We often hear about work-life balance or how organizations are trying to balancing employees’ private life needs and work commitments. But are we sure that work-life balance strategies are working correctly?
If you think about your experience (fortunately not all organizations are like this), your company definitely has some programs that seek to improve this aspect ; your private life, right? Obviously in this post I’m not going to criticize companies that offer these initiatives, so far from that intention; we have to appreciate attempts but anyway we have to think more about how these programs really work.
First examples that came to my mind are discounts for certain activities, sports , chance to work from home or reduction of working time or the so-called fridays off . On the other hand , for the latter point, there is the whole issue of flexibility thanks to external connections to corporate mailboxes and smartphones, but this is another story. I would go instead to be focused on “who ” are beneficiaries of work-life balance programs , because the question arises right here. The fact is that all the programs mentioned above aim at the individual and often do not involve other people a part from individual organization contributor . It’s true that the number of singles exponentially is increasing , a clear example is Italy , but it seems that the work life balance programs are made only for singles ! I say so because collateral activities that involve friends, families or increasing quality of time off from work , are often absent, Simply , organizations should complete what are doing now with anything that can create real time for recovering , not something that get it busier . Promoting cinema discounts it is ok , but could a laundry subscription paid by company be better ? Or an help with houseworks ? It should just be something aiming to save time for you and people around you. For example, if you come home at 9.00 pm and you have to iron , where does the balance of your home – work go ? You change commitments from work to home ones, but you always have a commitment and you have less time for your loved. Clearly an attempt to “buy” time also works on gender lack of balance , specifically with regard to certain tasks that are often assigned to women (historically at least in the context of where I am; I do not agree obviously but it is another matter).
Organization must therefore help employees to save time promoting discounts for activities that maybe are not cool and appealing; but how do you feel if you go home and your shirts are already ironed ?I know that you would like to have it already this evening with your pile of clothes to be ironed absolutely vanished and you can spend time in million different ways. This is something that will help you really relaxing, eliminating also “toxic” stress and being really recovered for following work days. A real work-life balance program.