Having a career and working is an important part of everyone’s life. It helps us pay the
bills, gives us a sense of purpose and allows us to meet new people. It is important, however, to remember that work is only one part of our lives and we need to make sure we have a balance that allows us to take those small breaks from the work load and environment. Reed.co.uk explores this further:
What is a work/life balance?
- A work/life balance varies for each person, but essentially is the amount of time a person gives to work compared to their personal life.
- This balance can change depending on what becomes a priority. For example, if you are in your twenties or thirties, your focus will be on building a family life as well as growing your career. Whereas if you are older, your focus will shift to other activities.
- You must be able to establish a work/life balance and then keep to it as best you can.
Why do I need it?
The need to unwind from work has become crucial due to the pressures of work increasing. We want to feel in control of the things that affect our lives. If we’re not, then it can prompt negative reactions:
- Work burn out: Someone who has worked too hard for too long can simply burn themselves out both professionally and personally. This could cause problems with your employer as you could be showing a lack of interest in your work, a short temper, or even disinterest in your colleagues. It could lead to disciplinary action or even dismissal.
- Stress: If you don’t achieve a satisfying work/life balance, you could add extra stress to your life. If allowed to linger and develop, it can cause more serious side effects.
If you do have a lack of balance, it can cause problems that can be costly physically, emotionally and financially.
How can I achieve a better work/life balance?
The first step is to think of the current demands on your professional and personal life. Do you have time to yourself? Too much time? Or none at all? This will be something that varies for everyone, but you should make an effort to create a set of rules which you will stick to so you can get the right balance. Here are some of the ways in which you can do this:
- Create realistic boundaries between work and non-work items.
- Prioritise tasks within both aspects of your life.
- Set time aside for you. This could be an activity or something as simple as not checking work emails when you’re at home.
- Asking friends and family if you dedicate too much time to one or the other.
Why would my employer encourage this balance?
There are benefits for your company and employer as well as yourself to get this balance right:
- If a workforce is happy, it increases productivity within the team.
- Should an employee leave due to being overworked, there are costs to both the company and their reputation.
- Companies are always competing and by having flexible working options, they can entice potential employees.