With 2019 just around the corner, one issue that many working mothers will have is how to achieve work life balance moving forward. The period around the new year will be the best time to reflect on our past achievements and what we hope to achieve in the future, and plan out the best way to balance career goals with family or personal life.
Many studies have shown that having work-life balance is important in order to be happy at a job. TalentCorp Malaysia, the country’s hub for developing the nation’s talents and human resources, conducted a survey in collaboration with professional service firm EY (also known as Ernst & Young) to understand the implementation of work-life practices. The survey found that positive work-life practices would leave a positive impact in all 10 areas of business. These areas include employee engagement and motivation, productivity, work quality, performance rating, cost savings, revenue, customer satisfaction, talent retention, talent attraction and preventing absenteeism. (Source: TalentCorp)
However, as an employee, one can only attain the ideal work-life balance ratio when you don’t feel burdened by too much work. Of course, the exact amount of work is subjective and individual, but if your employer doesn’t believe in the importance of balancing work and personal life, then you will need to take a step back and see what needs to be prioritised in your life.
Why Work-Life Balance Is Important
At a recent forum on work life balance, the International Work Life Balance Forum 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, organised by ADLA (adla.my) – a business and entrepreneur advisory training institution that places importance on work-life balance in coaching its students, ADLA’s founder, Datin Dr Hasnorliza Abu Hassan stated that it is important to create self-worth and confidence through a work-life balance approach. She quoted leading expert on happiness at work, Alexander Kjerulf, who said, “Most people chase success at work, thinking that will make them happy. The truth is that happiness at work will make you successful.” This became the direction for the International Work Life Balance Forum in October 2018, in its second year.
The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development Malaysia has also found that about 40 percent of Malaysians would stay at their current workplace if there was work-life balance. Last year, its then director general Datuk Yatimah Sarjiman, speaking at the International Work Life Balance Forum 2017, stated that after work-life balance, salary and benefits tied to job and career progression only came in second and third place as reasons for an employee to stay at the company they are working at.
At this year’s forum, Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi, Chief Secretary at the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development, confirmed the Ministry’s support in creating work-life balance strategies in facing challenges in business environments. In her speech, she mentioned, “Without work life balance, everyone including women entrepreneurs will be unable to cope with the professional demands of their careers.”
How Work Life Balance Made This Female Banker More Valuable At Work
At the forum, one of the speakers, Datuk Zunaidah Idris, who is Head of Dealing of SVP Corporate and Institutional Business Group (CIBG) at Hong Leong Investment Berhad, shared on when she decided that she needed to balance her work and personal life better.
“I had read in the news about a woman who died of heart failure due to being overworked,” said Datuk Zunaidah. This opened up her eyes, as she said, “I decided to not allow work to take over my life, but rather let myself take control of my life.” One of the first things she did was to go to health and beauty centre to make herself feel good with some “me time”. As she puts it, “Life will always get busy. Make time to do the things you love.”
Zunaidah also decided to pursue something she was passionate about: becoming a television program producer, producing the Astro Oasis series, Mawi Di Bumi Anbia, a show chronicling the travels of local celebrity Asmawi Ani as he explores historical sites in the Muslim world. As a result of pursuing her passions and interests, Zunaidah said that she realised her productivity and performance at work improved. “In fact, other banks wanted to hire me,” she says. She attributes it to the balance she attained between work and personal pursuits. “When you have a balance between work and life, you become a better worker, have better relationships with people and you become a better person.”
Quick Tips On How To Achieve Work Life Balance
In an article on Forbes.com, Jody Greenstone Miller, shares tips on how to achieve work life balance. Miller is the author of The Rise of the Supertemps, a book about highly-specialised business consultants and top directors who prefer to work project-by-project rather than holding down a permanent job, in order to pursue personal interests including spending more time with the family, hobbies and personal projects such as charity work and volunteering. Some actions you can take when it comes to how you can achieve work life balance include:
- Prioritising: Miller says that you will need to edit yourself professionally and personally. You will need to stop doing activities that you have less interest in and focus on the more important ones.
- Consider alternative work arrangements: See if you can work from home every other day or even a few days a month. You will need to suss it out with your boss, but Miller says that if you’re a top performer at work, the odds may be in your favour.
- Putting in me time: As mentioned by Datuk Zunaidah and Wan Suraya, taking time out for you to enjoy your interests or pamper yourself might actually lead you to being more happy at work, and in turn, be more productive!
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