Updated: Feb 2
Everyone has a work-life balance, whether it is excellent or leaves you feeling like a husk of a person varies from employee to employee. There are a fair few people who will neglect trying to find their perfect balance in favour of putting their all into their work and forgetting everything else in their life. This mentality has become more common due to the pandemic, with the lines between work life and home life more blurred due to remote working. Ideally, you will want to create clearly defined lines between your tasks and time, so you know how to divide your time.
What is a work-life balance?
A work-life balance is how a person divides their time and focus between their personal life and professional life. This includes everything from your work emails to family time. You need to know how to divide your time evenly and not devote yourself to one or the other entirely. Then, way your final strike up the perfect balance, maintaining it will be the key to good wellbeing and happiness. Though, you need to remember, your work-life balance won't look like anyone else's. Everyone's different and it comes down to a lot of factors - age, gender, career, and everything else going on in your life. You must find what works best for you and stick by it.
When you imagine the perfect work-life balance you might be thinking of an extremely productive day where you go above & beyond and get to leave early to enjoy the rest of your day. This is not really a realistic idea to hold in your head and will more then likely just lead to disappointment in the long run. Instead, you need to try and think of something more manageable. Maybe just staying on top of your work and getting enough you-time is all you can manage - and that is perfectly.
Why is it important to maintain a good work-life balance?
There are a vast number of benefits that affect both employers and employees that make it vital to ensure that you have a good work-life balance. Not only will it help to create a more manageable workload and lowered stress levels for employees, but it will also help to improve your company's employee engagement.
When your business leaves room for improvement when it comes to their employee's work-life balance, it can lead to several serious issues that don't only affect the employee. It will be more likely that relations between employees will be strained due to the stress they are under, and their work will likely drop drastically in quality.
What can you do to create your own work-life balance?
The most important thing that you need to remember is that the work/life balance is determined by the choices you make and the boundaries that you set. Not knowing how to effectively prioritise and manage your own workload will only cause you to pile on the stress that you already have. Taking on more work than you can manage because someone asked you doesn't make you flexible, it means you're stretching yourself to far and just going to cause more problems for yourself in the long run. Having to capacity to say no to unnecessary tasks or to delegate means that you can put more time and effort into the things that really need your attention. There are several different things that you can start doing straight away to actively improve your work/life balance, these include:
You need to create realistic boundaries. If you don't have a drawn line between your work and non-work-related priorities and maintain it, then you will never be able to have a balanced work-life ratio. Checking your email on a day off or adding a little more to that document that is almost done are the sorts of things that will seep into your home life and start to slowly take over. Knowing when you need to stop and step away from your work will help you to ensure that you won't overdo it.
Just say no. Saying no to things that aren't a priority or something that you don't have time for isn't the end of the world. You shouldn't have to do everything that is thrown your way. It will allow you to divide your time among things that really matter and you to filler out what you don't really need to do.
Set a little bit of time aside each day to ensure that you will have some time for yourself so that you have time to just sit back and recuperate from the day, your metal and physical wellbeing are just as important as your work.
Prioritise yourself and your own wellbeing. There is no point in pushing and pushing yourself if you can't even enjoy yourself afterwards - there's just no point. If your job just leaves you worse off then you need to re-evaluate how you are managing your workload. You shouldn't feel like you going to keel over every time you leave your workplace then you know something is wrong.
You shouldn't feel like you need to put your work over everything else in your life.
What can you do to support a positive work-life balance?
There are a lot of different ways that you and your workplace can support your work-life balance and help to improve it. They are simple and by themselves don't seem like that biggest deal but together really help to make a difference. Some of the things that you could do as an employer include:
Encouraging openness among your workplace so others feel comfortable to bring up issues.
Make sure managers are trained to spot stress in employees.
If possible, flexible or remote working should be an option.
Ensure that employees take breaks.
Parents/Guardians should be given support so that they don't have to step away from work to deal with their extra responsibilities.
Give employees access to stress-relieving activities.
Ensure that their workload is manageable and that they are not taking on more than they can handle.
Talk to your employees, ask them if there is anything they aren't happy with.
Hopefully, this helps you to gain a deeper understanding of what a good work-life balance looks like and how you can create a balance that suits yourself. One that allows you optimise and divide your time and effort to make the most of yourself in both your home and work life.
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