It’s a new year and with it comes work aspirations and being more present at home. Often, these goals are not often easy to achieve. The different demands that pull you in every direction. The unexpected obligations and commitments that come and require your full attention. It’s a daunting and overwhelming pursuit. Finding a 50/50 balance between work and home is not always simple and easy. Here, we explore ways to help you finding a work-life balance and get you as close as possible to achieving it.
What is work-life balance?
When we speak of work-life balance, we mean an equal distribution of time and energy between your career and family or personal life. This ideal is an even 50/50 share but this doesn’t look the same for everyone because of different factors affecting the scale. Furthermore, no two individuals have the same work and home life demands. There are kids, second income streams, partners, extramural activities, projects, deadlines, and life events that all come into the mix at different times. Balance, in effect, will never be 50/50 but the scale will tip to either side depending on what work and home looks like for everyone in a month, season, or year.
Why is work-life balance important?
Work and family life are two integral components to who we are. When you’re fulfilled at work you are more likely to be more productive, engaged, and happy. Outside of work, when you’re stress free, you’re able to give your time and attention to your loved ones as well as partake in necessary self-care. Both feed into each other and therefore investing in these elements that make us who we are, and our best selves is vital.
Added to that, work life balance is important for various other reasons:
- A balanced life reduces stress levels and ultimately likelihood of the appearance of anxiety, burnout, depression, substance abuse
- Lowers chances of resignations brought about by undue stress and work pressure
- Improved quality of life
Finding a balance between work and family life
As mentioned earlier, we all prioritise different things. For the solely ambitious, giving their all to their career means longer work hours, less time with family and friends. For the family-focused, it means working less hours and directing time to home life instead of climbing the corporate ladder. For the individual wanting a bit of both, you have to make a few changes at work and at home to bring you to this equal ratio.
Familiarise yourself with your company policies.
Employers: What are your company policies regarding the health and wellness of your employees? What benefits are available to employees or can be introduced to help encourage work/life balance? If none are in place, look into introducing them. Things like access to therapy, financial coaching, health and fitness coaching are a good place to start.
Employees: Make use of your employee benefits. Take your leave. Participate in engagement sessions, workshops, seminars, and other activities hosted by your employer that aim to facilitate a healthy workforce.
Model work/life balance.
Employers: Take leave and don’t send emails from the beach or your vacation house.
Employees: Be firm when you’re available to respond to work calls and emails – work during work hours.
Employers: Learn how to delegate responsibilities and not pile everything on one individual. By giving others a share of the responsibilities, you encourage growth and their career development. This gives employees a sense of purpose and will want to stay longer in the company.
Employees: You don’t need to be a superhero and “do it all”. Learn to say “no” and in some instances, when to ask your team to handle some of the tasks. This will help you be more productive and dedicate time to important tasks.
- Set a schedule. It can be difficult to keep up with everything going on and all the demands placed on you. Set a schedule weekly or monthly. This allows you to see what your commitments are, what is important or what you can decline and ensure your energy is directed to the right places and things.
- Switch off. We live our lives online. Streaming, music, emails, banking, and everything else is in the palm of your hand. This on demand nature we’ve become accustomed to makes it difficult to switch off. It can easily creep into family time and makes it difficult to draw the line between home and work. Put your phone away and be present with those around you.
- Exercise. No, this doesn’t mean you need to become a gym bunny by any means, but experts have stressed the importance 30 minutes of walking daily and the impact it has on our bodies, and minds. Exercise releases the happy hormone, endorphins, which contribute to making you feel good. It also helps relieve stress and regulate your mood. Find what works for you and stick to it.
What’s important to remember about finding a balance between work and family life is that there is no cut-and-dry method for everyone. This is something that both employers and employees are responsible for.
- As an employer, you are a steady companion that doesn’t demand robotic output from your staff but instead, an encouragement of a healthy lifestyle. “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work,” Aristotle.
- As an employee, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You are responsible for ensuring you have enough in your tank to give to yourself and your home life.
If you find yourself struggling with your mental health resulting from stress and the pressures of life, take our free Wellbeing Assessment below. This will measure your mental health and wellbeing and suggest courses to take to help you learn how to live a healthier, happier, and more productive life.
Wherever you find yourself on the balance scale, you can make changes that will bring you close to this perfect balance. In 2023, let’s strive for less productivity-driven output and more fulfilment, time and energy devoted to things that matter to you.