Nowadays a new professional challenge is no longer attractive only because of salary or contractual issues. People now demand quality of life and a work-life balance, which has been gaining considerable weight in decision making.
This concept is called work-life balance and reinforces the importance of a healthy work-life equilibrium. In other words, the employee reaches an ideal point where he has time and willingness to devote himself to other areas of his daily life, which can be health, family, personal relationships, or even leisure.
It’s interesting to acknowledge that this concept is not perceived in the same way by everyone. The perceptions of what this balance may differ from country to country. The Better Life Index is a metric that compares this concept around the world, and from where interesting insights can be drawn. For example, the Netherlands has the best index, where only 0.4% of workers work overtime, the lowest rate in the OECD, which has an average of 11%. From all the countries where SISQUAL is present, the United Kingdom has the worst rate: 12.2% of workers work overtime, followed by Portugal with 8.3%, Brazil with 7.1%, Poland with 6% and Spain with 4%.
What are the consequences of the lack of balance between personal and professional life?
From an employee perspective, the lack of harmony between the personal and professional spheres can bring a number of negative consequences, of which I highlight:
- Stress and Burnout – a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged work-related stress
- Sleep Difficulties
- Deteriorating family and social relationships that may lead to a state of isolation
- Physical problems: back pain, tendonitis, headaches, and muscular pains
From the company’s point of view, this condition could have three major impacts:
- Reduction of productivity: a greater demotivation with the work leads to a loss of interest, which may affect the feeling of professional achievement
- Teamwork is hampered
- Loss of ability to understand emotionally others – cutting relationships and interpersonal communication in a professional environment
How can the HR act?
First of all, it is essential that the Human Resources department is prepared to identify possible symptoms of Burnout as well as the best practices to avoid them. Within these, we highlight three:
1) Promoting communication between managers and employees
It is imperative to maintain a pleasant and motivating working environment, where internal communication is optimized through open channels of dialogue. Developing a leadership mindset that is transformative of the organizational culture makes the relationship between the team and the leader closer, helping to maintain a relationship of personal and professional belonging and appreciation.
2) Professional recognition
The good professional deserves to be recognized. Therefore, besides offering fair remuneration and adequate benefits, the company should invest in professional recognition. For that, it will be important to create a challenging environment that rewards good performance. Here the SISQUAL Bonus module appears as an ally: this is an engine for calculating productivity bonuses, tailor-made and easily linked to wage processing.
3) Provide means for individual decision making
When the employee feels that he participates in the decision-making process of matters that influence his day-to-day life in the company, the sense of commitment to it is strengthened. The SISQUAL Quality of Life Portal module offers your team a tool to control their schedules and provide a balance between personal and professional life. Employees are thus able to manage schedules, exchange shifts, request holidays, free days, and justify absences.
It is important to recognize the existence of this problem, which unfortunately may grow in the future. In our last article, we talked about Burnout as one of the trends for the post-pandemic world. The sudden consolidation of the home office has brought some negative points, and employees who have suddenly moved to this regime may be more prone to physical and mental exhaustion. This is mainly due to the fact that there is no determined limit that helps to separate work from personal life that happens when we leave the office, for example.
We are all subject to physical and mental exhaustion due to overwork, however, this can be avoided if companies understand that the mental health of their employees is essential not only for their own well-being but also for the productivity of their teams.
Written by Cristina Meireles
Cristina Meireles has a special interest in marketing, psychology, HR and Employer Branding. She has found in WFM a way to improve the quality of life and productivity of employees, being a strong ally in motivational campaigns. She has a degree in Languages and Business Relations from the Faculty of Letters of the University of Porto and is currently attending the masters in digital marketing from ISCAP.