Over the past two decades, there have been tremendous changes in workplaces and family dynamics. Women have entered the workforce in unforeseen numbers, improving not only their standing but also their earnings. At the same time, men have started to spend more time with their families. Amidst these changes, concerns have been raised regarding work-life balance.
In fact, according to a recent study three out of five people report stress connected to challenges of balancing family responsibilities and work, a figure 25% more than in the 1970s. Here, work-life balance refers to a concept describing the idea of splitting one’s energy between work and other important personal commitments. For most individuals, achieving this delicate balance can be a struggle with social ties suffering in the end
Working long hours being constantly available by email and phone, or being assigned unmanageable workload can negatively affect your mood and mental well-being.” The implications can range from being constant irritability to sleep disorders or substance abuse, as well as graver health complications like depression and anxiety. Work-life balance is, therefore, a comfortable state of equilibrium, attained between the primary priorities of the employee in terms of their employment position and personal life.
Strategies to Manage Your Time Between Life and Work
As Devon Simons, a human resources expert at The App Solutions puts it, “Initial concerns regarding work-family conflict have recently expanded to consider work-life balance, or what some experts refer to as the spillover effect”. In this view, multiple life (not just family) and work roles as seen as possibly benefiting and harmful to each other. In situations where role conflicts occur, they involve effort, time, effect, behavior, and/or resources. They may be family-to-work or work-to-family, with different implications for either direction. Either form of conflict has been shown to result in psychological stress and reduced job performance.
It must be reiterated that getting a good work-life balance is critical for your health and well-being. As such, if you feel that the hours you are putting in, the amount of work you are assigned, or the working environment is negatively affecting your personal life, it may be time to take action.
Here are some practical steps to take back control and win back the balance:
Take Regular Breaks at Work
Breaks are your way of allowing your mind to recharge. Studies show that even a few minutes away from the workplace can reenergize you and help in improving your focus and productivity. Consider taking your lunch break away from your workstation. You should also make the most of your holiday allowance.
Set Manageable Goals Everyday
Being able to set targets and achieve them will help you feel more in control and accomplished. Evidence shows that the more in control employees feel over their work, the less stressful the job is seen to be. Consider making a to-do list, taking care of the most important tasks first. Reach out for assistance whenever necessary.
Manage Your Time Effectively
Procrastination is an enemy of productivity. What happens when you put off doing something is that the task grows in your mind, appearing insurmountable in the end. Inform your boss if you feel overwhelmed by routines that seem unnecessary and time-consuming. You should also consider getting organized and working smarter by planning your next day the evening before and prioritizing your tasks.
Your mental health is tied to your physical health. Consider some physical activity like taking the stairs instead of a lift or using your lunch break for some quick exercise.
Request for More Flexibility
Telecommuting and flex time are fast gaining a foothold in today’s business environment. Many companies are also drafting policies targeting work-life balance. If you make your request directly, you may be allowed to work more flexible hours or to work from home for at least a day. You also need to consider changing your work routine. Talk to your boss about it.
Improve Your Communication in the Workplace
Communication is critical to solving a lot of complications. Be honest with your boss or your colleagues when you feel that you are in a bind. Rather than merely complaining, suggest some practical alternatives. Be calm and rational when facing a tense situation and make room for others’ opinions.
In addition to these, you need to learn to say ‘no’ and to give yourself reasonable deadlines. If you have a stressful workload and you are requested to take on more, consider saying ‘no’ respectfully.
Use These Tips at Home
The above strategies are meant to help you create a work-life balance at work. Some tips you can use at home:
- Unplug from work-related technology;
- Clearly distribute and outline responsibilities;
- Avoid overcommitting for events, tasks;
- Seek assistance from friends and family when overwhelmed;
- Eat right and remain active by exercising;
- Get the professional mental health help you need.
When at home, you should consider not looking at your work emails. Please, understand that the perfect employee does not exist, and trying to be one is a way to set yourself up for disappointment and burnout.
A Few More Helpful Work-Life Hints to Consider
If you feel that your work and your personal life bring too much pressure and stress, there are additional techniques to apply. For instance, if you are a parent, consider bringing your children to the office when and if you can. This helps them understand that you are thinking of them and that your work is a necessary part of their wellbeing.
You also need to improve your time management skills. Understand the schedule of your boss and organize your work accordingly. Know when to make personal calls and when to do administrative work. Do not forget to schedule vacation time. Most importantly, make sure that the line between work and personal time is clearly demarcated.
Establishing Work-Life Balance Is Not That Difficult
With changing workplace and family environments, work-life balance is becoming a significant challenge for employees and employers. Here, we have outlined some tips that you can use to make life easier and improve your well-being. Please note, however, that certain things may be more difficult to change depending on the organizational culture and how comfortable you are with your colleagues and boss. Nonetheless, you should give these tips a try.
Being a content marketer, Michael Shannon strives to help brands to plan effective business strategies including creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience online. With 5 years of rich domain knowledge, he loves to share his views on modern technologies through his well-researched content pieces. You can follow him on Twitter.