Work Life balance

I was a cricketer during my younger days. I was very good playing in the nets but when it came to “live matches” I did not live up to the promise and expectations of many !! So much so, when the souvenir of our “Grand Prix cricket club” came, introducing the cricketers, Mr S. Ravindran (now CEO, Sundaram Health Foundation) wrote this about me – “S.Ramkumar - Steals the heart of everybody with his dazzling display of batting and bowling (but only in the nets)!!” Our club was in the First Division of TNCA and became the gateway for aspiring cricketers who got employment through cricket in Banks, Port Trust, Corporates… and there were the likes of L.Sivaramakrishnan and W.V. Raman who stood out in their class and went on to play for India. They put in many hours into cricket.

They played for India because of their talent and sheer hard work. I knew that I was not meant to be a professional cricketer since I was not talented in cricket but was prepared to work hard in some other field of my interest !!

While my friends were focusing on playing higher cricket, I was a cheer leader and well wisher of our club. This was after my engineering and 3 years of work at Mumbai and Vizag in MNC’S, wanted to make it big in life. Did not know how ? !!

That was the time when Vadyar Boats, a FRP life boats manufacturing company gave me a break-through; They gave me Rs 250 to me to check the insulation resistance of all electrical loads and give a report; I gladly took it. I suddenly realized that I had become an entrepreneur !! The next job, I got was erecting sodium vapor lamps, next was consultancy work in instrumentation for their first ever enclosed life boat in India (The First one ever in India for ships used in oil carrying tankers) besides maintenance of Bata showrooms, electrical work for Installation of PC’s Main Frames, then site preparation for main frames, interior designing and turnkey projects and the list was endless. Our company would have installed more computers than anyone else pan India at that time. This was the time when LS and WV also played for India !! Hard work pays !!

Thank you LS, WV !!

Riding one hundred kilometers by bike every day, in the beginning of my career, foregoing lunch on several occasions, sixteen hours working per day, doing many contracts in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, all during the first 10 years since the age of 26. There was no question of work-life balance. It was work, work most of the time. When some one wants to make it big there has to be a few big compromises. Especially as an aspiring entrepreneur with high goals or a young high performance manager working for large companies - You can’t catch two rabbits at the same time !!”

In the initial stages of one’s professional career, one needs to focus on work, slog it out to meet professional and business goals… invariably at the end of it you would find the magical work-life balance. Trying to find both earlier in life, according to me, you would lose out in both – work and life. You have to give up something in order to get something bigger. A rocket uses more than 90% of its fuel during take-off and the remaining fuel for the rest of its journey !! Anything well begun is half done.

You can’t reach the top of the corporate ladder working for 40 hours a week. You can’t expect to be promoted if you leave office by 5 pm. You can’t reduce your weight if you have your eyes constantly on kesar-pista !! You have to work for many hours at work. Not just hard work but more work within less time. You have to be the first one to reach office and the last to leave office. Work gives meaning to life. As you start getting successful all your other plans in life would set in. Work-Life balance would happen subsequently and would rest on pillars of hard work and commitment.

Once after a certain age work-life balance would become an important factor to determine the balance between the two. Maintaining work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the work place.

The quality time you spend with your family is directly proportional to the quality time you give in at work. What you do after 8 pm during family time determines how you do at 9 am during office time !! By creating a work environment that prioritizes work-life balance, employers can save money and maintain a healthier work force.

Many people feel that the employers aren’t responsible for employees work-life balance; the fact of the matter would be the employers may encounter higher rate of turn-over, absenteeism, and lesser productivity. Employers can help in ensuring proper work-home balance among its employees and this would result in

  1. Increase in Engagement levels at work
  2. Lesser burnouts
  3. More Mindfulness resulting in creativity, productivity

This can be done by

  1. Encouraging time off by telling them to go on short vacations
  2. Flexi hours of working
  3. Providing laptop and working from home

To be able to maintain a healthy work-Life balance, the most important things that people can do are:

  1. Exercise. Exercise increases happy hormones endorphins. It reduces stress.
  2. Meditation reduces the number of thoughts. From Beta state you can shift your consciousness to Alpha state.
  3. Limit time wasting activities and people. Spend quality time with family with the mobile in silent mode.
  4. Implement short breaks throughout the day to loosen out.
  5. See comedy pictures
  6. Take it easy. Life is a tragedy for those who feel, it’s a comedy for those who think !!