By SUCCESS UZOKWE
No doubt, women are gradually taking their place in virtually every walk of life -be it medical, banking, aviation, military, para-military, journalism, engineering, to mention but few. Yes, it is inspiring to see the ‘modern’ woman be economically empowered, but what if the demands of these jobs become a thorn in the flesh of the home, resulting in defective family units and ill-bred children? From every nook and corner of the Nigerian society, it is glaring that the home is suffering from a sort of kwashiorkor only a fusion of proper family values can cure!
However, striving for work-life balance may not be the issue because generally, the term work-life balance implies that an equal portion of time must be given to work and life. A better alternative to work-life balance, as suggested by researchers, is work-life effectiveness. Researchers Jeffrey Greenhaus and Gary Powell expanded this concept and recommended that work and personal life should be allies and that participation in multiple roles, such as parent, partner, friend, employee, can actually enhance physical and psychological well-being, especially when all of the roles are high quality and managed together.
The key, in the opinion of Elizabeth Ajibola, Chairperson of the Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria -SWAN, is to develop creative solutions towards balancing the responsibilities and joys of multiple roles. Ajibola believes that some of the same skills and strategies such as planning, organizing, communicating, setting limits and delegating, used at work, could be borrowed effectively on the home-front for achieving a satisfying, fulfilling and effective work-life.
Though there exists no single formula for attaining work-life balance and effectiveness, certain tips such as the following given by the Principal Partner, Comfort Olu Eyiyato & Co, Mrs.Eyitayo Comfort Olujumoke, could help.
*Take charge of your life
Take control of your career. Examine your background to understand your own history, biases, motivation and preferences. Spending long hours on the job is not necessarily bad especially when you enjoy what you do. However, if you do not enjoy what you do it can be burdensome.
*Avoid passing work schedule home
For a career woman to improve quality of private life away from work, she must learn not to bring work home, including checking of e-mails or browsing. If possible, work telephone lines should be switched off at nights and weekends for quality time with family and friends.
*Limit work talk with your spouse
Create a time limit on the amount of job-related focus that should be shared with your partner at the end of every day. The real purpose of your relationship is to be connected at a deep, intimate and romantic level! Though work is a part of your life and relationship, making sure you don’t let that get out of proportion with the other aspects will keep things steamy because your partner is not your business associate (unless he is).
*Plan downtime and stop cancelling or re-scheduling!
Create a relaxation time for rest and other pastimes. Increase your joy by doing what makes you happy. Indulge in new hobbies, go on family outings and grow as a person independent of your career or business. If you want flexibility about work but are reluctant to ask about it during the interview process, look and listen for clues to see if the company is family-friendly or not. For example, do managers have pictures of their kids on their desks? Is there talk of regular mandatory meetings that start at 7 a.m. or 6 p.m.?