Work-Life harmony (WLH) refers to a state where an individual is able to balance and achieve both professional and personal goals, without compromising his/her wellbeing. Work and personal life are different areas of a person that are interdependent. They are constantly intertwined as a result of constant overlap of the activities which overlap and resonate across their intersections. A strain in one’s personal life, at home will automatically challenge the mental, physical and emotional well-being of the person at work. In the same vein, encountering stress in the workplace affects one’s personal life as well as family. WLH is important in order to ensure people effectively meet their obligations at work, while also having time to enjoy what they prioritize in their personal life, and at the same time having fulfillment in the family. It means winning across the various divides of human life.

WLH has countless advantages including increased productivity at work, less stress and a good sense of wellbeing. With WLH a person has the physical, mental and emotional strength to provide the children and spouse with in order to create a thriving family. A perfect work-life harmonization does not exist, only a realistic one that meets certain goals at specific times. For that, WLH has to thrive in an environment that is flexible. Flexibility means a workplace that promotes a flexible schedule that accommodates the personal life of the worker. However that is not the case in majority workplaces in Nigeria. This is why there is a preponderance of poor WLH amongst most Nigerian workers. Incidentally, Nigerians seem to have accepted work life conflict as a way of life. Poor WLH creates an absence in the family leading to divorce and broken homes which in turn causes anxiety, depression and violence amongst children and adults. The consequence of such a poor work-life nexus does not only affect Nigerian workers as individuals but also the country causing low productivity, low income and inflation.  

Poor WLH results in increased levels of stress and stress related illnesses causing a strain in health. There are several workplaces in the country that have long working hours denying the worker the restorative affordance of enjoying most activities that ease the mind and body. This can result in high levels of stress and work-induced chronic diseases of lifestyle. Exposure to long working hours also affects the mental health as well as physical well-being of a person. According to WHO/ILO almost two million people die from work related causes each year and Nigeria is not exempt from this (WHO, 2021). As much as we would love to boast of the African man’s strength and resilience, he remains only a human; and rest with recreation and fulfillment of roles and expectations at personal, family and community levels are paramount in order to function effectively.

Another consequence is lower productivity in the workplace and at home. These, being the two major spaces where people spend the bulk of their time, are capable of presenting unpleasant realities due to poor WLH. Such a situation may result from reduction in productivity with an adverse impact on household incomes. Inability to be able to afford time for providing care and support for the family etc. This, in turn, affects the country with multiplier negative implications, thereby impeding economic growth while at the same time festering poverty. 

Poor WLH is capable of producing mid-life crises due to maladjusted lifestyles. The resort to substance use and alcoholism is mostly attributed to problems of which root cause is not far from work-life disharmony. People tend to resort to such escapist strategies as ways of addressing their problems. Similarly, the growing problems of parenting and supervision of children and adolescents may be attributed to poor WLH. It leads to the inability of parents to be available to the children or fully participate in family activities. On the part of children, parental neglect can lead to depression and juvenile delinquency. Among adolescents it can lead to substance abuse, pornography, cyber criminality, bullying, and various forms of addiction. Most Nigerian women in the working sector have to outsource child care responsibilities to family friends and/or helpers who have little or no experience in bringing up a child. There are no coping mechanisms or strategies for the working women who have children to go back home to. 

In conclusion, poor work-life harmony amongst workers can have catastrophic outcomes for individuals, organizations, communities as well as Nigeria as a whole. It is important for organizations to create a flexible environment where workers are able to also enjoy their personal time and be with loved ones. Work-life harmony exists and the earlier we learn and adopt proven strategies the better we are able to adjust and live a more fulfilled life.

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