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Work-life balance: Petition on Change.org seeks better, stronger policies

27 Mar 2017 | By Gogona Saikia
Maintaining the ideal work-life balance

A petition on change.org is attempting to tackle the issue of a growing work-life imbalance. Titled 'Reduce working hours for all employees in INDIA and punish those who violate labour laws', it has over 43,000 signatures till now.

The petition will be delivered to PM Narendra Modi, Labour and Employment minister Bandaru Dattatreya, and Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P. Nadda.

In context: Maintaining the ideal work-life balance

27 Mar 2017Work-life balance: How much is too much?

Today's generation is struggling to achieve the ideal work-life balance; among other drawbacks, longer working hours leaves people with less time to indulge in activities that make them happy.

Contrary to expectations, longer hours often lead to reduced productivity, high frustration, and a general feeling of depression.

It is important to realize the importance of fixed working hours in maintaining physical and mental health.

TrendsWhy is work and work pressure increasing?

Though amount of work has increased, employment hasn't; so work pressure is concentrated on just a portion of the population.

Technology now enables us to remain connected to work.

People categorized as self-employed or contractors end up working more as they are only paid for the exact time they put in.

Society worships work as the sole goal of human existence, increasing pressure.

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Countries with the worst and best work-life balance

The OECD Better Life Index 2015 listed Denmark, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Russia among the top eight countries with the best work-life balance. Meanwhile, Mexico, Japan, Korea and Israel were among the lowest scorers.
In Japan, 'death from overwork' a cultural phenomenon

'Karoshi'In Japan, 'death from overwork' a cultural phenomenon

In Japan, death due to overwork has become a cultural phenomenon called 'karoshi'. In October 2016, in the first white paper on karoshi, the government said one in five was vulnerable to death from overwork.

The news of Matsuri Takahashi, a Dentsu employee killing herself due to 'karoshi' took the world by storm. Dentsu president Tadashi Ishii quit his position in December 2016.

Hype?Is 'work-life balance' a hyped concept?

Many claim the issue of work-life balance is hyped; work is an important part of life, and "work/life" division hints at a negative connotation attached with it.

Asking yourself "what is most important for me to do at this time?" will help in prioritizing tasks.

Moreover, technology that connects us with work, can also keep us connected with family.

Remote workThe rising trend of remote-working to the rescue

With the rise in number of companies offering remote-working facility, employees have been able to devote more time to their families.

In 2016, the percentage of employees in the US working remotely at least partially increased to 43%.

However, a major drawback is employees' lack of access to a proper office setup. It might also make intra-office coordination difficult.

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Countries2017 brings about global changes

2017 has brought about global changes in work-life balance aspect: starting January, France made it mandatory for companies to acknowledge employees' 'right to disconnect' from technology, especially during non-working hours.

In February, Japan started allowing employees to leave at 3pm on the last Friday of the month to give them an extended weekend.

Meanwhile, a British military pilot scheme is allowing three-day work weeks.

27 Mar 2017Work-life balance: Petition on Change.org seeks better, stronger policies

What does the petition seek?

"Many Indian Companies are exploiting our country's weak corporate employee working-hour policies," begins the petition by Vinod Nair. He asks for limiting daily working hours at 8.5, and a working week of five days. Nair claims it will reduce workload on staff and increase employment.