Can We Really “Balance” Work and Life?

Recently, the CEO of DBS, Mr Piyush Gupta, revealed that he believes that work-life balance is “baloney”. His rationale is that “work is a part of life,” and, in that sense, there is no way to balance work and life. The comment he made prompted me to answer many fathers’ questions about work-life balance.

Work-life balance has been the subject of many discussions, articles, and books. For most people, work-life balance is a question of “how do I find time for other things I consider important in my life apart from work?” For fathers, it includes spending time with children and family. 

Many have suggested time management as an antidote. Millions have tried it and failed. Instead of aiming for work-life balance or integration, maybe we can think in terms of work-life effectiveness: being effective in everything we do. 

To be more effective at home, fathers can attend parenting workshops like the Parenting the Growing Years workshop, where they will learn how they can turn every minute of time spent with their children into quality time, how to set rules, how to develop intimacy with their child, and more. 

As they say: “Work smart, not hard.” I am not for skiving at your job or just doing the minimum. Rather, I am asking fathers to discover the most effective way to carry out their work. Employers, at the same time, can design work schedules based on what is most effective for the worker, which is what some winners of the Great Companies for Dads Awards are doing. 

In the Netherlands where employees work only 29 hours a week, Dutch dads are able to squeeze their full-time work hours into just four days. This allows them to spend a whole day, called “Daddy Day,” with their kids. 

Can this happen in Singapore? I believe it can when we all work together: fathers, employers, wives, and the Centre for Fathering.

By Parcsen Loke, Family Life Coach, Centre for Fathering. 

Food for Thought: What’s your secret to finding work-life balance?