Austria     Belgium     Brazil     Canada     Denmark     Finland     France     Germany     Hungary     Iceland     Ireland     Italy     Luxembourg     The Netherlands     Norway     Poland     Spain     Sweden     Switzerland     UK     USA     

A small new group in the labour market

Clarifying misunderstandings regarding work-life balance

Work-life balance is a hot topic among managers. That is understandable because it affects the best leaders and how they live their lives. Finding the appropriate balance between one’s work and private lives was a kind of “reinvigorated trend” for leaders in pre-COVID times. However, 2020 demanded that the scale find a new type of balance. Planning this balance is easy; however, managers tend to be on the wrong track when implementing it. Nowadays, work-life balance means that our job, which we like or love, is an integral part of our lives.

Changing thought processes

The term “work-life balance” is not firm. At least not in terms of content. So, before we discuss it, we need to understand that different generations and personality types think differently about it. In general, we can say that 20 years ago it meant “working less” and “spending more time with the family”. Several people kept articulating it back then, and it was an important goal, which could not really have been realised if we consider that generation in general. Now it has an entirely different meaning. Because of the previous generations’ private failures, young managers find it essential from the very beginning that they build up an appropriate personal life as well. They establish a balance between the two major fields of life. What is more, nowadays, we tend to go too far regarding private life. The trend “of course I work, but only to get what I want out of life” is becoming more serious. There is no problem with it; however, real employers cannot really do anything with this attitude. They need employees who can add something extra to standard work, and this expectation is becoming more widespread. These employees do not simply want to finish work to get it over with. A growing number of companies are ready to pay extra money for this attitude, but that is the point when work-life balance comes into the picture, and employees cannot be motivated, not even with an unrealistic amount of extra income.

A small group

Going from one extreme to another is not a good thing; it can even be dangerous. That much is visible in company performances and labour market trends. The biggest problem is that the two generations described based on the aforementioned examples should be working together for the company’s success. For older businesspeople, fresh impetus and a modern way of thinking are important, which can mainly be provided by the younger generations. For younger employees, experience and practical knowledge are indispensable, which they do not have, even if they try to communicate otherwise. Nevertheless, the attitude to work is completely distinct, and it is the result of the diverse interpretation of work-life balance, which is hard to be resolved. Is there no solution to this problem, then? Just because we lay into one generation or another within the company, we will have no solution. However, modern trends bring about completely different ways of thinking as well. It characterises only a small number of employees. They are the ones who had the chance, strength, and sense to choose a career in which they feel good. They do not only like their jobs, but their profession is important to them. They want to keep getting better in their careers. Of course, we all say that about ourselves; however, in most cases, there is not much truth in this sentence. I talk about employees for whom – and now comes a strong statement – work that needs to be done does not count as work in the traditional sense. It does not entail strain and sacrifice. The employee can simply deal with something they are interested in. As a result, there is no clear distinction between hours spent with work and hours spent with family and friends. The best thing is that they have partners who do not only accept this feature but also understand it. What is more, they enjoy this facet of their partners. Employers have vigorously started to look for this small group in the labour market because they are the future of companies. They can be the engines of organisations. Before you simply say that “come on, where can these people be found”, I would like to mention that I work for a company where many colleagues have this way of thinking.