Are you juggling 500 things this summer?
What is Work-life Balance?
“WLB is how individuals choose to prioritize their work, family, individual and community responsibilities”
(Munn & Colleagues, 2011 p.1)
The definition of work-life balance is entirely subjective and is based on how someone personally manages their work with other personal commitments. Understanding how this balance effects day-to-day life and satisfaction depends on someone’s priorities and goals.
What impacts our Work-Life Balance?
Several factors influence the way we balance our working life with personal commitments and responsibilities. Namely, research reveals that the ‘long hours culture’ that has been established over the years is one of the most influential factors that restricts maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In fact, CIPD recently published an article revealing that 60% of employees admit to working longer hours than they want to or are contracted to do so.
Additionally, increased workload pressures and responsibilities are other critical risk factors for developing an unhealthy work-life balance. Research reveals that employees who experience increasing demands and pressures at work have greater strain on their work-life balance, particularly when they are working in a toxic and stressful environment. Moreover, this strain often has a significant and detrimental impact on their well-being, productivity, and performance.
Having blurred boundaries between work and personal life also makes it difficult to keep a healthy balance. Particularly throughout the last year as we have been forced to work from home and depend more on technology, evidence suggests that boundaries between work and home have become more blurred, as employees are able to pick up the phone whenever and wherever they are, and home has become the ‘new office’.
The Benefits of Having a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Research shows that employees who have a healthy work-life balance are bound to experience a wide-range of personal benefits, including enhanced concentration and productivity at work as well as improved relationships and a greater ease to commit to personal responsibilities. Employers should also encourage greater work-life balance for their employees because of the comprehensive organisational benefits, including lower absenteeism rates, greater employee loyalty and commitment, improved morale and reduced staff turnover and recruitment costs.
Easy Ways to Find a Healthy Work-Life Balance, Particularly During the Summer Holidays.
1. Set work boundaries and allocate specific times that you will be working.
2. Put an ‘out of office’ message on emails and calls when on holiday. Tell colleagues/clients that you will be away so that they don’t expect a reply straight away.
3. Manage your children’s expectations, tell them if you are working and why, so that they know your schedule and plan your day if you are working from home.
4. Plan ahead as much as you can for childcare but also take each week at a time. Six to eight weeks can seem like a long daunting amount of time to fill so try to break it down and plan manageable chunks of time.
5. Allocate ‘personal time’. Allow yourself to have time to relax and do something that you really enjoy.
6. Fully engage with your friends/family when spending quality time with them. This might include turning your laptop off or switching your phone onto ‘do not disturb’. Disconnect properly from technology and distractions.