Work/life balance impacts everything that you do. If you don't have a good balance you might be unhappy with your personal life, or your career may have stalled. Either way, it’s not a good look. But it’s ok. Take a deep breathe and know that it’s totally normal to feel completely out of balance in today’s digital age. Everyone is connected all of the time. And you probably feel stressed if you can’t look at your phone for that one last time (we won’t judge - because we’re probably doing the same).
This constant connection means that it’s even more important to find the right balance between work and play. Here are some ideas for how to evolve into a more balanced life. Take this information in with a grain of salt, and don’t beat yourself up. You’re doing the best that you can.
The major contributing factor for an imbalanced life is - you guessed it - technology. Email, the internet, social media, and mobile phones break down barriers and make communication instant and endless. While there are many benefits to this, you may feel obligated to respond at all times.
The blurred lines between home and work life through technology affects work/life balance. But here are a few other things that also have an impact:
- Working long hours
- Concerns about job security
- A lack of support at work from colleagues and managers
- Feeling overloaded at work
- Not feeling valued
- Generally feeling dissatisfied with a job
What can happen when the work/life balance is off kilter?
You may experience:
- Slow or non-existent career progression and wage stagnation
- Weight gain
- Increased consumption of alcohol
- Other health problems
Employers also suffer:
- Poor quality of work
- Lower productivity
- Higher rates of absenteeism
- Problems with punctuality and other basic standards
- Low levels of employee commitment
The Rewards of Balance
Now for the good news. The rewards of getting your work/life balance in check is a solid goal at any point in time (not just for New Year’s). With the right balance between work and play, you’ll:
- Feel more valued at work (which increases loyalty)
- Have a higher sense of job satisfaction (which increases motivation)
- Notice reduced levels of stress (which lowers absenteeism and increases productivity)
- Have improved employee retention and overall working relationships
Achieving Better Work/Life Balance
Now for the big question - how can you achieve a better work/life balance?
You can manage your life - and then make your work line up with that. This is easier said than done so here are some tips:
- Get better at time management and learn how to prioritize the things that are important
- Work with your employer to come up with an arrangement that better suits your family life
- Understand that working from home may be part of the solution (but it’s not usually the only solution)
- Look after your health by exercising, eating well, and doing activities that will lower your stress levels
Employers can also do things that can help their employees achieve a better work/life balance:
- Promote healthy lifestyles by offering benefits such as gym memberships, yoga, or massage therapies
- Offer counseling to help stress
- Give longer vacation times
- Allow flexible working hours
- Allow your employees to work from home (while setting boundaries that allow the employee to properly switch off)
When the balance between work and home life is smooth, life often gets easier. It still won’t be “perfect” but you’ll experience more joy and ease in your everyday life. When you make some small changes today, you can experience a big impact on your life tomorrow. What changes will you make?