Corporate Life & GenY

Why is work-life balance such a hot topic, and how do you get it?

One of the cries in recent years is for “work-life balance”.  I am all for it – but what do I really mean? How will I know when I am balanced? Is your balance the same as mine? Doesn’t it vary? ….So how do we measure something so subjective?

Work-life balance is a relatively recent demand. The question it raises to me is, what is it about general corporate life that has created this need?

Recently Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, commented at a recent US conference saying, “there’s no such thing as work-life balance”; which there may well be some truth in. In fact how many professionals do get it, with the long working hours they are doing these days – quite often just to remain employed.

Could work-life balance be a personal measure and therefore subjective? Why is it two people may have the same job, working hours and pressures, yet one may feel that their work-life is out of control and lacking balance whilst the other may be perfectly content?

From “Six Figures” online magazine for Executives : One of the thought leaders in the talent space, Kevin Wheeler, explores the topic in “Is there a future for work / life balance?

“In the article, Kevin explains the evolution of work from the agricultural to the industrial age and the varying attitudes that people held towards work during these eras. “The concept of work and life being somehow distinct from each other is a recent construct. There was no work/life balance in the 17th, 18th, 19th, or for most of the 20th centuries.”

“We have entered a new age, the technological age and as such a whole new set of values appear to be evolving around work attitudes, balance and how to reconcile the two. This is a very interesting and thought provoking article by Kevin Wheeler and well worth a read, including all the comments. It is an important topic for employers and employees alike to ge

“Enter Gen-Y!”: What I find incredibly interesting is the increasing overlay of a new set of values on corporate culture by GenY. As the Six Figures article points out, 20thcentury corporate life has been largely managed by Baby Boomers.  But Gen Y aggressively questions the traditional corporate values of working in one place and dividing that from the rest of one’s life. Are we seeing work being reinvented?  — are we seeing work transitioning to something more ‘TRIBAL’ – “making it an engaging experience where friends and families interact together all the time, teach each other, share workloads, and find emotional connections that have been purged from corporate life as we have known it” ?

How do you see this inter-connectedness of work-home-life working in a corporate culure?

What issues will Managers face? What issues do employees face, and how can this be managed simply and effecitively?