Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 28th 2014 Contents SBG12 COMMENTARY
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt DECEMBER 28 • 2014
The dawn of a new year is upon
us and this is a time when
many of us make new year's
resolutions and think of the
many goals we want to
achieve. For some of us, one
such goal will be to achieve work and life bal-
Work--life balance is about prioritising work
(jobs and ambition) and lifestyle (which includes
health, family personal growth, financial, phys-
ical well-being, hobbies and that very special
person in our lives).
As we welcome 2015 and focus our thoughts
and energies to leading a more fulfilling life,
it is important we know the areas of our lives
that are important and what will bring us suc-
cess. Once we are clear on this, we can then
set our goals and action steps to making this
Zig Ziglar, a well-known author and moti-
vational speaker, said: "I believe that being
successful means having a balance of success
stories across the many areas of your life. You
can't truly be considered successful in your
business life if your home life is in shambles."
Professional life coaches use a tool called
the Wheel of Life, which helps someone con-
sider each area of their lives in turn and assess
what's off balance.
As such, it helps the person to identify the
areas that need more attention.
The figure above shows that our careers are
only part of our lives. We are far more and
finding a balance is something we must strive
for.Work-life balance (WLB) is about people
feeling satisfied with the way they divide their
time and energy between paid work and all
the others areas of our lives.
Some of the issues with WLB include the
• Caring for our elders, children and life
• Health and wellness;
• Church and community groups.
• Educational pursuits;
• Hobbies and recreational activities.
These are issues that are important to all of
us. It is our individual responsibility to ensure
we find the right amount of time to attend to
them. However, unpredictable demands from
our jobs can impact on achieving the right bal-
ance between our workplace and all the other
hats we wear.
Employers who are open-minded and under-
stand what happens at work influences what
happens in the rest of our lives, assist employees
in making WLB possible.
The benefits to the employee: it opens up
a greater range of choices about work and
careers; reduces the need to sacrifice one for
the other and increase the satisfaction achieved
Employers have also found that by making
WLB possible for their employees, they stand
to attract a wide range of candidates when they
are recruiting new employees. They will also
see an increase in productivity, staff morale and
improve employee relations.
Every organisation will approach WLB dif-
ferently, however, the ones who follow a similar
path and work in partnership with all its stake-
holders will reap the benefits.
The following checklist outlines the key steps
for developing a WLB practices in the organ-
Management support: Involve the right
employees or, if unionised, get them involved
in the process. Set up a working group that
will assist in developing a strategy for WLB in
In trying to make it easier for staff to achieve
a satisfactory WLB, it will not be possible to
treat everybody the same way. Different jobs,
different work pressures and different personal
needs will require various solutions.
Current reality: The culture in every organ-
isation is unique, therefore, you must identify
what is needed to develop the strategy; decide
how you are going the gather and analyse the
information which you will use to create the
strategy. Having all stakeholders involved is
crucial to the success of information gather-
Identify possible solutions: WLB issues
vary from organisation to organisation. It
depends on the nature of the business, size,
location etc. Some solutions should include
open communication of relevant issues, need
for flexible working hours, job design (full-time,
part-time, job-sharing) and initiatives to stream-
line planning and reporting of workload.
Implement the strategy: not only does
the content of a WLB strategy need to be tailored
to your organisation, but the way you implement
that strategy will need to be custom ised as
well. Focus on becoming knowledgeable about
the organisation and its culture, decide whether
to have formal or informal policies and spend
time on marketing your WLB strategy to the
Measuring and maintaining progress:
what gets measured gets done, therefore, it is
equally important to know what is actually
making a difference and not only how many
solutions are implemented.
Measuring progress will help identify what
is working, what needs modifying or where
an alternative approach might be needed. It
will also ensure that initiatives are prioritised,
limited resources are targeted and convince
managers and employees of the value of the
organisation's WLB strategy.
Organisations that decide to take an active
role in WLB will join many forward-thinking
businesses around the world. These organi-
sation show they care about how issues in the
workplace impact upon the many "hats" their
employees must wear and how they can find
Finding and implementing the right com-
bination of win-win solutions to meet the
needs of all stakeholders, is not a quick fix.
There will be need to revisit the strategy from
time to time as the internal and external factors
of the organisation change.
Work and life balance requires all hands on
deck as we must take ownership of our own
well-being. However, employers need to under-
stand if they look after their employees, they
will be more motivated and engaged in their
As former CEO of General Electric, Jack
Welch, said "control your own destiny, or
someone else will."
Nashroon Mohammed, BA (Hons), Dip
LC, CCC, CLTMC is a career coach and medi-
ator with the Mediation Board of T&T. She
is also a member with International Coach
Federation (ICF) and board member of
Work and life balance
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