By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist
The invention of electricity had a huge impact on productivity. Not only did electricity power the machines but it also lit up the workplace. Farm labor was limited to the availability of sunlight. The factories could keep grinding away even after sunset. That lit up the workplace and created the notion of people working in shifts as labor legislation stepped up. The Factories Act tells the employer that an adult (more than 18 years old) cannot work more than 48 hours in a week and not more than 9 hours in a day at most.
Most Indians are doing much more.
The result: 60% of Indians rate their work-life to be “average or terrible”.
Health and relations are both impacted
After electricity it was technology, that impacted how, when and where we work. With 350mn smartphone users and 400mn internet users, India ranks number two in the world for the hyperconnected population. The mobile created the flexibility to work from home but it also killed the notion of the work day. Work is no longer limited to the office premises or even the work-week.
The employee is expected to be on an electronic leash on weekends, at all times and even while on vacation. Office mails, SMS, WhatsApp messages, phone calls and many other apps will ping and remind you about your overflowing mailbox no matter where you are. Stress and burnout are common by products of this lifestyle.
Commuting adds many more hours to the workday. With nuclear families, most people struggle to balance the demands of work and the family. Men and women crave to spend more time with the families. Poor WL Balance impacts relations with our loved ones.
In a recent survey by Monster India, 76% men and 82% women wanted to be ‘segmenters’ – people who create clearly defined boundaries between their personal and work lives. Leaving work on time and having “me time” would leave them rejuvenated the respondents felt. There is no better time for employers to rethink why having WL balance is a conscious choice they must make.
Work-Life Balance as an Investment
Electricity changed when we work. Mobiles changed where we work. AI is going to change why we need a human to do the work.
Rule-based and repetitive work is increasingly being automated. We will need humans to do what does not fit into the rule-book. This will be the golden age of ideas and innovation. If the employers want to stay ahead, they must look at work-life balance as a strategic choice that helps people stay creative. Productivity as a measure will get replaced by impact. A time strapped brain on a treadmill may improve the hours logged but does not generate better ideas. Innovation needs time for us to join the dots that were previously not connected. As the Monster tagline suggests, “Find Better Faster”. Are the employers listening?
Read the original post Written for Monster India on 1 June 2019 <click here>