The term ‘work-life balance’ is used a great deal. But just why is it so important? Here Senior Office & Professional Consultant Debbie Lee has shared with us the importance of work-life balance and how can you ensure you achieve the right balance in your life?
What is work-life balance?
It simply means achieving a healthy balance between the time you spend at work (and on work-related matters) and the time you spend on other aspects of your life. This is important since a balanced life promotes good health and happiness, while helping you achieve long-term success in your chosen career.
Your work-life balance will be impacted by your role and the sector in which you work. For example, careers in the healthcare and construction sectors often come with an expectation of long and sometimes antisocial hours. On the other hand, employers in the IT and new technology sectors may promote a healthier work-life balance.
How do you know if you’re striking the right balance?
Work-life balance is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula. Some people thrive on long hours, whereas others prefer to devote more time to their personal lives. Achieving the right balance is therefore down to your own personal circumstances.
If you’re concerned as to whether you’re striking the right balance, questions you might like to ask yourself include:
- Am I continually stressed, anxious and irritable? Stressful periods are normal, but it should not be a permanent state.
- Do I enjoy my job? If the answer is ‘no’, it may be a sign that your current role is not offering the best work-life balance.
- Am I neglecting other parts of my life? This may be time with your friends and family, an enjoyable hobby you haven’t pursued for a while, or simply catching up with a TV series that you keep meaning to watch.
- In 12 months, do I still want my life to look like this? If not, it may be time to introduce some changes in order to achieve the career progression you want while improving your health and wellbeing.
Balancing your professional and personal life
Whatever your sector, there are some simple steps you can take to help you achieve a healthy balance:
- Introduce boundaries: If possible, start and finish work at a set time each day and don’t check your work email outside these times! Also, make sure that you take regular breaks which include leaving the workplace.
- Schedule personal time: Devote a set period of time each day to doing something that you enjoy.
- Prioritise your tasks: Set goals that you can realistically achieve within your defined working hours.
- Seek help: Talk to your employer, as they may offer extra support and some flexibility in your working hours. If you feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, talk to a counsellor or health professional before it gets out of hand.
An unhealthy work-life balance can reduce productivity, affect your mental wellbeing, and may even stop you achieving your career goals. The good news is that by setting some personal rules, you can enjoy a fulfilling life, both at work and at home.