The Principle of work-life balance means different things to different people.
Someone’s perspective may be that you achieved balance when he can leave work on an agreed schedule to enable you to spend time to relax or with your family. Another might perceive he has achieved work-life balance when Someone else might view it as having a flexible schedule so that she can study for a certificate.
In recent years, the changing pattern of work has had a momentous constraint on both the family and the social life. With the 24-hour limited time resource available in a day, working adults may be challenged to meet deadlines or targets financial obligations, and demanding family responsibilities. These circumstances create role conflict, which can affect the level of involvement in their work, family, and social life.
Why is work-life balance important?
In short, balancing work and personal life is when when you can make adequate time provision for both work and the personal interests that you love. However, when you feel as if a side of your life is taking up too much of your energy, you can become stressed, your output can fall, and your relationships may become strained. Some reasons that lead to a poor work-life balance include:
Increased responsibilities at work
Longer working hours
Increased responsibilities at home
A good work-life balance, has various positive effects, including reduced stress, low risk of burnout, and a better sense of well-being. This not only benefits the employee but the employer as well.
Employers who are committed to providing work environments that support work-life balance for their employees will save on costs, have fewer cases of absenteeism, reduce employee turnover and enjoy a more loyal and productive workforce. Employers need to focus on providing teleworking or flexible work schedules that can help employees have a better work-life balance.
How Employees can help improve their work-life balance
Employees can help improve their work-life balance by considering the following;
Accept Work-life Balance cannot be perfect
When you hear work-life balance, you probably imagine having a very productive day at work and going home on scheduled time to spend the rest of the day on other areas of interest. This is not always possible although it may seem ideal. Employees must strive for a more realistic work schedule instead of a perfect one.
Find a job you love
Whatever career you decide to choose should not be restraining. If you dislike your job, you wouldn’t be happy doing it. You don’t need to love every part of your job, but it needs to be exciting enough that you don’t fight to get to work out of bed every morning. It is better to find a job that you find passionate about and could do for free. If your job is draining you, and you are finding it difficult to do the things you love outside of work, something is wrong.
Prioritize your health
Prioritizing yourself will make you a better employee and person. Your physical, mental and emotional health should be of concern to you. If you are struggling with any health condition, be it anxiety or depression, and think therapy would help you, fit those sessions into your schedule, even if you have to leave work early. If you are battling a chronic illness, don’t be afraid to go to the hospital or call in sick on rough days. Working more than your system can take prevents you from getting better, possibly causing you to take more days off in the future.
Unplug when you have to
Taking time off from the outside world once in a while allows us to recuperate from a stressful week and gives us space for other thoughts and ideas to emerge.
You feel energized when you take time to unwind. This is critical to success and will help you feel more strengthened and improve your mental health.
Go on a holiday
Sometimes, truly unplugging means going on a holiday and shutting work entirely off for some time. Whether your holiday consists of is a weekend, a week, or a trip to your favorite hide-out, it’s important to take time off to physically and mentally refresh.
Some employees worry that taking time off will interrupt the workflow, and they will be met with a backlog of work when they return.
Make time for yourself and your loved ones
While your job is important, it shouldn’t be the only focus of your life. You were an individual with a social life with family and friends before taking this position, and you should prioritize other things and people that make you happy.
No matter how hectic your schedule might be, you eventually have control of your time and life. Everyone is irreplaceable at work, and no matter how important you think your job is, the company may not missed if you are gone.
Set boundaries and work hours
If you have to, do not shy from setting boundaries for yourself and your work colleagues, to avoid burnout. Avoid thinking about upcoming projects or answering company emails when you leave the office.
Whether you work away from home or at home, it is important to determine set up work hours and shut your work tools at the end of the scheduled hours otherwise, you might find yourself answering work-related issues.
It is important to inform team members and your manager about boundaries beyond which you cannot be accessible to enable you to engage in your activities. This will help to ensure that they appreciate and respect your work boundaries and expectations.
Set goals and priorities
Implement time-management strategies, analyze and re-visit your to-do list and cut out tasks that have little to no significance.
Give the most productive things attention at work and block that time off for your most important work-related activities. Avoid checking your messages and emails frequently as those are major time-wasting tasks that disrupt your attention and productivity. Structuring your day can raise productivity at work, and help free time to relax outside of work.
How to be a supportive manager
Managers can help employees and themselves cultivate a better work-balance life.
Know your employees’ Goals
Not everyone has the same work-life balance goals. Talk to individual employees about their goals, and then determine what you can do to help them. Some employees may want to work remotely a couple of days each week, while others may prefer altering their daily work schedule. It’s important to be open-minded and flexible as a supervisor.
Be an example
Employees normally follow their supervisors. If you send emails at all hours of the day and night or work hard on the weekends, your employees may think that is what is expected of them, too, and may want to do the same.
Let employees know what options
While employers typically do a good job of emphasizing their work-life balance offerings to prospective job candidates, the same can’t be said for communicating those initiatives to current employees. Frequently discuss with your employees the options that are available to them regarding their work schedule. Also, sit down with soon-to-be parents and discuss parental leave options that will work best for them and the company.
Stay at the forefront
As a supervisor, you should keep your work-life balance initiatives fresh, and offer in-demand benefits. Plus, consider offering work-life programs and always be open to change. It is imperative to keep ahead of the curve on evolving work-life balance trends. What works today for employees might not be a good fit in the next year.
Organizations must create a good working environment and flexible working time to deal with issues of work strain to reduce health and social problems that may result from improper work-life balance.