In recent years, one of HR’s main roles has been to maintain the good work life balance employees. Many solutions have been put in place for this purpose. But the development of working from home, the use of new technologies like smartphones and tablets, and the evolution of our relationship to work have changed the boundary that once separated employees’ professional life from their private life. It is vital for the well-being of employees that a work-life balance is respected. A good work life balance will more likely lead to a positive employee experience.
Work life balance: a thin line
Little by little, private and professional life have become intertwined, and it is becoming common to no longer just work 5 days out of 7. This puts the work life balance out of kilter. A perfect example of employees not respecting a work life balance is that many so-called “connected” professionals check their e-mails after their work day has finished, during the weekend or while on vacation. These employees are also called “information professionals” and there were an estimated 860 million of them worldwide in 2016. They themselves recognize that they use their devices such as mobile telephones for both private and professional use. Their work life balance is practically non-existant since they spend much of their time on electronic devices for professional purposes.
This lack of work life balance has evolved with the introduction and surge of remote work, which increases the productivity and comfort of the employee but can also have negative effects, such as mixing the private and professional life. As a result, the work life balance goes down the tubes.
Measures to create a good work life balance
All the measures taken to improve the quality of life at work and the use of new communication tools encourage the employee to no longer keep their professional activities confined to working hours. In fact, according to a study conducted by IPSOS on a sample of 8,800 employees in 8 European countries: 67% admit to working outside office hours but 62% also admit to solving personal problems during these same hours. In this case, there is barely any work life balance.
On the one hand, there is the professional life that encroaches on private life and, on the other hand, private life that creeps into professional life, and this ultimately leads to a blend between the two. This trend has been named “blurring”, and can be defined as: “the gradual erasure of the boundaries between private and professional life” and the decrease in work life balance.
Opinions are divided on this new practice: the French and Germans find its influence negative while, conversely, the Chinese and Brazilians support it and think it is a good way to develop professionally. Americans, on the other hand, appreciate the comfort and feel that they are more productive, while the Australians and the English find this trend of mingling private and professional life negative.