Ask a few people in your company about how they are maintaining their work-life balance. You are likely to be bombarded with long vents of frustrating answers. Technology has made it a lot easier for companies to scout for talents. The fear of job loss has provoked long work hours among today’s corporates.
According to a survey in Harvard Business Study, 94% of people were working more than 50 hours a week and about half of them worked more than 65 hours a week! Phew, talk about burnout! Physiological experts agree upon the fact that being a workaholic affects personal relationships, health, and overall wellbeing. Seems like Robin Sharma was right after all!
Work-life balance might mean different things for different people. But we get everyone on the same page, right? Yes, definitely! But before going over ways to achieving work-life balance let us convince you a bit more about its importance.
Reasons to consider work-life balance-
1. To maintain mental health
You can only go so far with your work until you go crazy! Mental health is one of the most reasons why work-life balance is really important. A very common effect of bad work-life balance is burnout. Immense pressure and frequent burnout can cause people to go into a chronic state of depression.
This stress can be of various forms, right from burnout to not feeling valued at work. Chronic depression can lead to unhealthy relationships both in-home and in the workplace. If you notice yourself becoming unnaturally gloomy then you should re-consider your working standards.
2. Increase In Productivity
Let’s face it. You want your employees to be productive and deliver the optimum results right? Maybe the only step forward might be to take a step backward. More often than not those extra hours at your office aren’t helping the quality of the work. In fact, the quality often deteriorates according to the number of extra hours you put in.
The longer the hours you stay in your office means less time you are sleeping. A person awake for 17 hours straight has the performance ability similar to a person have a 0.05% blood alcohol level. What’s your office’s policy on reporting to work drunk?
It might sound a bit cringy but isn’t it true? You only live once. And you want to spend more time at the office? Well, our definition of having an enriched and fulfilling life is a bit different.
You don’t want to look back on those years wasted in the office when you could have gone fishing with your son. If work is your mojo, then have a go at it but don’t say we didn’t warn you!
4. Overall Personality Development
Leaving work with time and energy is rare these days. You are either too depressed or too tired to do anything. If your life is all about your work, then you are going to miss out on a lot of things that contribute to the overall development of an individual. With the incoming of AI in various sectors, companies are always on the lookout for well-rounded prospects.
Having interest other than your work makes you have an all-round personality. And of course, to have a balanced career you need to have a good balance between your hobbies and your work.
These are some of the few reasons why you should have a good work-life balance. But how do you get there? Here are a few ways in which you can maintain a great work-life balance.
1. Unplug and Unwind
When was the last time you were off the grid? The most probable answer is that you don’t even remember. Technology has indeed made life easier, from telecommuting to commuting. It also made you accessible to office work. You are just one step away from working at home.
According to Robert Brook, professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, “There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment.” Phone notifications tend to interfere with your family and personal time. This leads to an increase in stress in your daily lives. So next time don’t text when you are out on a family dinner or on a friend’s day out. The logic is simple. If you aren’t online or if your systems are turned off, there’s no way people can reach out to you for work. By not reacting to updates, you develop a more resilient character and this helps in fostering a better work-life balance.
2. Make time for a vacation
This one is for the ones on top of the ladder. For the top management following simple work-life balance is easier said than done. Let’s face it, their work is too important to turn off their system every day after they reach home. What you can do is take a vacation and unwind. This reduces stress and you can come back to work rejuvenated. But the most important part is that it provides a good balance of relaxation in your otherwise hectic work-life. Taking a vacation is as important as your work as it recharges you both physically and mentally.
52% of American employees have unused vacation days at the end of the year according to a State of American Study 2018 study. The most common fear is that the vacation will come back to bite them with piled up work from the vacation period. One more common fear is of guilt. Most employees feel that they will probably end up burdening their teammates with extra work. But the fact is there is probably nothing to worry about. With proper training, you can leave your work with your colleagues and enjoy that holiday in peace! And of course, no phones or laptops during vacation time!
3. Meditate & Exercise Your Way Out of Stress
One of the most neglected aspects of a proper balance between personal and professional lives is exercising or working out. Let’s get this straight, even if you do have a bustling personal and social life, chances are that you do not take time out to work out and exercise. This leads to the deterioration of physical health.
Exercising and meditating daily often acts as a great stress reliever. Even if you don’t have too have to much time to indulge in social gatherings, exercising daily boosts your energy levels and mood by pumping endorphins in your body. Endorphins are the chemicals produced by the body to deal with stress or pain, otherwise known as the “feel-good chemicals”.
When we talk about balance it does not always mean taking time out for social interactions. You need to focus on your body and mind too for a more enriched life.
We know, it sounds like a massive task to start exercising or meditating. You can start with something as small as deep breathing or grounding your senses to your present surroundings. Over time you will notice that you can meditate for about 15 minutes on a stretch. It’s all about sticking to the small steps you take towards a healthier and balanced lifestyle.
4. Set Achievable Goals
Setting achievable goals is also one of the most impactful ways by which you can maintain the balance between your work and personal life. Setting goals is not just regarding your work life but also your personal lives as well. The most important part is that you need to set achievable goals in your work so that you don’t end up overworking. That way, you can block out distractions and make your workday as productive as possible. Let’s face it, most of us are bogged down at work and end up working more than the specified hours because we took that 8th cigarette break at work. Having a structured and well-planned strategy about what you need to achieve in a time frame will make you much more productive.
You need to look at the times when you are most productive at work and block that time only for work. Block out any red herrings from personal lives and optimize your efficiency at work. This results in work getting completed during the stipulated time which translates into lots of free time outside of work.
5. The Ultimate Job
What people see about their jobs and work is just as a means to earn money. It is much more than that, at least in today’s generation. It’s a simple fact, if you hate your work, you are not going to be happy. If you are not happy, then you are going to be much less efficient and productive at work. And before you know it, you are going to spend more time at the office due to your lack of productivity.
It’s about finding a job that you are so happy with, that you would do it for free. If the job you are doing is draining you, then you are more likely to vent out your frustration outside your work. This results in deteriorated relationships outside of your work.
It is important to re-evaluate your situation from time to time. Are you still enjoying your job? Is your relationship with family, friends, and people outside of work great? Would you love to do your work on a weekend? If all of the above question’s answer is not affirmative, then you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your situation.
It is important to understand that work-life balance is not a destination but a way of life, a journey. You need to focus on one thing at a time, take small steps and without thinking too much about the destination. And it doesn’t end with your work-life balance. You need to ensure that your employees are not overworking and they too have a proper work-life balance. If your employees work themselves to exhaustion, soon high turnover rates will not a myth in your organization anymore.