The increased number of responsibilities peculiar to modern society along with the necessity to earn money resulted in a significant shift of priorities from traditional values like family and personal life to work and career. In this regard, the issue of the life-work balance becomes extremely topical nowadays. Numerous cases of overwork preconditioned the appearance of personal life, anxiety, and health problems. For this reason, the prior aim of this study is to analyze the main aspect of the life-work balance and determine why people fail to distribute their time to pay equal attention to work responsibilities and personal life. The improved understanding of their emotional sphere could help to live a full life. That is why the positive correlation between the emotional and social intelligence and the life-work balance and its impact on the quality of life could be considered the fundamental thesis of this study.
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The fundamental thesis of the work is connected with the promotion of social intelligence and its impact on the life-work balance to enable adults to live a full life. Numerous challenges that a person has to overcome to become successful result in extra efforts and a significant lack of time individuals experience today. That is why the given study aims to analyze the features of the life-work balance. The central question of the research relates to why people cannot competently calculate their time to pay equal attention to work responsibilities and personal life. Both these aspects are crucial for a person and only a balanced approach that considers these spheres could be deemed appropriate. Furthermore, the article describes the optimal ways to solve a certain problem and save time.
The importance of the research question is evidenced by numerous studies that find out that the majority of anxiety or health problems originate from overwork and the lack of satisfaction with the quality of life (Koubova & Buchko, 2013). Additionally, the increased topicality of the parent’s and children’s relations and their deterioration could be considered another fact that proves the significance of the life-work balance. Individuals who spend too much time working rarely see their children and cultivate negative changes in their consciousness. In such a way, the comprehensive investigation of the problem becomes crucial for the improved understanding of factors that impact individuals levels of satisfaction and their personal life.
Considering the main research question, the target audience of the study is comprised of employed individuals at the age of 30-50 who live in a marriage, have children, and spent too much time working. According to the latest statistics, this very population group is characterized as the most problematic one because of numerous personal crises they experience (Munn, 2013). The majority of individuals belonging to the target audience recognize the great need for change as they suffer from personal and health problems. That is why an efficient solution to the problem is fundamental to improving their quality of life.
Delving into the issue, several factors should be mentioned. First, relevant studies have found out that there is an essential connection between the life-work balance and the emotional state of a person (Major & Germano, 2013). In other words, an individual who is not able to distribute time in the right way suffers from numerous personal problems. Moreover, the lack of free time undermines his/her ability to recover and preconditions the appearance of health problems starting from anxiety and ending with insomnia, headaches, hypertension, etc. A person suffering from a disease cannot be happy, and his/her emotional state suffers. Finally, the lack of personal time causes conflicts in a family. The combination of all these aspects hurts an individual, his/her ability to perform different tasks, and enjoy life. In such a way, the improvement of the life-work balance should be considered as an attempt to enhance the quality of life and eliminate factors that threaten social and emotional spheres.
Another aspect that should be mentioned regarding the problem of the wrong balance is the relations between managers and employees (Todd & Binns, 2013). If a worker is not able to distribute his/her free time, the efficiency suffers significantly. It also affects careers and relations within the collective. On the other hand, managers who try to demonstrate their abilities and make their workers work long shifts contribute to the lack of free time and deterioration of final results. In this regard, the issue of life-work balance becomes topical for the sphere of management as companies functioning depends on it greatly. The decrease in the efficiency impacts the levels of salary and results in numerous conflicts in a family. A spouse does not earn enough money and does not devote time to children. In such a way, overwork preconditions the decrease in workers motivation and high level of stress.
Life-Work Impact on Different Individuals
The research in the sphere of life-work balance (LWB) is consistent with the idea that different outcomes are possible when individuals experience overwork problems. For instance, Jones, Burke, and Westman (2013) suggest that there are serious psychological side-effects to an improper time distribution. One of the most widespread conditions is stress, which hinders the possibility of an individual to adequately react and respond to various life situations.
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Depending on the type of work, length of working hours, and family relationships the level of stress could range from overwhelming to slightly noticeable. Some people exhibit higher stress resistance than others due to their professional qualities, training, or natural resistance. In nursing, for example, the work environment could be very stressful and, combined with long working hours, can either enable a person to develop resistance to external stress factors or quit the job. A comparative study performed by Johansson, Sandahl, and Hasson, D. (2013) showed that nursing managers exhibit higher stress levels than registered nurses due to the more demanding job requirements. The implications of the study emphasize the life-work balance as a possible factor contributing to this adverse effect.
There is also a difference in personal work-life balance outcomes that relates to gender. Rehman and Roomi (2012) who researched employed Pakistani women, found that working females are also responsible for children’s management and household choirs. Such an organization of lifestyle is dictated by the patriarchal order of national society and affects burnout rates among women. However, this situation enables female workers to opt for self-employment that allows them to juggle their work and family responsibilities with better success. Still, spare time seems to remain a crucial factor that influences the ability to be successful and satisfied with life.
Another crucial factor that helps withstand negative effects related to improper work-related time management is support from relatives. According to the data from a quantitative study by Thompson, Carlson, Zivnuska, and Whitten (2012), there is a positive correlation between the psychological support provided by family members and the improvement of life-work balance and overall life satisfaction. These findings suggest that there is a high degree of emotionality in the way that different people are affected by hardships at work. It seems that even in a more demanding and stressful environment it is easier to cope with negativity if other people take an active part in each other’s emotional rehabilitation after a long day.
Emotional Intelligence as a Way to Maintain Proper Life-Work Balance
Emotional intelligence (EI) could be considered one of the possible solutions to the issue. The findings of Mahanta (2015) suggest that higher levels of EI among the employees in the service industry correspond with overall better life-balance. It appears that stronger emotional self-control is the key to proper time management and resulting life satisfaction. Better psychological wellbeing seems to contribute to positive social outcomes and prevents family issues. If work stress finds an adequate emotional response, there is a high chance that negative effects will destabilize personal life and hinder professional performance. Additionally, EI may not only be useful when dealing with issues at work. The ability to recognize and react to external emotional threats can also be of help when it comes to managing problems with family members and relationship partners.
Quantitative research conducted by Karimi, Daraei, and Farajzadeh (2015) among bank employees also suggests that there is a strong correlation between EI and life-work balance. Using skills that help maintain productivity within a demanding environment could prove invaluable to both retain skillful workers and improve health conditions and social activeness of the latter due to better stress resistance.
There could also be considerations for implementing such practices in different workplaces. Training courses on emotional intelligence could help form stronger teams of resilient and high-performance employees (Karimi et al., 2015). This measure, on the other hand, could discourage employers from creating more humane work conditions with lower levels of stress but encourage workers to adapt to the harsh and unsupportive environment.
Despite there is a way to cope with the problems of overwork or stressful conditions it does not mean that the problems themselves become non-existent. For instance, in the situation when stress levels at work and in personal life are mild, or a person can cope with them utilizing EI techniques some tranquillity can be expected. However, should the circumstances change dramatically, higher stress levels resulting from heavier workloads or understanding issues in the family could require more elaborate ways to deal with them?
As it is mentioned above, people’s values have changed since the previous century. Before, all individuals strove to build strong and happy families as they appreciated their relatives’ attention and wanted to be loved by someone. Nowadays, the priorities are different. Today, almost every young person does not want to get married until he or she becomes financially independent and successful. Like every issue, this factor also has two sides of the coin. On the one hand, the desire to earn a fortune, buy a luxurious car, a big house, and afford journeys to different parts of the world is a good goal for a person who seeks self-development and education (Chen, Hsieh, Mahmud, & Nichols, 2014). However, people forget about their primary mission on Earth (to proliferate). Perhaps, this tendency balanced the world’s population as such Asian countries as China, Japan, and India are very congested, and the residents are obliged to live in small apartments or rooms.
On the other hand, our planet becomes more developed as modern youth wants to make the environment cleaner and to contribute to technological progress. The values of people have been changing every century because of different cultures, mentality, and informational burdens. As a result of this, life balance is often neglected by contemporary youth (Chen et al., 2014). It would be proper to mention that cultural standards and other environmental factors have a significant impact on people’s values. Many individuals with particular goals in their lives do not follow a proper life balance as it is not rational for them. For instance, if a person wants to become rich, he or she has to work hard, instead of spending one’s time with a family and vice versa.
Age and Demographical Differences
Although modern trends do not imply following a proper life-work balance, the populations of some countries consider it an essential factor. For instance, people from such world-leading economies as the United States of America, Germany, China, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, and several other countries do not focus on their life-work balance (Jaén & Liñán, 2013). In turn, residents of such not developed states as Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Puerto-Rico, North Korea, and other similar Commonwealths think that they can live a happy life with their families. Therefore, they follow the life-work balance to support their beloved relatives.
Moreover, people over thirty-five years old from the developed countries listed above also start thinking about their children and families. Once a person reaches all the set goals and horizons, he or she begins to think about emotional satisfaction. Some individuals prefer to be religious, whereas the majority of successful adults focus on relationships with their potential spouses (Jaén & Liñán, 2013). Therefore, they start to learn all the secrets and experience the life-work balance. It is essential to have close people who might provide their relatives with emotional support and overcome certain difficulties together.
Also, one of the major differences among people who follow their life-work balances depends on their genders. It is estimated that the majority of women prefer to get married before they turn twenty-eight or thirty years old, whereas men might not be in a relationship until their middle forties. By this age, they are likely to be satisfied with their lives and start reconsidering their values. Usually, when a person prefers to be occupied with a single activity (work or family), he or she will neglect other parts of one’s life.
All things considered, there is no doubt about the significance of life-work balance. Its effect on health, work performance, family relationships, and overall life satisfaction is proved by many researchers in the spheres of healthcare, business, service industry, and other areas. The outcomes of poor life-work balance include deficient psychological state, lack of work motivation, and understanding in interpersonal relationships. Life-work balance is also proved to have different effects on various populations. Thus, managers exhibit a higher need for a proper LWB intervention than employees do at least in the nursing setting. Those who have emotional support from their family tend to maintain a better life-work balance. One of the prominent solutions to the issue is the EI training. However, the introduction of such courses at the place of employment could be an indication that the senior staff has no intention of changing the working environment for the better but instead force employees to cope with them psychologically.
Chen, J., Hsieh, G., Mahmud, J. U., & Nichols, J. (2014). Understanding individuals personal values from social media word use. Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing – CSCW 14, 14(1), 405-414. Web.
Jaén, I., & Liñán, F. (2013). Work values in a changing economic environment: The role of entrepreneurial capital. International Journal of Manpower, 34(8), 939-960. Web.
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