Since I came to Jo'burg, I've sometimes thought about the concept of work-life balance. When can work-life balance be called OK, typically? When is it bad, and when is it worse? Does a very worse work-life balance call for a new term? These were some of the questions I thought about, and here are my semi-processed thoughts on these:
- A typical weekday can broadly be divided into three parts: 10 hours of work, 6 hours of life, and 8 hours of sleep.
- Work-life balance is defined by P, the ratio between the number of hours spent on work (W), and the number of hours utilized on life (L). Assuming that W>=10 always, the applicable concept remains 'work-life balance' till W+L=16.
- The acceptability-level of a person's work-life balance depends on the value of P. The higher the value of P is, the poorer one's work-life balance probably is.
- Work-life balance is most acceptable when W=10 and L=6 (i.e., P=1.67).
- Work-life balance - as a concept - no longer exists when W>=16 and L=0, implying that a person works for so many hours that he isn't able to live any life, and probably isn't even able to get an adequate amount of sleep. In such a case, the concept changes to what I term as 'work-sleep balance'.
- Analogously, the acceptability-level of a person's work-sleep balance depends on Q, the ratio between W and S, where S is the number of hours a person sleeps.
- Work-sleep balance is most acceptable when W=16 and S=8. However, it has to be noted that the presence of work-sleep balance itself is alarming, since its applicability indicates that work-life balance has been disrupted completely.
- Basic premise: The basic premise of this idea is that after a day's work, a person deserves some time to live his life, and thereafter needs a certain minimum amount of sleep. If the volume of work is large enough to eat into one's life, one's work-life balance gets poor. However, if the volume of work is so much, that a person is able to live zero life, and is not even able to get an adequate amount of sleep, it shows that work has now moved a step ahead and is also encroaching on one's sleep-time.
- Relation to one's job: It's okay to work in a company where P>1.67 only sometimes. It's slightly alarming to work in a company in which P>1.67 many times. It's quite alarming to work in a company in which P>1.67 almost always. It's seriously alarming to work in a company, in which Q comes into action, and Q>2 many times. And it's totally unacceptable to work in a company where Q>2 almost always.
Update [Jan'16]: I dearly miss the five-day workweek and two-day weekend of the ways when I was a college student [including MBA] as well as during my job days at Grail/Monitor. Even though there's far more control and reward in one's own business, the six-day workweek is something I strongly despise, as it leaves very little time for enjoyment. Fellows employed in multinational firms have this important advantage over doing one's own business [not considering other things].