Living The Dream: Work-Life Balance
Is Work-Life Balance Attainable? Or Is It Just A Myth?
By Hana Maher
Malaysians were hit with a huge wake up call, when Kuala Lumpur was ranked #40 out of 40 in a survey that examined which cities around the globe promoted the most holistic work-life balance. The survey, which was conducted by US-based mobile access technology called Kisi, compared data on work intensity; institutional support; legislation; and liveability. Once the findings are finalised, the cities are than ranked according to their success in promoting work-life balance to the public, as well as its recognition on the importance of work-life balance.
It came as no surprise that cities like Helsinki (Finland), Munich (Germany), Oslo (Norway), Hamburg (Germany), and Stockholm (Sweden) ranked in the top #5. Meanwhile, cities like Houston, and Atlanta (USA), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Tokyo (Japan), and our capital Kuala Lumpur ranked in the lower #5. The study also revealed that approximately 22% of people, who work in Kuala Lumpur, work 48 hours (or more) per week, and also found that Malaysia ranked third when it came to least number of vacations taken — which stood at 12.3 days taken, and 8 minimum vacation days offered.
“Despite living in an era where unprecedented advancements have been made in technology and connectivity, we have failed to address the most everyday aspect of enhancing our everyday lives – finding the balance between work and leisure,” said Bernhard Mehl, CEO of Kisi, in a press release. Mehl continued to emphasize that the study proved that employers need to prioritise their understanding of the role of workplace intensity in healthcare and well-being, while simultaneously hoping that employers would use the study as a guideline to promote, and advocate for work-life balance.
On the other hand, there have been arguments that oppose work-life balance — deeming that the whole notion actually promotes more harm than good. Naysayers have deduced that work isn’t part of life, and finding balance between work and life is naught but one’s figment of imagination, due to the fact that life is often unpredictable. Therefore, the constant need to chase after balance may lead people to fall into a pit of negativity as they dwell on their inability to find balance, and focus more on the bad aspects of their life and career.
While some may see work-life balance as a myth, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have recognised burnout as a medical condition in its International Classification of Diseased (ICD). Burnout often occurs when one fails to prioritise their well-being, and therefore, it’s imperative for one to listen to their body, and to take a step back when they are on the verge of burning out! With that being said, one can refer to this article here when one needs a quick R&R.