A recent conversation with a veteran with over 30 over years of experience has sparked an interesting food for thought. To him, all these years, work has not been a breeze. The motivation, when he was younger, was that to work harder during his younger days so that when he get old, he will have an easier life. However, he shared that as he progresses up the corporate ladder, responsibility and work has been loading him, causing his life to only get busier. Eventually, he comes to realise that he has devoted a large part of his life into working, missing out other important things in life. Therefore, he urged juniors like us to while working, we should not neglect our family, well being and personal time for own growth.
This advice has leads me to another thought which sometimes it get me wonder that with the advances in technology over the past century, how come workers are still working just as hard or even harder than in the past. Worst still, many peers shared that sometimes the reasons for working over-time might be for stuffs that are non-enriching or not contributing to the true productivity of the organisation. Example is like spending time over editing a presentation.
Studies have shown that working for longer hours do somehow has negative effect on our level of productivity. With the fatigue and frustration, we are subjecting ourself to less time and energy to uncover our creativity that might have the chance of reaping greater benefits for us and the society.
Working longer hours has also shown to associate with poor health and higher mortality rates. Chronic stress could lead to unnecessary anxiety and worry that result to depression. In other words, we might be risking our lives by working pro-longed hours!
This possibly strikes the outcry for the need of work-life balance among employees. But with all the clamours for this balance why isn’t this happening in an instance? David Spencer, a professor of Economics and Political Economy gives five reasons why is it so:
1. Employer Power
The decline of unions coupled with a more flexible labour market (meaning less job security) have granted employers more power to maintain work hours that suit their economical interests.
Workers are swayed by mass advertising and sophisticated marketing to demand more goods and services – this, in turn requires that they work more
Workers are more likely to enter into competitive forms of consumption and to feel more pressure to work longer where levels of inequality are high. Evidence shows that countries with higher inequality tend to have longer work hours.
4. Household Debt
The buildup of household debt, especially in US and UK, has put added pressure on workers to work longer.
Gadgets such as iPhones and laptops have meant that workers an be at work even when commuting to and from work or at home.
No matter what reason you are working for, your passion, business, money, do remember that it should not be eating up your entire time. Other aspects of life are equally important such as your health, your relationship with family and friends, your own personal time for growth and creativity. All these will give you a complete and better life and for sure, your level of happiness and satisfaction will be higher. In turn, your company will stand to benefit from having happy and satisfied employees around in the organisation.