Cyclonic thinking…

Work-Life Balance (1)

Image by intermayer via Flickr

Have you noticed how one of the most common workspeak conversation topics is work-life balance

Work-life balance: a broad concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) on one hand and “life” (pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development) on the other. Related, though broader, terms include “lifestyle balance” and “life balance”. (wikipedia.org

The whole subject of work-life balance is one of those subjects that tends to warm the underside of my collar, let me explain… According to the ‘experts’ (whoever they may be), a prevalent thing called workweek creep is one of the major negative impacts upon the balancing process. 

Workweek Creep: 1) Constant connectivity via your smartphone and computer blurs the boundaries between your work life and your personal life. 2) Constant connectivity at work via e-mail & chat, results in so many interruptions that you cannot get blocks of time to do any thinking, resulting in you catching up on your work at home on nights and weekends. (urbandictionary.com

Shouldn’t the actual ‘balance’  process be applied by the individual and not be an expectation they have of their employer? This whole annoying ideology is one that (in my experience) is incredibly prevalent in public sector workers. It is also one actually promoted by managers, often to the detriment of other employees. 

Take the emergency services as an example, which has a 24/7 role requirement. If you hand out ‘flexible working‘ options willy nilly, you must make provision to cover the time they are absent from the task, it’s not rocket science. Yes I’m aware of the legislation covering child care and paternity leave allowances etc however, there are managers in these organisations who are desperate to show how they ‘value’ their workforce. That would be fine if it were actually true but unfortunately it very often isn’t. What gives them the right to throw public money down the drain in overtime payments to cover shortages etc? And, who actually developed bloody ‘flexible working’ legislation? Politicians and their public sector workforce, that’s who!. 

The whole process often results in resentment between full and part-time staff and develops the opposite of what managers are trying to achieve. Inadequately managed flexible working arrangements within any organisation, to the detriment of the remaining workforce, are totally counter productive. But I digress… 

I’m sure most of us would like to work for as little time as possible for as much money as possible but get real people. If that really is your ultimate nirvana, don’t expect to work for someone else! Get a part-time job, go work for yourself, be an entrepreneur, “do some cyclonic thinking and invent a bloody vacuum cleaner Mr Dumbson”. Please don’t have the neck to expect an employer to pay you for doing nothing because, realistically that’s what you are often asking for. Given the shit state of our national economy and the massive public sector over spends, is it really fair to dump that expectation on the taxpayer? Sometimes the employer has just as much trouble with the workstool as the employee. 

To achieve this magic work-life balance, there is a need to get real. There is no requirement for worksturbation, and you don’t have to be constantly at the organisations beck and call. If you choose that work ethic it is your choice but don’t complain about your shit work-life balance. You could have just been diligent and productive but you chose to be part of society’s moronic worksick monkeys. 

In addition, what public sector managers really have to understand is; to promote an effective work-life balance within their workforce, it has to actually be managed effectively by competent managers… That’s buggered it then! 

It really doesn’t have to be that way, just develop some time-management skills and some testicular fortitude… Being so workxicated is likely to lead you to an early grave! 

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 06-09-2010, in Business Babble, Leadership & Management, Public Service Babble, Society Babble and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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