Happy Holidays- now check your e-mail.

Posted by on Nov 23, 2010 in ComLead

The holiday season is a time of the year when you can spend your days with family and friends. It is a time away from the office to concentrate on what really matters- or is it? Recently a survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that 59% of employed American adults check work e-mails during the holidays such as Thanksgiving, ect. It seems that even though companies reinforce the need to a person to establish equilibrium between their families and their career, statistics like this suggest that work-life balance is not as embedded in organizational culture as human resources websites may state.

A study conducted in 2008 by Hoffman and Cowan analyzes the underlying issues associated with the terms used to explain the work/life balance. The authors bring up the interesting point that companies create these programs to benefit the organization by “balancing” your life, but also increase employees increase profits through augmenting productivity and decreasing turnover. The win-win of work-life balance sounds great, but there is question of how realistic it is.

Organizational cultures do not necessarily support a balance between work and life. It is engrained in society to believe that ideal workers place work ahead of family and personal obligations. A positive perception of those who utilize work-life resources tend to be negative, and this needs to shift before these policies reach their potential to benefit employees.

In addition, the idea that work/life should be evenly balanced means that half of a person’s life is spent working and the other half not. Should it really be a 50/50 balance? Can a person’s entire life outside of the office be restricted to only half of the equation? Although this may not be specifically stated in the Human Resources explanation of work/life flexibility- the question of work/life practicality is certainly something to think about the next time your about to open your e-mail while waiting for the stuffing to be served.

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