Work-Life Balance Tips
Ever had that feeling like all you do is work? It can often feel like work is an ‘always on’ culture. Hybrid working, evolving technology and globalisation has made it incredibly difficult for many workers to ‘switch’ off.
Balancing your work life and your personal life isn’t as simple as splitting them 50/50. It’s more about feeling fulfilled in both areas and when the demands of a job get in the way of that, it can be really demoralizing. A work-life balance is extremely important for your mental health and wellbeing. Although these have become visibly far more important within businesses, companies, and society as a whole, getting a healthy work-life balance is still one of the hardest things for a lot of employees.
So, we’ve taken a look at why it’s so important to strike the work-life balance just right, and put together some tips for improving it, to help you thrive both in and out of the office.
Why is Work-Life Balance Important?
As mentioned, a work-life balance is key to improving employee wellbeing. One survey found that, when employees work long hours, 27% feel depressed, 34% feel anxious, and 58% feel irritable. Ensuring you’re shutting off from work and focusing on yourself is not only key for your own mental health but your physical health too. It can prevent high levels of stress and stop you from becoming burnt out. It can also help with the healthiness of your relationships with others. When work takes priority over everything else, your social life can be heavily affected.
Ensuring employees achieve a good work-life balance also has huge benefits for the company as a whole. A happier and healthier employee who doesn’t view their job as a chore is far more likely to be more motivated, more productive, work harder, and make fewer mistakes. This can equal better quality work, a motivated culture in the workplace, and even subsequently boost company profits.
What Does a Healthy Work-Life Balance Look Like?
A healthy work-life balance looks different for everyone, but there are a few characteristics that you can look out for. For example, establishing strong boundaries. Setting clear working hours and trying to separate them from your personal activities is vital in trying to promote a better work-life balance. Flexibility is another characteristic that can suggest a healthy work-life balance. For example, being able to adjust your schedule for personal needs without neglecting work obligations. And even efficient time management can separate what is and what is not a healthy work-life balance.
How to Get a Better Work-Life Balance
Here are some of our top work-life balance tips for employees who feel like they might be struggling:
Plan your day: take time in the morning to make a list of what you need to get done. Doing this makes you far more likely to be productive and get through all your tasks. That way you can log off at the end of each day and enjoy your evening.
Manage your time with blocks: use blocks in your diary to boost your productivity. Set yourself 1 hour to work through a task, and then set 10 minutes to have a break, reset, or grab a cup of tea. Once again, this is going to help you manage your time and workload so that you can focus on achieving a healthy work-life balance.
Set a time and stick to it: if you need to finish work at a set time, and you’ve started your day at a time that allows you to do that, stick to it. A lot of the time, especially when we don’t have plans to get to, or we’re working from home, employees can get into the habit of saying “I could just get that finished” and end up unnecessarily working longer hours. Try to avoid that by sticking to your planned finish time, logging off, and taking time to relax.
Take your lunch break: avoid working through lunch. You’re not paid to work through lunch, so take the break, get some good food in, and prepare yourself for the afternoon. Taking regular breaks can boost your productivity, and getting away from the desk can be refreshing and set you up for a more successful afternoon.
Take your vacation days: nourish your well-being with days off. Whether that be for a booked trip away or just a day or two to recharge, make sure you take advantage of your vacation days and public holidays.
Pick up a hobby: find something that you enjoy or are passionate about outside of work to pursue after hours or on the weekend.
Prioritize mental well-being with mindfulness: mindfulness can help facilitate balance, allowing you to take some much-needed time for yourself.
Communicate: communicating with your team or your manager can help you understand priorities, so that you can work more efficiently and prioritize where your time needs to be spent. Also, don’t be afraid to let your manager know if you feel your work-life balance is taking a hit; they might be able to find solutions to help you.
Work with a coach: sometimes, we just need a little help in understanding where changes can be made to better work-life balance. Why not try coaching? It can help to challenge work habits that you’ve built to improve your work-life balance and your overall wellbeing.
How to Promote a Better Workplace Culture for Work-Life Balance
Often, an unhealthy work-life balance can be driven by a company itself. So, as a leader, how can you promote a better workplace culture to alleviate this?
Set an example: leading by example in this respect and showing employees that the importance of a work-life balance is something you take seriously can be a simple, yet very effective way of helping employees do the same. Try making one team meeting a walking team meeting. Allow a level of flexibility in your day and communicate that with your team.
Respect working times: you know the sinking feeling when it’s 8pm on a Friday and your boss sends you an email with an urgent piece of work? It can be demoralizing, especially if it needs to be actioned right away. As a leader, try to respect working times. It might not always be possible, but when things can wait, don’t flood your employees’ inbox with tasks. Give them their personal time away from work.
Ask for feedback: ask questions like “how can I better your work-life balance?” and “what can we do as a company to help?”.
Educate your employees on their benefits: keep letting your employees know that they have a right to their holiday, sick leave, and flexi-hours if they’re available. Sometimes a little nudge from a leader or a manager is all it takes for employees to start making the most of their benefits. And those benefits will benefit you and the company in the long run. A happier, more rested workforce can be far more productive and efficient.