What is Work-Life Balance?
Based on a survey by Harvard Business School, almost 94% of working professionals working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half of them work more than 65 hours a week. Experts agree that stress from work can be damaging. It can affect relationships, health, and happiness. So what is work-life balance?
Work-life balance becoming hits nowadays among modern and millennial employees. Work-life balance can be described as the balance between professional life and personal life. There is a lot of work-life balance academic definition but to simplify, work-life balance is a condition where an employee or worker can manage time in the balance between personal time such as break, recreation, hobby, and working life.
An employee who has a work-life balance tends to work productively and has high performance. On the other hand, an employee who doesn’t have a work-life balance usually has poor performance and works ineffectively. Not only affecting professional life, someone who doesn’t have a work-life balance can ruin their personal life as well.
Some of the common reasons that lead to a poor work-life balance include:
- Increased responsibilities at work
- Working longer hours
- Increased responsibilities at home
- Having children
Chris Chancey, a career expert and CEO of Amplio Recruiting said that a good work-life balance has a lot of positive effects for employees. Including, less stress, lower risk of burnout, and a greater sense of well-being. But, not only that a good work-life balance will benefit employees, it will benefit employers too.
Furthermore, Chris said, “Employers who are committed to providing environments that support work-life balance for their employees can save on costs, experience fewer cases of absenteeism, and enjoy a more loyal and productive workforce“. Employers that offer flexible work schedules or remote working can help employees have a better work-life balance.
Benefits of Work-Life Balance
1. Reducing Stress
Work-life balance can help you to reduce stress caused by works. Why? Because you have enough energy and more focus to do your works. That’s because your personal life is not disrupted by your works. So you can both enjoy your time with your family and do your best at work.
Do you know if you work based on your own right phase, you can get your desired result and feel happy about it? If your project is finished you can feel accomplished and happier by what you did instead of looking for what was wrong or what you did wrong. This can increase your well-being.
In addition, a good work-life balance can make employees happier. Happiness can make employees think more positively and optimistically. So their immune system can help them to stay healthy. Also, with less stress and a strong immune system, their mental health can be healthy too.
In conclusion, with less stress because of a good work-life balance, employees can be happier and healthy both physically and mentally.
2. Increase Productivity
We have 24 hours a day and we need 8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, and 8 hours for personal time. Try to follow this pattern. If not really urgent and necessary, don’t do overtime or overwork yourself. Maybe you think coffee or energy drink can help you, but this only for a short period of time. Think about the long-term effect of those drinks if you often consume them.
Don’t take too much overtime works because the longer you work, your concentration will decrease too. With a good work-life balance, you can have a good 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of your personal time. With this, you can be more productive too in your work.
Also, with the best productivity, you can be more creative in your work. This can benefit employers too because creative employees can provide good ideas for the company.
Because when employees are too tired or have a poor work-life balance, they tend to have low energy and trouble thinking. Meanwhile, employees who always come to work fully energized and have a good work-life balance tend to do their jobs wholefully and with passion.
3. Maintain a Good Relationship with Your Closest One
One good thing about work-life balance is that you can maintain a good relationship with your closest one like your spouse, children, parents, or friends. What’s the point of having a successful career and do excellent in your job if your relationship with your children is not good because you have little to no time playing with them or listening to their stories.
There is no one that can achieve success without the help of others. Teammates, supervisors, spouses, children, even friends can help achieve success. That’s why you need to maintain a good relationship with them whether it is a personal relationship or a professional relationship.
Poor Work-Life Balance Effects
When work and life do not balance, it could lead to negative effects on your life especially your health. Besides have negative effects on your both mental and physical health, it could worsen your relationship with others too.
Below are some of the negative effects if you have a poor work-life balance:
- Burn Out
When you have a poor work-life balance, you can get disturbed in thinking and working productively. This condition will not only damage your reputation at work but also can distort your decision-making. This can harm your job and your business.
Also, if you have continuous health problems, this could be a sign of a poor work-life balance. Check your diet and sleep pattern. If you are too busy working, usually your diet and sleep pattern will be messy. Even you don’t have time to exercise. When you’re too busy with work, your body will be a “victim” because it doesn’t get enough rest and nutrition it needs.
Always remember that no matter how busy you are, try to eat and rest regularly. Also, don’t forget to exercise. You can do a simple exercise that you can do easily at your home. Rest at least 15-20 minutes at lunchtime after you eat your lunch. If possible, avoid eating in front of your laptop or at your desk. When you feel fatigued or really need rest, take a short 30 minutes nap between work. Try to do light exercise for example walking around the office or take the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
- Harm Your Body and Mind
Stress because of overwork and the effect of having a poor work-life balance can negatively affect your health. Not only physical health, but stress can also affect your mental health such as anxiety and depression.
If you are not taking good care of your body due to a poor work-life balance, it will impact your emotional health too. With too many works and low nutrition that you consume, you can get easily angry. If you suppress it, it will soon explode like a time bomb. Either to your coworker, to your family, to your friends, or even to yourself. If you are getting more emotional because of work-life balance, try to take a deep breath and let go slowly. Try to manage your emotions so that you will not do things that you will regret later.
- Losing time with loved ones
Being too busy with work makes you lose time with loved ones such as friends or family. If it goes on continuously, it also has the potential to damage your relationship with them.
When you’re too busy with works, it can keep you away from your loved ones. Instead of hanging out with your family and friends, you prefer to work on your laptop or keep checking email even if you are spending time together with your loved ones. It just likes your body is there with your loved ones but your mind still at work.
Try to take your time for your loved ones. Tell them your worries and listen to their worries too. Work hard while you’re at the office and finish your job during work hours so when you are out with your loved ones, you can have a good quality time. Why bother to get together to have dinner with your close friends if when you are together you still checking your works.
Tips To Achieve Work-Life Balance
1. Manage Your Working Hours
Set your working hours according to your company’s policy. If your company set your working hours from 9 – 6, then only work during this period. If there is no something urgent, do not take overtime. Above all, you need time to relax and enjoy your personal time, right?
When you leave the office, try to avoid thinking about your current project or your upcoming project. Do not open or answer company emails. Try to have separate phones for work and for personal use. When you’re out of work, shut down your work phone so you can spend your time outside work without having to worry about your works. If this not possible, use separate browsers and emails for your professional and personal platforms.
If you are currently working from home or doing remote work, set specific working hours. It is important to determine when you work and when you enjoy your personal time. Otherwise, you might find yourself answering work emails late at night, during your leave, or on weekend.
Notify your teammates and your manager about boundaries beyond which you cannot be accessible because you use that time for your personal use. This will help to ensure that they understand and respect your boundaries between professional and personal time.
2. Learn To Say No
If your manager asks you to do a job that is not on your job description when you sign with the company, explain to the manager why you can’t do that. Say no to that task politely. In your personal life, don’t go to an event or gathering that you feel like you don’t want to go to or is not pretty important for you.
Technologies help us to make our work easier. But it also created expectations of a constant and fast reply. Even during your rest day. If your manager or teammates contact you on your rest day about works, try to explain to them politely that you are currently resting and you will get back to them on the next working day.
3. Act Professional
Prioritize your works during work hours. Don’t use your work hour for personal matters. In addition, don’t use your personal time for work matters. Avoid bringing your unfinished work home. Your unfinished work can wait for the next day. If you’re home, you should use the time to relax so tomorrow, you can go to work fresh.
There is no perfect work-life balance. Don’t strive for the perfect schedule, instead, strive for a more realistic one. One day you might focus more on work, while other days you might have more time to do your hobbies and spend your time with your loved ones. Good luck!