seasoned veterans) are happy to jump at the opportunity to prove themselves by undertaking additional work, it begs the question: Do you need to sacrifice your personal life for the sake of your career? Or is that an antiquated notion?

‘Personal hours’ and ‘work hours’ can become increasingly blurred in a new role, especially when you’re trying to make headway. According to a report by Randstad, over 51 per cent of workers are now expected to answer work calls outside traditional office hours. This expectation also extends to annual leave, where 41 per cent of workers believe they should be available, despite having ‘clocked off’.


Does being ‘on call’ make you a better worker?


The same report found that, if there was a greater expectation on employees to work beyond traditional hours, the likelihood of them dealing with personal matters at work would increase.

It also suggested that the line between strictly work and strictly personal matters is now obscured due to the intrusiveness of technological developments such as smartphones and social media.

So, a lack of work-life balance could interfere with your work productivity more than you might think.


The case for work-life balance


Contrary to the work ethos that many seniors expect of young recruits, a study by HR magazine reports that two in five junior-level employees actually believe that maintaining a healthy work-life balance helps them work more productively.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean set-in-stone hours should be the only option, it does encourage the belief that your routine work hours should comfortably and healthily fit into your overall ‘life’ schedule – no matter which rung of the career ladder you are on.

According to the same study, while a large portion of junior workers preferred to mix their personal and work lives, this was true across a smaller cross-section of senior managers and directors. While you may be consider networking an out-of-hours activity, senior employees will consider it an additional ‘in-hours’ commitment.


The solution


Work-life balance is about creating and maintaining a supportive, healthy work environment. This should, in turn, strengthen companies’ employee retention and employees’ productivity on the job.

While, for younger employees, this environment might include activities such as networking, older employees are interested in seeing quantitative results.

As with most things in life, moderation is key. It’s a balancing act between what is expected of you as a new recruit and the tactics that will most impress your employers.

Work-life balance is the first step to having a tax career that soars. While certain parts of the year will call for overtime, it’s important to keep it in perspective. And, if you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed, be sure to communicate your situation to your manager.


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