Daddy, what did work life balance mean?
It was never easy, but in the old days many things were much more fixed and certain than they now are.
For example I remember the working hours in my first job were designated as 9-30 to 5-25 precisely and even my more senior colleagues were rarely expected to extend their working days much beyond that.
The absence of mobile phones and internet connections meant that work contact outside of designated hours was exceptional.
Just about the only overlap between work and social life (aside from one funding the other) was the Sports and Social Club.
Some years later I remember my client Nestle pioneering the concept of flexi-time for their office staff and management. It seems odd now that it seemed odd then! But it has de facto become the norm of course and hence the development of the illusive concept of work/life balance.
Nowadays, given how dramatically things have continued to change with the boundaries blurring between work and home, employer and customer, spokesperson and audience (to mention just a few) I believe work life balance is an outmoded concept.
In it’s place I propose ‘Work/Life integration”
The difference may appear subtle, but command and control styles of management simply don’t work in this empowered and informed age, so the whole organisation needs to unite behind a clear and compelling vision.
It’s an ideal that both businesses and individuals can aspire to.
Finding a central motivating purpose that powerfully unites businesses with their employees and other key stakeholders is the pre-requisite, but almost as important is communicating it.
To misquote Descartes “ We communicate, therefore we are”