Maybe this is one of my semantic hang-ups, but much of the conversation around the issue of work-life balance is becoming a bit of a pet peeve for me. I am in absolute agreement that employers need to do more accommodating to meet the unique needs of an increasingly complex workforce, but in my perspective “work-life balance” is a flawed framework. To me, “work-life balance” speaks to an antiquated belief that I have two separate identities….”work Joe” and “home Joe”, and that my employer needs to support me in balancing the two.
I may keep it to myself, but I am going to bring whatever is going on at home to work with me. And today we have more going on at home than at any time in the past. There are more families with two wage earners in the workforce now than ever before, and there are more people in the workforce now that have dependent children and / or parents at home than ever before…so, as employees we have “stuff going on.”
While it is easy for employers to support employees spending time working while they are home in the evening or over the weekend, it requires a greater understanding of human capital for those organizations to support employees taking care of “personal stuff” while at work.
To me this issue is really about:
-measuring productivity rather than activity
-hiring the right people
I think that it is about these things much more than it is about on-site dry cleaning or oil changes, but it seems that most of the conversation around this issue is about “programs and perks” more than the org culture and the actual employer-employee relationship.
Maybe I am out in left field on this, it would not be the first time. Interested in your perspective on this.