Expert Says Work-Family Life Balance Is Not Just Millennial Thing; It's A Human Thing
Today's fast-paced business world continues to require more commitment, more time, and more involvement from employees. With telecommunications connecting individuals to their bosses 24/7, more employees are required to answer to work-related matters even outside their work hours.
The boundaries of work and non-work have really started to erode, as more people prefer to work as freelance employees, with work-from-home setups, or opt for flexible schedules. And with increasing digital tasks and a digital workplace setup, employers also feel entitled to expect results from their employees even though they are outside of the workplace.
But according to a business management expert and professor, while a hard-worker who always prioritizes work and career is set up for bigger things, individuals who make sure they have the right balance of work and family could turn out to be a much more holistic and productive employees.
This advice comes from Dr. Maria Victoria “Avic” Caparas, a professor at the University of Asia and the Pacific School of Management, who has completed her Ph.D in the Unversity of Navarre in Spain and her Masters degree in Business and Administration from the University of London. We recently got to talk to her at the Asia HR Summit 2018, where she talked about how work-life balance is an important aspect that companies should be giving attention to.
Dr. Caparas has always been a business and management expert, zooming in on maximizing human resource and capital to produce maximum profit—until one day, she realized that work-life balance is a calling she has been beckoned to advocate.
“As a professor, I see the students and I really see that they need more affection, more love. It's not just technical, they need family life. Sometimes, I wonder if their parents saw them leave the house, if they would be much better if their parents talked to them more,” Dr. Caparas says. “That's when I realized, it's time to go to the parents. It's time to hold seminars about family-work life balance, and create an awareness that career is okay, it's good to be successful, but there are different definitions of success, too.”
She also recalls how her eyes were opened to the reality that family-work life balance is really an issue when she was working on her first book, which was supposed to be a book that highlights women that are on the top of their fields.
“I was writing a book about women empowerment,” Caparas recalls. “But one thing I noticed among all these top women is that they're guilty that they are admired by everyone, but their house is dirty, the menu is the same, the husband wants to marry another woman. So, my first book became work-life balance.”
Caparas says that individuals should be more mindful about how they're balancing their work and family life, and that mothers with toddlers or infants should think about prioritizing their families more than their work. “The circumstances really vary, and it's really the woman's choice. But depending on the age of your children, sometimes, you might have to compromise and give more time to your family. There will come a time that they will grow up. There's time for everything. There's time to be a mother, there's time to be both a mother and career woman, and there's time to focus on being a career woman. You can't take the time back.”
And it's not just the employees who should be shaping up to make family a priority. According to Dr. Caparas, employers, too, have the responsibility to make sure that their workplaces accommodate and promote work-life balance. Dr. Caparas has stumbled upon many studies that show that individuals who are closer with their families are healthier individuals.
According to a report on the importance of work-life balance by the Business Improvement Architects (BIA), employers are now becoming increasingly aware of the cost implications of over-worked and unhappy employees. Burned out employees are more susceptible to being absent, tardiness, and lowered performance and commitment. In fact, more companies are now investing on work-life balance programs because it keeps employees satisfied and productive, keeps employee retention high, and avoid costs of union regulations.
This is why Dr. Caparas believes that highlighting work-life balance makes everyone a winner. “A happy family person is a productive employee, and a problematic family person can bring those negative attitude to the workplace. When you have time for your family, your heart expands and you can work more because you have love in your heart. And ultimately, this makes you an asset, as well, to your company.”