8 settembre 2014 § Lascia un commento
Quanti di voi hanno trovato il perfetto bilanciamento tra lavoro e vita personale? quanto può influire la vita personale nel lavoro?
E’ veramente difficile riuscire a separare le due cose, personalmente è un continuo allenamento verso questo obiettivo, ma spesso sei costretto a fare scelte difficili, e più delle volte non soddisfano le aspettative personali.
Come fare? di seguito potete trovare uno studio interessante a riguardo; per quanto riguarda la mia esperienza, serve lavorare su se stessi, misurarsi costantemente in modo da comprendere quando si sta andando oltre, e poi coinvolgere le persone che ti stanno accanto, questa è la mia personale visione
Seven out of ten American workers struggle to achieve an acceptable balance between work and family life, reports a new study published in American Sociological Review, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number has been climbing over time, to a point where employees — especially parents — feel stressed, overwhelmed, and maxed out. In “Changing Work and Work-Family Conflict: Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network,” researchers asked what can be changed in the workplace to address this growing health and productivity problem. They conducted a large-scale experiment in a Fortune 500 company and found that work-family conflicts don’t need to be solely employees’ individual, private troubles, but can be resolved systemically with a little management leadership.
Nearly 700 employees from an information technology department participated in the experiment. These were highly skilled, middle-aged workers with professional and technical degrees. They worked long hours, with over 25 percent logging more than 50 hours per week. Some worked remotely but reported pressure to be visible at the office to demonstrate work and team commitment. The research team randomly assigned these employees to two groups. Those in the “treatment” group were then given greater control over when and where they worked, and more supervisor support for their family and personal lives. The control group’s working conditions remained unchanged.
Over a six-month period, the people in the treatment group experienced a significant reduction in work-family conflict — that chronic sense of being pulled in two different directions. Crucially, employees who were more likely to be vulnerable to work-family conflicts (parents and people with less supportive supervisors initially) benefitted most from the intervention. Parents reported working one hour less per week than non-parents, but others did not have to increase their workloads to accommodate parents. People in the treatment group also reported that they felt they now had adequate time to spend with their families while managing their workloads. Overall, they felt more in-control and less overwhelmed.
For people working every day to balance complicated lives, this might not sound like news — but here’s why it is. This is the first study to offer evidence based on a randomized trial that workplace interventions, such as increased schedule control and supervisor support, can reduce employee work-life conflict. The randomized, experimental method allowed researchers to eliminate competing explanations for their findings — explanations, for example, like lower initial stress or the possibility that some workers quit to take less stressful jobs elsewhere. The study is also the first experiment to change the way people and supervisors work to benefit employees’ work-family balance. By altering factors in entire workplace groups or departments, the research shows that there is a way to move away from “Mother may I?” workplace flexibility — individual accommodations that a person negotiates with his or her boss — and toward systemic change in an organization that benefits all.
Numerous benefits of lowering work-life stress have been documented, in physical health and mental health (including reduced hypertension, better sleep, and lower consumption of alcohol and tobacco), as well as decreased marital tension and better parent-child relationships. So it’s surprising that two other new studies report weakened company commitment to employees working flexibly. While more than 8 in 10 employees in new survey from the Flex+Strategy Group cited negative impacts on worker loyalty, health, and performance when a company does not permit work-life flexibility, almost half of the respondents sensed ambivalence and declining commitment to it from their employers. Further, a Boston College study found that, while telecommuting and flexible hours are often negotiated between individual employees and their supervisors on an as-needed basis, companies have cut back on some critical work-life balance options like reduced hours, part-time work, job sharing, and paid family leave.
What employees sense about their managers’ and companies’ commitment to work-family-life balance reflects the organizational culture and its leadership. Returning to the American Sociological Review study, the people in the experimental group who were given more control over when and where they worked, almost doubled their average hours of work at home (from 10 to almost 20 per week). These technology workers had the tools to telecommute prior to the workplace experiment, but they either had not been given discretion to do so or had not felt comfortable doing so. The “permission” granted by the experiment freed workers to think about new ways of working, and many did so. The experiment also “unfroze” managers from old ways of doing things.
In the end, adjustments in management thinking about when and where work gets done, and about support for employees’ lives outside work, led to the work-life holy grail: design of system-wide flexibility (to relieve pressure for people who need it), without burdening those working conventionally, and without requiring individual workers to figure out alone how to balance everything.
by Nanette Fondas
2 settembre 2012 § 1 Commento
Come spesso accade, mi piace prendere spunto da articoli della HBR, e nel caso specifico da un articolo scritto da Rosabeth Moss Kanter.
In questo articolo, vengono affrontati argomenti come, la ricerca della perfezione nella vita personale, assumere altri per coprire ruoli che dovremmo svolgere noi, mettere il lavoro al centro della propria vita…riassumendo fare delle scelte importanti e decisive.
Il lavoro, per molti rappresenta affermazione, soddisfazione, gratificazione, senza porre alcuna attenzione a coloro che ruotano intorno (figli, moglie/marito…); ma è la cosa giusta? esiste un allarme per dire che abbiamo superato il segno? cosa fare se ci accorgiamo di aver superato il segno? ogni quanto vi fermate guardate se quello che state facendo è giusto?
Potrei sembrare esagerato ma, nel mio piccolo mi sono creato un piano strategio in ambito lavorativo per i prossimi 3 anni, il prossimo passaggio sarà inserire anche la vita personale, anche se questa non può essere guidata da un piano al massimo si possono scrivere i propri desideri, cercando di farli combaciare con la vita lavorativa; qualcuno di voi è stato capace di farlo?
You can have it all. It just won’t all be perfect.
After years of observing individual struggles to achieve work-life balance — and of enlightened companies to provide it — I’ve concluded that one major hurdle is artificial images of perfection. Certainly institutional structures don’t make it easy to balance work and the rest of life. This is especially true in the U.S., where vacations are short, sabbaticals are rare, school schedules don’t align with office hours, and working parents cobble together their own costly support systems. But in addition, American culture holds up myths of perfection — the perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect child, the perfect lawn — that consume time, money, and attention. This plagues everyone, but especially women who are candidates for high-powered careers.
Some pundits posit a polarizing argument about the prospects for work-life integration between Princeton’s Anne-Marie Slaughter and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. Slaughter went public with her decision to leave a top-ranking U.S. State Department job to return to academia and her family of teenagers because, she indicated in an article in The Atlantic, women simply can’t have it all. She thereby imposed on everyone her experience in a high-burnout job demanding extensive international travel and a commute between Washington and New Jersey. Not exactly your typical job. In contrast, Sandberg, whose own career as Facebook chief operating officer is presumably pretty demanding itself, has used numerous public speeches to urge young women to keep their ambitions high and find a job they love before they have children, so they will want to keep the job while growing the family.
I’m with Sandberg in seeking a guilt-free zone where people have more choices and don’t turn trade-offs into insurmountable obstacles. One way to do this is to stop seeking perfection and settle for good-enough, or even not-at-all. Far be it for me to argue against high standards. But the leaders I know who integrate work and life particularly happily have chosen to let a few things slip here and there in order to focus on the important things. They pick their areas of excellence and ignore others. A woman executive who doesn’t drink coffee never learned how to make it, thus saving many hours of time over the years while never being forced into coffee-service role early in her career. At home she talked to her children while someone else made the coffee.
Perfection myths have a do-it-yourself flavor. DIY might work well for hobbies, but for everything else, successful work-life integrators delegate like crazy, resources permitting. Arlie Hochschild’s book The Outsourced Self decries paying for services like dog-walking or babysitting (plus some California specials like dream-finders) but except for the most basic human interactions, like a family member in the hospital, or strategic decisions only you can make, why not find or hire others who specialize in that service and can fill gaps? Only subsistence farmers make everything themselves. The division of labor built modern society.
Sometimes what is assumed to constitute perfection can be counter-productive. Babies kept in sterile environments without exposure to a little dirt seem to get more illnesses as adults. Co-workers who bond with one another over after-hours beer and pizza do not necessarily form better teams, but they pressure others to think so. Companies that delay a product launch until every detail is perfected do not necessarily have better-received products; they can miss market timing and the chance to get user feedback to make rapid adjustments.
Lack of perfection has an honorable tradition in some religions. Flaws are built into Amish quilts, for example, out of the belief that only God can make things perfect. Does that kind of belief system make it easier to accept limitations and tradeoffs? “The choice to do anything doesn’t mean you can do everything,” said Debora Spar, president of Barnard College and my former HBS colleague, in response to Slaughter’s article.
For those who get over the perfection trap, there are numerous tricks to find more time and thus more balance. Robert Pozen, chairman of mutual fund company MFS who also teaches at HBS, has written Extreme Productivity to show how focus and a stream of small wins can make major achievements possible. In her book Sleeping with your Smartphone (not a how-to guide) Leslie Perlow shows the virtues of device-free time in a consulting firm, when team members have the freedom not to respond.
A European executive takes six weeks of vacation in the U.S. with his family while activities continue at his firm, but he’s willing to live with temporary discomfort. “I’m micromanaging from afar, not always the best solution, but that’s what comes with trying to do it all,” he said in a cheerful email.
“Best is the enemy of good,” it’s often said. A cultural shift to get out of the perfection trap can also free up time to work on the bigger changes needed to bring work and life into better alignment.