Trying to balance work and home life is getting harder and harder. To meet today’s financial needs, many work long hours or multiple jobs. It is easy to give work precedence over everything when you are living paycheck to paycheck or working to meet financial goals. Making work a priority means less time for yourself and your family, though.
Technology has an impact on work/life balance issues, too. It is harder to separate your home life from work when there are distractions like social media and email. In fact, 40% of respondents to a Small Biz Trends survey stated they answer work emails at the dinner table. What is the impact when work life balance is out of whack?
Work Life Balance Impact on Employees
Maintaining a healthy work life balance can improve both physical and mental health for employees. Achieving the proper balance can mean less stress and reduce the risk of job burnout. Employees that master the art of the work life balance may feel a greater sense of wellbeing. Less stress can mean fewer incidents of illness, too.
Work Life Balance Stats
Work life balance is not something everyone achieves, though. As much as 66% of workers feel like they do not have a good work life balance, including 83 percent of Millennials and Gen Zers. That's despite the fact that 72% of respondents to a Statista survey state that they consider having that balance very important.
Work Life Balance and Telecommuting or Working From Home
COVID has made remote workers more common and working at home can blur the lines even further. Thirty-eight percent of remote workers struggle to find balance in their life. Many experience stress and anxiety because of it.
How to Achieve Work Life Balance
Real work life balance requires collaboration between employees and employers.
Work Life Balance Tips for Employees
- Understand that work life balance means something different to everyone — It is important to look for a realistic balance for you. Some days it might be necessary to focus more on work, and others, you have to commit to your family.
- Learn to manage your time productively — A productive workday means more time at home. Do what you must to make that happen, like avoiding social media and other distractions when working.
- Delegate when you can, both at work and home — Delegating can help you further organize your time wisely. If you and your partner can split home errands, for example, you both have more time for each other.
- Make lists — Keep daily to-do lists at work and home. Also, make a list of must-do family events like your kid’s soccer game or recital. This will motivate you to find a workable solution that allows you to attend.
- Understand the power of saying no — Don’t let other employees take advantage of you to improve their work life balance. There is no problem with helping each other out occasionally, but make sure it works both ways. You should put your work life balance goals first, though.
Work Life Balance Tips for Employers
- Be flexible with scheduling — Employers might even offer some remote opportunities or a hybrid work environment.
- Offset long hours — Occasionally, employees might have to put in long hours to complete a project. Employers can offset those hours with days off or half days.
- Make breaks a priority — Employers should encourage their employees to take breaks throughout the day to help improve productivity. Taking a walk, doing some stretches, or settling into a mindfulness exercise are great ways to spend breaktime.
- Lead by example — Ensure the managers know how to maintain a healthy work life balance, so they provide a good example.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Work Life Balance
The key to successful work life balance may be in your ability to set manageable boundaries. If you don’t establish these boundaries, especially at work, you may end up feeling undervalued and face burnout.
An example of setting boundaries might include being protective of your off-time. Protective isn’t the same thing as inflexible, though. You may make the occasional concession to work on a day off or to stay late. Don’t do it at the risk of giving up something important like missing a birthday or anniversary. If you feel like you lost your personal time, it disrupts your work-life balance.
Once you decide you need to reevaluate your work life balance, look for win-win solutions. It is possible to prioritize both your home life and your work. Just set the necessary boundaries to ensure you don’t neglect either. Your wellbeing depends on it — and your employees will agree!
For insights into how living and working during a pandemic are impacting your remote employees’ work-life balance, don’t miss our guide Taking Care of Remote Employees.