Thursday, December 06, 2012

Reversing the Trend

There’s growing evidence that the difficult economic environment is impairing the work-life balance of many managers. The Chartered institute of management issued a report this year “The Quality of Working Life” 2012, which presents some stark findings:
  • Job satisfaction has declined to 55%, as opposed to 62% in 2007
  • The percentage of managers who feel that senior managers are committed to promote employee well-being has declined from 55 to 39%
  • 46% of managers are now working at least 2 hours a day over standard working hours
  • 42% of managers report having experienced symptoms of stress – up from 35%
  • 43% of managers report working in a culture of “presenteeism” – where people do not take time of even when ill. This is up from 32% in 2007
  • 63% or parent managers are worried that working hours are impacting relationships with their children 
It’s a situation that doesn’t bode well for the future – particularly as we’re likely to see and extended period of economic difficulty. It’s interesting also to note that the report also states that the most widely used management style in the UK is authoritarian, bureaucratic and reactive – and that use of these styles is increasing.  It shouldn’t be a surprise, as it’s well known in management psychology that when under pressure people revert to more a more authoritarian management approach.
There’s a danger though -  that all of the good work achieved in the last 20 years in terms of progressive management styles, empowerment, and promotion of work-life balance could be undone by a prolonged period of economic gloom.

In an environment where the culture of the organisation doesn’t promote all the factors that enhance work-life balance, it’s essential that people take a hand in their own situation. The place to start is to re-assess your own values and make a determined effort to live according to them.

For too long work has assumed the number one role in people’s lives, where people have become willing to compromise not only their own work-life balance, but their health, well-being and family life as well.  This happens despite the fact that in surveys most people regularly cite family life as their number one priority.

The central question is: do you have the courage to challenge the status quo of your own life and really start to live according to your values? If well-being, fulfilment, personal satisfaction and family life are really the most important values, then what prevents you not living up to them?

Answering these questions may be difficult, and doing something about it may be even more difficult, but if you are able to get your personal values and priorities in synch with your work, it is likely that you will feel more satisfied and fulfilled overall.

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