For many years the issue of work life balance has occupied the interest and curiosity of HR professionals and academics. I have personally struggled with the concept. Having spent the past 20 years in the entrepreneur’s world I am not sure it means a lot to the individuals I meet on a day-to-day basis. The two go hand in hand and are the same.
I have been reflecting on the philosophy of work life balance over the past few days, the reason being I have just returned from two weeks holiday in the sun. Did I have a good time? – Yes, it was brilliant, and did I keep in contact with colleagues and answer emails? – Yes. As well as keeping on top of the inbox, I spent time writing and thinking of new ideas to implement on my return. My phone would have had to be surgically removed from my body as I answered most calls and emails at the end of each day. Was I doing this because I don’t trust colleagues and team? Absolutely not, very much the opposite. It’s because my work is my life and my life is my work – its a hobby, pastime and hard-wired into my mindset. Does this mean I have no work life balance?
I actually don’t think I am alone in this way of thinking. Can anyone who runs their own business truly switch off when they go on holiday or at weekends; those who do are a very rare breed. For the majority of individuals who have set up and grown their own business, work and life are joined at the hip, they cannot be separated. I have seen lots of entrepreneurs who have sold their business (particularly the ones who have not planned life after) go stir crazy within weeks of walking away, even with a big wedge in their back pocket. Take away the work and there is no life! Work life imbalance and panic quickly take root.
So the question is, does work life balance apply within the entrepreneurial world? Separating the two is a dangerous thing to try to do. Complacency usually results from switching off for too long.