Understanding what work-life balance and how to achieve it is crucial to maintain happiness both in your workplace and personal life. We can get so lost in our working careers, that we forget about our well-being. And guess what, that's what we cover here.
What is a work-life balance?
Work-life balance can be defined as the relationship between work and personal commitments. Therefore, a healthy work-life balance can be seen as someone happy with the time and focus being spent on employment and other aspects of their life.
Different generations will perceive work-life balance in different ways. For example, baby boomers, who experienced hardships throughout their life, favoured work stability in turn for satisfaction.
Gen X, who on the receiving end witnessed high-levels of stress from their baby boomer counterparts, favour family time. Gen X also like to maximise their holiday allowance to maintain a healthier work-life balance.
Welcome the Millenials and Gen Z. The more career-oriented groups who either take a liking for risks or seek financial stability in this insecure environment. Nonetheless, the two generations reach common ground when it comes to work-life balance.
For them, work-life balance is about maintaining levels of happiness and satisfaction to ensure detrimental impacts are kept outside of work. Modern-day companies adopt relaxed office spaces, filled with bean bags, casual work attire and perks to help boost their overall happiness and well-being.
Why is a work-life balance important?
Chronic stress is the most significant cause of workplace sickness, and one way to mitigate this is to have a healthy work-life balance. It can help reduce the risk of burnout, depression and anxiety. Additionally, having the right work-life balance can boost productivity and ease of completing tasks.
Workplace stress is also adding financial complications to UK businesses. Poor productivity, extended sick leave and high turnover rates are the unfortunate factors of deteriorating mental health.
Research from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggested 15.4 million working days were lost in 2017/18, accounting for 57.3% of the 26.8 million workdays lost to ill health.
Therefore, placing an emphasis on work-life balance can contribute to an efficient workforce. Companies like the children's book publishing house, Lost My Name, doubles the amount of mental health sick leave to 25 days. They are allowing employees to take time off for a couple of days or even two weeks if they go through a traumatic event.
What are other organisations doing to help improve work-life balance for their employees?
Examples of good work-life balance incentives
When you think of creative ways to keep employees happy, many think of the undefeatable tech company - Google.
Their approach to a sustainable work-life balance is second-to-none. Google provides freshly cooked gourmet food, free access to their onsite gym and fitness classes.
This also includes an extensive selection of holiday days, ensuring employees can take time to recharge for the next working day.
The conglomerate company scores highly on Glassdoor's work-life balance review, with employees praising their culture of trust. The company's flexible working patterns and the freedom to work autonomously.
Sometimes work-balance varies from head office to in-store retailers as evidently customer assistants have to work overtime over busy holiday periods. IKEA offers four months of parental leave to its full-time and part-time employees (with at least one year of work experience).
How to achieve a work-life balance?
So how to achieve a work-life balance. After reading all the above, I am sure you have some ideas. However, lets us provide some tips on how to make a work-life balance that you can implement in your day to day life.
Play to your strengths - don’t try to be the office hero. You should focus on your strengths and outsource tasks to others.
Time management - you should try to organise yourself and your time. The task list you have may look unachievable, so you should prioritise which tasks are urgent and which tasks can take a backbench.
Personal time - make sure you have some ‘me’ time once in a while. Turn off your phone and stop checking emails. Read a book, take up a hobby or have movie nights with friends.
Work hours - We know this one is tough, due to work pressures, but do try to stick to your work hours. If you’re contracted to only work 9-5, then do just that. You will be surprised how much more productive you will be giving yourself a time limit.
Personalise your workspace - if you can, you should try to make your workspace homier. Have a small desk plant, some fun office stationery and make sure you have a comfy chair!
Technology - do you need to travel to another town, office or country for that meeting? If a skype or video chat works, then do that instead.
Breaks - you should take regular breaks away from your work if you can. The general rule is a 5-minute break after each hour. You will feel more productive doing this rather than slogging at your task non-stop.
Have a Holiday - you’re entitled to holiday, and you should take some well-deserved time off often.
While you’re here, why not have a look at some perks at work and see if your workplace can make some improvements. If you’re stuck in a tedious, underpaid job, have a look at the jobs we have on offer.