80% of the colleagues think that our job lacks of work-life balance. While our manager was trying to rationalise the finding and suggest a superficial advice to convince the co-workers that things could be better, I made an attempt to help him identify the real cause.
In my past job and current, overtime is nothing rare. I could be working until mid-night and felt well-balanced, but could also be knocking off slightly after normal work hour yet finding the additional 30 minutes OT utterly unjustifiable. The difference between the 2 scenarios, is how enjoyable and fulfilled I feel at the end of the day. The survey result of 80% does not mean 20% of our colleagues never checked their emails or answering business phone calls after work hour. It just means that vast majority of the team do not believe their additional efforts make a difference.
Apparently I hit the point. A senior colleague immediately continued at where I left by giving an example of what frustrates him – no matter how much emails he finishes after work hour, the backlog of his work gets longer still, and he does not feel it will ever get cleared up. Work-life-balance is not an overtime statistics, it is a feeling towards the effectiveness and satisfaction of work.
I should further relate my conclusion with my own past experiences. Once I worked with a consulting firm for a while as full time employee, the workplace was so chaotic and unprofessional, even though I had no problem leaving the office before 6 pm most of the time, the sense of unable to achieve anything kept haunting me every waking moment, and what’s worse, gave me terrible insomnia. The work was literally eating into my personal life! On the other hand, my 2 years work with EMSIS GmbH was very demanding, in terms of both time and expectations. But I would still say without a slight hesitation that those 2 years were the pinnacle of my career so far, for the sense of fulfillment I got from the value-creation work I delivered to both of my clients and colleagues. Work-life-balance? this topic had never crossed my mind.