How to negotiate a proper work-life balance
- Stop feeling guilty
- Say No
Say No: Don’t be surprised. Starting with the negative is a deal breaker for many employers but then you win some, you lose some. In this case, if you are negotiating for a new job, let them know that your weekends are yours and you will be unable to compromise on it. You may lose the opportunity, however, you can support your claim by highlighting your efficiency and your need for personal time. For those of you already in a job, learn to say ‘No’ when asked to do office work in your personal or vacation time. Nowadays, HRs are more accommodating.
Stop feeling guilty: Most of us prefer to wallow in misery rather than ask the HRs or bosses for a change in our office timings or holiday schedule. The issue stems from guilt and fear. It is double-edged because you fear that your boss may say no and you feel guilty that you will be jeopardising your chances at promotion or incentives. This build of guilt makes resent the company and ultimately it will affect your work. So learn to ask for what you want. At most, you may be rejected but you should not feel guilty at having to seek personal time for yourself.
Learn to manage your time better: When it comes to balance it depends mostly on time management. Why do you find yourself spending nights in office or working overtime, is it because your boss is a tough taskmaster or is it because you did not manage to give work on time? Look within and see where the problem lies, your boss can help you only when you have a good work history to back up your claim with. Leave work in the office and stop carrying it home as baggage which you offload on family. With proper time management you will no longer need to approach your boss because you would have found the solution yourself.
Share your load at home: When work does not help, then look how much you can accommodate from your side. Don’t be stuck on the one train of thought that you have no life outside work. It will happen if your personal time is also well managed. Ask your parents, spouse or kids to pitch in with chores at home. In case you stay alone, try to make a routine which fits in both work and fun equally.
Suggest flexible timings: Most employers agree on it. Understand the company’s policies however. Speak with your boss keeping in mind your job’s responsibility while suggesting the timings. Make sure it keeps the company’s priorities first; show a plan to your boss, how you plan delegate your work during these times and that deadlines will be met. Communication is the key. Without you speaking up how will you get your message across?
Find a new job: If the organisational policies do not allow for a leeway of any kind and you are at your wits end, then it is highly recommended you start looking for a new job. You can only be productive if you are well rested and happy at a workplace. With personal and work also intruding in each other’s time, you are bound to snap or create friction at home and work. Finding a job is easier said than done, but a change from a restrictive atmosphere will work wonders for your creativity. Use this as the last measure.