Do not focus on “work-life balance”

Executive summary: Instead of “work-life balance”, executives should focus on creating great places to work.

 

Instead of talking about "work-life balance", we shall focus on bringing life back to the workplace.

 

The expression “work-life balance” has always disturbed me. The subtle link it establishes between work and being dead is just demoralizing. It suggests to accept that work belongs to the dark side of life, that it has to be a self-serving, mindless daily struggle with low productivity. Our task is to avoid getting deeply involved and to survive our working hours.

I think this is counter-productive, because it dismisses work as an important source of meaning and fulfillment. If we aim to survive work instead of thriving in it, we only use a tiny fraction of our creativity and productivity. And where low productivity leads us? To more time spent working. I think this is a key reason why we still haven’t achieved the 4-day workweek.

The solution is pretty simple. Instead of talking that much about “work-life balance” as we do now, we shall focus on bringing life back to the workplace. It’s just another thing that you, the executive can change for the better. With determination, focus, understanding and perseverance. And the help of your employees.

2 Comments
  • David Marti

    2019-02-21 at 1:46 pm Reply

    I agree totally Jan, great post to think about it. I think the precious stone is to find what you love, and fall in love with your work. Warm Regards from Barcelona.

    • Jan Farkas

      2019-02-22 at 9:15 pm Reply

      Great, David! I think it’s true for many, but there are lots of others who don’t have a predetermined passion, but are willing to “meld” with their job and company if they’re shown how much value their work contributes. It takes leadership to take them from “I do this job” to “I love this job”. And great leadership is certainly a sign of a great workplace.

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