Skewed work-life balance due to poor communication and coordination

By Priya Chetty on June 15, 2021

The growing ‘always-on’ work culture among the millennials has cost employees their mental health which is significantly affecting their quality of work. Availability of better infrastructure such as the internet and compact computer systems enable remote working. Employees are now expected to be available at all times for work. This is causing growing stress and exhaustion, leading to a skewed work-life balance. According to research conducted by Stanford University, it was found that employees output falls sharply if made work more than 50 hours a week and even nosedives further after 55 hours (Sullivan, 2015).

Importance of work-life balance in India

Managing a work-life balance in India is still a dream for many. Fierce competition with respect to productivity, extensive travelling, long work hours, job insecurity and changes in management often adds to their stress. India’s biggest cities were ranked low in the global work-life balance scale, with Bengaluru, Chennai Kolkata ranked in the 70s, Mumbai at 86th and New Delhi at 87th rank (Thacker, 2018). As a result of this, there has been a significant increase in issues such as lack of sleep, depression, anxiety, irritability, hypertension, back pain, frequent headaches and obesity has come up as stress-related physical illness. Thus, identifying ways to address issues to help manage work-life balance has become critical for employees as well as for organizations.

In such a scenario it becomes important to understand what work-life balance is. Work-life balance can be defined as the relationship between the work and non-work aspects of an individual’s life (Kalliath & Brough, 2008). That is an appropriate amount of interaction between work and other activities such as family, leisure, community and personal development. Work-life balance can be established with the help of proper policies and systems and supportive management at the workplace. When work-life balance is maintained it helps in reducing stress among employees and increases their job satisfaction.

Importance of communication and coordination in businesses

Communication and coordination are central to the very existence of any business. In a business where management is the art and science of getting things done by people, communication forms its essence. Effective communication enables all the important functions within the organization, such as information handling, instructing, directing, integrating, and monitoring. This type of organizational communication differs from the other type of human communication since it occurs in a highly structured setting. Thus it can be described as the process of creating and exchanging messages within the organizational network to cope up with environmental uncertainty (Markovic & Salamzadeh, 2018). The process of such communication takes place in an ongoing, ever-changing and continuous manner (Techniques et al., 2015). 

In the current work environment that has high global competition, innovative technologies, flatter hierarchical structure, communication is more important than ever. The absence of communications hinder employees and interoffice teamwork. Thoughtful and comprehensive communication strategies are a very important component for any successful change and improvement (Mutuku & Mathkoo, 2014). Effective communication forms the prerequisite for management within the business since all the managerial actions pass-through this communication bottleneck.

Role of communication in change management

Communication also plays a significant role in the process of change as resistance to change comes due to poor communication. When the employees within the organization feel better informed, their attitude regarding the changes taking places tends to be better. In essence, communication is one of the most vital tools that help keep the organisation’s wheel running smoothly (Odine, 2015).

The role of coordination in delegation

Coordination on another hand forms the essence of management. Coordination in an organization can be defined as the process that deals with synchronizing and unifying the actions of employees (Ujang, 1966). A coordinated process is that where all the activities of employees are harmonious, dovetailed and integrated towards a common objective. Contemporary organizations that depend highly on the specialization of functions and activities are delegated according to the people’s specialisation in business. In this scenario, if each one works independently instead of in teams, it will result in chaos within the organization. Thus, it becomes necessary to have complete coordination within the business to achieve unity of actions. Also within the business, communication forms the key aspect to achieve better coordination within the organization (Vanagas & Stankevič, 2015).

Complexity in communication and coordination in the workplace leading to poor work-life balance

Some complexities that an organization faces in achieving effective communication are as follows  (Poutanen, Siira, & Aula, 2016):

  • The wrong communication style makes it difficult for the receiver to understand the message and eventually interprets it in the wrong way.
  • Insufficient background information of the employees leading to a communication issue, particularly related to complex information.
  • Usage of the wrong medium through the use of poorly written or organized documents create complexity in communication. This would require more focus and attention to accurately interpret instructions.
  • Failure of managers to assess communication skills, which shows how assertive and expressive they are towards their employees.
  • Poor coordination arising from conflict of objectives, growth in the size of business, and failure to define responsibilities properly leads to conflicts and confusion in the organization, leading to stress among the employees.

Thus, despite the importance of communication and coordination in proper functioning, organisations still face the complexities of ineffective communication and coordination on certain grounds. The complexities in communication are generally the direct result of ineffective communication techniques such as inappropriate medium, poor message conceptualization or general lack of trust. The prevalence of all such aspects generally gives rise to poor output and stress leading to a poor work-life balance.

References

  • Kalliath, T., & Brough, P. (2008). Work-life balance A review of the meaning. Journal of Management and Organization, 14(3), 323–327.
  • Markovic, M. R., & Salamzadeh, A. (2018). The Importance of Communication in Business Management. The 7th International Scientific Conference on Employment, Education and Entrepreneurship. Belgrade.
  • Mutuku, C. K., & Mathooko, P. (2014). EFFECTS OF ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION ON EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION: A CASE STUDY OF NOKIA SIEMENS NETWORKS KENYA. International Academic Journal of Information Sciences and Project Management, 1(3).
  • Odine, M. (2015). Communication Problems in Management. Journal of Emerging Issues in Economics, 4(2), 2306–2367. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1435214
  • Poutanen, P., Siira, K., & Aula, P. (2016). Complexity and Organizational Communication: A Quest for Common Ground. Human Resource Development Review, 15(2), 182–207. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534484316639713
  • Sullivan, B. (2015, January 26). Memo to work martyrs: Long hours make you less productive. CNBC.
  • Techniques, C., Tools, P., Communication, P. M., Communication, H. R., Communication, F., Areas, O. F., … Areas, O. F. (2015). Chapter : 1 Introduction : Communication as an integral part of Management. 1–71.
  • Thacker, H. (2018). Work-Life Balance In India V/s the Western Countries.
  • Ujang, A. Bin. (1966). Co-ordination of Extension Organizations in Malaya and Suggested Guidelines for Improvement.
  • Vanagas, R., & Stankevič, J. (2015). Impact of coordination for organization process. Intellectual Economics, 8(2), 112. https://doi.org/10.13165/ie-14-8-2-08
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