Recent reports and letters to Forum (Desire for work-life balance a sign of true maturity, Jul 17; Undergrads’ top priority: Work-life balance, Jul 10) have once again thrown the limelight on the need for work-life balance.
The need is real and important. Accenture’s 2013 Defining Success study found that more than half of its 4,100 global respondents working in medium to large organizations turned down a job due to concerns about its impact on work-life balance. And more than half (56 per cent) defined career success as work-life balance followed by money (46 per cent), recognition (42 per cent) and autonomy (42 per cent).
Work-life balance or satisfaction is about having a sense of both work and non-work goals and activities in our lives and for our family – educational, financial, recreational and spiritual goals. It’s about having a balanced view of life giving attention to our body, soul and mind, not just our career.
It really comes down to making a deliberate effort to schedule family time in our calendar, bonding with our spouse, children, extended family members, taking the time to listen to their thoughts, dreams and challenges. Flexible work arrangements (FWAs) help to make these possible.
We do need to pay closer attention to employing FWAs in our workplace. The 2009 Singapore Fatherhood Public Perception Survey indicated that 96 per cent of the fathers wanted to do more with their children but the top challenge cited was work responsibilities (63 per cent). In Accenture’s global study, 80 per cent reported that having flexibility in their work schedule is extremely or very important to work-life balance.
Making work-life satisfaction a reality requires a commitment from all concerned parties to develop closer and deeper relationships with our family and those we hold close and dear. We can all get started by taking some time to think about what the founder of Walt Disney once said: “A man should never neglect his family for business” and how we can make this happen for ourselves and those we work with.
Focus on the Family Singapore