During my days at IBM India, there was an organization wide initiative that was started to address stress caused by work load. It was done to improve work life balance. Soon this became a common phrase used by most working professional. Some of the common expressions were:

“There is no work life balance in my job.”

“I need to delegate some work so I can have a better work life balance.”

Or, when someone was preparing for an interview at an organization, they would research for reviews of work life balance that the organization offered to its employees. 

In the past year and a half, I have been reminded of Sheryl Sandberg who, in her book ‘Lean In’ said that there’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work and there’s life and the two seem to overlap quite often. Working from home meant that several people ended up putting more hours than they would probably put in had they been working from office. 

If there’s anything that is more precious than all your wealth combined, it’s time. Everyone wants more of it and no one seems to have enough to accomplish in life. We’ve all started working in an era when a week means Monday to Friday and the weekend means Saturday and Sunday. Yes, there are many countries in the world that still work for six days a week, but lot of us are fortunate to have the five day workweek. 

The concept of the five day workweek began in North Britain but only when Henry Ford made it a rule in his factory without reducing the pay, it became quite a norm. Countries may differ in their weekend days but overall, there is a growing tendency of a five day week owing to longer working hours and extremely less time for personal things. 

5 Day Work Week needs a Reboot 

The five day work week has been in place for over a century now. Let that sink in. 

Things have obviously changed ever since. 

Workers no longer must work only from offices or factories and remote working is more of a norm than an exception. Moreover, with a large part of work happening online, employees continue to work even on weekends. Technology has enabled the bosses/supervisors to track employees, ask them for some more work or it’s just that the demand of work is such that it spills over on weekends. 

In several countries, employees end up working even on Sundays because it secures their jobs or earns them some extra bucks or simply because work cannot stop. The pandemic-led work patterns have set out a revolution of sorts wherein large numbers of employees are opting to quit work altogether than compromising on extended work hours. Several have decided to move closer to their natives and are now refusing to come back to office. Some more are demanding a hybrid work model where they work for some part from home and some part from somewhere in between and not from office. If these employees are to be engaged and coaxed to continue, a radical shift in the way we work and how much time we put in a week’s time, has to be revisited. The pandemic has forced people to think for themselves, to put their lives and that of their loved ones over everything else. Too much of turbulence has made them bold enough to demand time for their own well being and stop living from paycheck to paycheck , putting in absurd hours of work from office or for office. In many cases, it is the person’s mental health that is at stake which has forced people to take this stance.   Read more...