EASING WORK – LIFE BALANCE FOR ALL: FLEXIBLE WORKING HOURS
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” — Quote by Carl Sandburg, a poet
The ripple effects of the Covid – 19 pandemic of 2019 is being strongly felt across the world from Brazil to Europe to India in the summer of 2021. India is in the middle of the 2nd wave, Europe 3 or 4th wave, and Brazil in continuous flow. With lockdowns and curfews the order of the day, most companies are letting or willing to let the employees work from home. This is most welcomed by all especially to prevent community transmissions. The WFH scenario allows all to be productive as well as manage unique home situations such as taking care of kids, elders, or invalids.
WFH model also has its negative sides with employees expected to work longer hours, be available for calls/meetings at the drop of a hat, anytime and bosses feel employees are slacking off (which research after research is just the opposite with productivity up by 10 to 15%). Burnouts can be prevented by WFH as well as high attrition levels and casting a wider net of the talent pool, so as this brief summary indicates WFH is a win–win for companies and they should encourage the same.
The management of the companies can enforce a culture of work-life balance / flexible hours in the following ways:
Set an upper limit of work hours per day for the entire company. So, whether people are WFH or in–office or a hybrid mix, not more than 8 or 9 hours a day should be a limit set. Some wish to work early morning, some late at night, be flexible.
Encourage your employees / team members to recharge and take breaks from office tech such as emails, video calls, chats and CRMs. A culture of disconnect should be fostered from the very top.
Set an example of work-life balance in your personal life. People will emulate leadership.
Encourage employees to take vacations that are due to them. No negatives for taking breaks or frowning.
Fix the company’s communication hours. No one needs to be working or be available 24 x 7. Discourage work and communication outside of these hours. Personal time means personal time; don’t let it be over run for your company’s sake.
Weekends should be ‘no work’ period, unless urgency is the order of the day. Very rare occasions should demand employees to work on weekends.
For companies to thrive and gain traction as ‘great places to work’, it’s important to encourage work-life balance, WFH, flexible hours and so on. People should work in such companies and companies need to encourage this as part of their values, culture, and mission.