Written by Charlie
Back in 2011 I lost a colleague and friend and this had me thinking about the work-family balance. Our employers will always push us to produce more than 100% at work ignoring the delicate work work-family balance. They ignore the fact that employees should have a life outside work. In the telecom world, a switch is designed for 75% load and when that gets to 90%, incoming calls are rejected and ongoing calls dropped. If a machine is designed to work like that, who are we to expect anyone to deliver beyond the confines of rational possibilities?
The toll it takes to deliver consistently above that is often irreparable; there is a point of no return and both employee and employer will pay the price. Employers need to value the investment they have made in their employees because they are the most valuable assets they have.
My late friend always told me that effort is not rewarded, only positive output is. This is fundamentally flawed. Employers need to devise smart ways of recognizing and rewarding effort.
A good manager should be able to recognize and quantify positive effort otherwise failure to do so leads to frustration and poorer results. Rewarding effort will encourage employees to persevere and in the end it will bare fruit; Thomas Edison made 999 attempts before he succeeded in making the light bulb. We need to be patient with our workforce within acceptable limits and recognize and encourage every single effort.
Employers should however emphasize efficiency. We work at a rate that varies with time of day; the longer one works, the slower the rate. Employers should not expect the best employees to be the ones that clock out last. In fact employees that consistently work long hours have a poor work-family balance and are slaves to their work.
Employees need to gain satisfaction from what they do and employers need to find intuitive ways to measure this. If you work to satisfy your employer and you do not get personal satisfaction then you are a slave.
Companies will always continue to function irrespective of who dies; no one is bigger than the company. Apple had a dip after Steve Jobs but they are still operating and raking in billions. You might leave a big legacy and even have a monument erected but it is not worth it if you never got satisfaction while you lived; the monument would be in vain.
My advice to employers is; encourage your workers to give enough time to their families and they will be willing to give you more, otherwise we are encouraging modern slavery