Have you ever found yourself in a workplace that you, your colleagues, or your boss refer to as a family? You might be working in such an environment right now, where you feel like your colleagues have become more or less like a second family to you, and where you joke around referring to each other as the relatives you never had.
Although this might be heartwarming in some cases, it does not come without its share of danger.
Indeed, work and family are two of the most important aspects of everyone’s lives, and when the lines get blurry things might become fizzy.
So, what are the dangers of this practice, and why work should never be your family? Below I will share with you the potential harm similar situations might create and what you should be doing instead:
1. When boundaries become blurred: toxic relationships and situations might develop. It is one thing to refer to your colleagues as your family, but when upper managements and leaders start using the term family to describe the word culture, it might become dangerous. It is our societal understanding that family bonds are tight and that humans tend to prioritize time spent with their families . When the workplace becomes like a second family, it might be implied that the expectations and the sacrifices expected of employees are similar to the ones they might do for their actual families, which can quickly become problematic. Work is an essential aspect of life that provides everyone with financial stability. It can also be a source of personal and professional development. Work is a means to an end, and keeping that in mind, might save you endless heartaches, especially in these uncertain times that are reigned by budget cuts and high employee turnovers.
2. There is a danger of losing yourself: When your identity becomes so wrapped up with your work identity, there might be a danger of losing yourself. Especially if you are the loyal type, and are ready to devote more time than required to your role. In some cases, when immersed in a situation where work bonds are as tight as those of a family, loyal employees might become tempted to make sacrifices they would not have done otherwise. Studies have shown that employees who do not take time off to recharge, will not be as productive as their peers who have enjoyed downtime . They might eventually face some mental and health challenges. Therefore, establishing clear boundaries and identifying work as it is by understanding that it is a place to develop skills, meet new people, and learn new things while contributing to society, will help employees curb their expectations. It will also help them understand how much time to dedicate to each of these areas in their lives to create the work-life balance that suits them.
3. The work and family dynamics are different in real life: as they should be. Family tights are deeper than work bonds, and your family members will be your relatives forever. Work, on the other hand, is a place where you get paid in exchange for your knowledge and your services. It is a place you might outgrow or that might replace you due to budget cuts or some targets that you have failed to meet. In the workplace, individuals will come and go, and jobs might change, but family, on the other hand, should be a source of love, support, and companionship. The danger when employees treat work like family lies in the fact that is usually never mutual. And where employees might make sacrifices they would not have done otherwise, companies usually do not return the favor and instead treat them and their business as it is: a business.
4. Having the proper work-life balance is crucial for your well-being: Work is usually a stressful environment with deadlines to respect, KPIS to meet, and clients to satisfy. It is usually full of stimulation and always pushes you to perform and do your best. Families, on the other hand, should be a place where you can disconnect and be yourself. When work becomes your only source of fulfillment and social interaction, you might miss out on important moments with your loved ones, as well as miss out on opportunities to properly rest. This can eventually lead to feelings of stress and resentment, which might lead to bigger and more complicated health and mental health issues. That is why having a proper work-life balance is crucial for your well-being; it is the new balance professionals alike are striving to achieve. Calling work your family does not allow you to reach this goal and complicates matters further.
Work and family are two areas that require time, energy, commitment, and devotion, and it can be difficult to balance these demands in this ever-evolving world.
Recognizing the importance as well as the place each one of them should have in your life is essential to have the proper work-life balance.
Because work should never be your family, it is important to be mindful of it. Therefore, allocating specific times for family activities, as well as enjoying downtime after hours and on the weekends, are crucial steps you can make to reclaim your life. Taking some time off to rest and enjoy the holidays is also a necessity that will allow you to perform your work duties better and be happier.
Having the proper work-life balance will also help you experience fulfillment in both your personal and professional lives. Therefore clearly defining each one of them, and not falling into the trap of calling your work your family, can go a long way in helping you set clear boundaries and healthy expectations.
Are you in a toxic work situation and would like some help to solve it? Then, book your Free Career Boost Session here.