For most people in work-life balance, juggling the demands of a career and a personal life is an ongoing challenge, especially at a time when many companies have slashed their ranks and expect more from their remaining employees.
People who study workplace culture emphasize that someone’s best individual work-life balance will vary over time. The right balance for you when you’re single will change when you marry or have children. Experts also say that a few small steps can go a long way toward staying sane at work and home.
Why Work-Life Balance is Important
When employees feel a greater sense of control and ownership over their own lives, they tend to have better relationships with management and can leave work issues at work and home issues at home. Balanced employees tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, which thereby increases company productivity and reduces the number of conflicts among co-workers and management.
Companies who gain a reputation for encouraging work-life balance are very attractive to workers and will draw a valuable pool of candidates for new job openings. Such companies also tend to enjoy higher employee retention rates, which results in less time for training, more loyalty, as well as a higher degree of in-house expertise.
Ways to Encourage Balance in the Office
Project managers have a unique role in helping companies and employees work together to accomplish a reasonable work-life balance. These professionals are often tasked with the responsibility of supporting team development and challenging industry working condition standards. Ultimately, these tasks are crucial to individual and organizational productivity in the workplace.
Learn Your Employer’s Policies
Inquire about your company’s policies on flextime and working from home. If you’re a strong performer, you have a better chance of negotiating an arrangement which works for both you and your employer.
If you won’t be available for certain hours during the day or weekend because you are dealing with family issues, let your manager and colleagues know, and get their full support.
Forget about Perfection
The injunction to put work away for the day sounds fine, but hold on. It’s surely not as simple as that. As you leave work, you realize you haven’t done something as well as you could. You turn on your heel and go back to do it right. Don’t.
Recognize the Role of work
Work plays a significant part in life. It keeps the lights on, pays the mortgage, makes the car payment, funds retirement and permits yearly vacations. Adopting the right mindset allows you to celebrate and enjoy the fruits of your labor, rather than making your job seem like endless drudgery.
Make Time for Yourself
While being good at your job is important, it shouldn’t be your entire life. You were an individual before taking this position and you should prioritize those activities or hobbies that made you happy.
Get Some Exercise
Which brings us to the next point: when you are not active enough outside of work, it has a knock-on effect. You end up lethargic and constantly feeling tired and run down. People who managed to stick with their regular exercise routine experienced less trouble finding an optimal work-life balance, possibly because structured activity helped them become better at time management and more confident in their ability to pull off the demands of both work and home. Walk home occasionally or chase a ball for 90 minutes – take your mind off things.
Work Smarter, Not Longer
Just because you’re staying behind late doesn’t mean you’re being productive. More than two-thirds of employees say they are working longer hours than two years ago, but only 10% believe they’re more productive.
If you’re in a role where you manage your own time then make a list of everything you need to achieve that day. Set yourself mini-deadlines and completely focus on the one task at hand. When you have to overcome a million things, it’s very easy to just sit there and panic – an hour goes by and you haven’t actually done anything.
If you compartmentalize your workload and there’s still work left at the end of the day – speak to your manager.
Take a Break
Don’t eat lunch at your desk. You’ll end up answering emails and no doubt making a mess on the keyboard. Move away from your screen. Go for a walk. Read a book or listen to your music. Research suggests that workers who have short, frequent breaks during the workday have more stamina and fewer aches and pains when they return to work. Listen to research.
Stop Buying Stuff that You Don’t Need
Your heating and eating do not fall into this category. Easing up on needless expenses can relieve the pressure to earn more. Go spend those spare pennies out with friends instead.
Your relationship with your employer is simple: you’re selling your labor at an agreed price for the number of hours specified. Anything outside of office hours should be your own time. Switch off your emails the moment you walk out the door and stay disconnected until the morning.
Be Efficient with Your Time at Work
The task often grows in our minds until it seems insurmountable. So when you face a big project at work or home, start by dividing it into smaller tasks. Complete the first one before moving on to the next. Give yourself small rewards upon each completion, whether it’s a five-minute break or a walk to the coffee shop. If you feel overwhelmed by routines that seem unnecessary, tell your boss. The less time you spend doing busy work or procrastinating, the more time you can spend productively, or with friends or family.
Listen to your favorite music at work to foster concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and stimulate creativity. Studies dating back more than 30 years show the benefits of music in everyday life, including lowered blood pressure. Be sure to wear headphones on the job, and then pump up the volume and your productivity.