According to Jack Welch, former CEO GE last week in the WSJ, it is officially dead. However, i think the problems arise when people try to compartmentalise their work and their home lives. Wireless data has meant we can be contacted/stay in touch on the move. Great, whereas once we would have been working til 10pm, we are now sat on the sofa with our partners, watching TV, tweeting with friends and sporadically checking if the email we were waiting for at 6pm has come in yet. What’s changed?
If anything the lines have been blurred but that isn’t a bad thing necessarily as long as you remember to switch off. I had a colleague ask me if I had got the plan they sent me Fri night (I don’t work Fridays) and this was Monday….I hadn’t. I didn’t check email all weekend. I had family down, had a great time and would encourage you to do the same when you can. You’re much more use at work when you are relaxed and refreshed.
I think instead of talking about worklife balance, we need to talk about worklife discipline. Only you can decide if your kid’s sports day is more important than a client meeting…or if your holiday is more important than knowing what is going on in the office 24/7. Prioritisation is an essential skill….and it is a skill that you’ll continually need to hone. If you have kids, it changes. If a parent falls ill, it changes. You get the picture….
People talk about worklife balance as something a company can give you….I believe it is something you must build yourself. The company can provide flexibility but only you know what’s really important each day.