Work-life balance is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives.
However, at the core of an effective work-life balance definition are two key everyday concepts that are relevant to each of us. They are daily Achievement and Enjoyment, ideas almost deceptive in their simplicity.
Achievement and Enjoyment are the front and back of the coin of value in life. You can’t have one without the other, no more than you can have a coin with only one side. Trying to live a one sided life is why so many “Successful” people are not happy, or not nearly as happy as they should be.
You cannot get the full value from life without BOTH Achievement and Enjoyment. Focusing on Achievement and Enjoyment every day in life helps you avoid the “As Soon As Trap”.
In today’s busy world, prioritizing between your work and your personal life can be a huge challenge. But studies show that a poor work-life balance can result in unhealthy levels of stress, unhappiness, and even reduced productivity.
Thanks to technology, we’re never far from our jobs. With e-mail on our phones and cloud computing delivering the network straight to the iPad in the kitchen, work can go on around the clock—but it probably should not happen that way.
These days, work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat. Technology makes workers accessible around the clock. Fears of job loss incentivize longer hours. In fact, research shows that a whopping 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week in a Harvard Business School survey.
Work-life balance means something different to every individual, it consists of the implementation of working arrangements and policies which assist workers in combining employment with other aspects of their lives. Employers can benefit from these policies too as they can help to develop a more committed and productive workforce.
These are some easy measures needed towards the achievement of an effective work-life balance;
Simplify: Learn to say no when you have to take time off, you don’t need to impress anyone. Remember no one is indispensable, you will be replaced immediately you are out of that job. You also need a lot of time off the job to be at home to listen to some music or some other activity of interest. Don’t engage in any other activity, it is time to rest. Make time to chill with the family, it also becomes a very nice time to re-unite with the family and friends.
De – Stress: The mind and body needs to be relaxed. Relaxing is all about getting your mind off the stresses of life. Anything that will accomplish this can be helpful in making you feel calm and at peace. One can engage in meditation, listening to music, massaging etc.
Share the Load: Make sure that at home you share the tasks like dusting, sweeping, gardening,…etc. “Don’t do their fishing for them, teach them how to fish”. But also at the work place; delegate and ask colleagues to hold the fort till you return.
Slow Down: Do not get pulled from different directions, prioritize your work demands and make sure you satisfy all your clients. One step at a time, do not over load yourself with a lot of work, each work at a time. We have to discover new and effective ways to get things done.
Take care of your health/exercise: Even when we’re busy, we make time for the crucial things in life. We eat. We go to the bathroom. We sleep. And yet one of our most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to go when our calendars fill up.
Exercise is an effective stress reducer: It helps lift your mood and can even serve a one-two punch by also putting you in a meditative state, according to the Mayo Clinic. Let’s learn to go for regular walk, go do yoga or gym, take up sports, eat well balanced food and most importantly please SLEEP.
Make time for leave holidays: The labour law clearly requires that every employee takes his/her leave so they could have rest. All line/HR managers should ensure strict compliance of this provision. A proper leave administration should be monitored from a central point. Remember leave encashment is illegal.
Employees Day out: All organizations should institutionalize an annual employee’s day out for its workers. Employees should be allowed to bring their families together to de-stress and have fun. This fun games and interesting activities helps create a stronger bond amongst them. It encourages a sense of belonging into a larger family.
Think about retirement: We all need interests we can fall back on. We all need something we can fall back on that isn’t work.” The Mental Health Foundation reckons that overworked people should try to reduce stress through exercise, relaxation or hobbies. We should as well carry on working in a part-time capacity, which I think is a good thing, but you will need other interests in life when work becomes less important. It is advisable to use the last 10 to 15 years of your career life planning how you would live your life when you go on retirement.
Work smarter not harder: Allowing yourself a certain amount of time per task – and trying not to get caught up in less productive activities, such as unstructured meetings that tend to take up lots of time.” We’ve all been there, wishing we weren’t stuck in the same room as a bunch of fatuous blowhards.
Leave work at work: Imagine you’re just about to leave your workplace, possibly for cocktails and then at the same time you wish to carry some work home so you could attend to it at home. Try as much as possible to leave work in the office and have a social life. Make that conscious effort not to carry work home.
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. Is that so very wrong? “. Sometimes, if you’re overworked, you need to explicitly tell yourself that what you’ve done may not be perfect, but it is good enough.
Make ’em wait: One way to avoid being incessantly available is to make it clear to your colleagues that you will reply to emails within 24 or 48 hours. “As long as you’re reliable about replying in the end, it’s surprising how little this bothers people. You need to make it clear that you’re not endlessly available for work queries outside working hours. Admittedly, that’s easier said than done.
Work-life balance has immense benefits to both the employer and employee; let’s consider the below points; to the employer;
Increase in productivity, accountability and commitment
Better teamwork and communication
Less negative organizational stress
Also to the employee;
More value and balance in your life
Understanding your best work life balance
Better relationship both on and off the job
But for a very successful work-life balance, the employer must put in the below measure to ensure the necessary impact;
• Job delegation
•Worker adjustment programmes
• Part-time work
• Job Rotation/Work sharing
• Child care facilities/ Elder Care
• Gym subsidies
• Social activities
If we are able to implement just about 40% of the above measures, we will experience a totally stress free working environment and that will reflect in productivity. The compounding stress from the never-ending workday is damaging. It can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness. Always note that we work to live and not work to die.
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