In the 1900s, reformers started advocating for fair labor standards at a time when people routinely worked more than 100 hours per week. Yet, the term “work-life balance” did not come into fruition until the 1980s when the women’s liberation movement used it to describe the challenges faced by working women with families. Now, the term has grown to include all genders and more than just families.
Work-life balance as a concept makes complete sense in theory but is rarely achieved in practice. It refers to balancing time spent on work versus time spent with loved ones, and with the advent of new technology, work cultures have changed drastically thereby, creating a fuzzier line between “work” and “personal” life.
Benefits of work-life balance:
Higher productivity: Researchers found that after employees work 50 hours or more, their output falls dramatically and nearly plummets after 55 hours (Pencavel, 2014). Conversely, a good balance between work and personal life results in better productivity.
Fewer burnout rates: Burnout is a form of mental exhaustion and serves as an indicator to determine one’s health at work when it is not ideal. But, when work and personal life are in harmony, burnout rarely occurs.
Higher retention rates: When employees feel satisfied with their work-life balance, it is visible in their performance which in turn makes the company try to retain employees because they have proved to be an asset to the company.
Fewer health issues: Maintaining a work-life balance can lead to overall good health(Virtanen, 2010). Working overtime leads to both stress and inadequate healthy habits, which can affect medical conditions and increase the possibility of substance misuse.
Strategies to achieve & maintain work-life balance:
Communicate healthy boundaries: Learning how and when to say “No” to people can be one of the most essential soft skills for any working professional to learn and practice.
Take breaks: Several studies have shown that proper breaks allow room for better learning and greater productivity. Scheduling a microbreak of 30 seconds can even have long-lasting effects. Most importantly, make effective use of your lunch break, and eating at your desk while working does not count.
Ask for help: Do not feel guilty. Remember, it only makes you more approachable and provides others the chance to practice the gift of giving.
Self-care: Set out time for yourself daily. Start with something small and simple. The point is that you do something for yourself every day.
Prioritize your health: It is important to work towards our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Additionally, incorporate habits that strengthen them, such as – meditation, mindful breathing, practicing gratitude, and light movement/exercise.
Team Building Exercises: Enjoyable, fun activities enable employees to create a better understanding of each other. Workations are especially popular right now as employees feel appreciated for their work and companies also show that they care about them by providing unique experiences. It automatically boosts morale and encourages people to perform better.
Invest in relationships: Solid relations and healthy support systems can improve health and increase longevity. Make sure to spend your time nurturing relationships that matter to you. One way to do it is by blocking your schedule for some quality or family time.
Work-life balance encompasses everything that goes into a well-lived life. Therefore, as an employer, value people holistically, not just as employees in a vacuum, and look for employers who encourage and support you as individuals, not just as employees.
Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.
MindTribe Founder Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s eminent psychologist, established the company to leverage the strength of the online to make counseling affordable and accessible to everyone. MindTribe provides counseling, workshops, support groups, forums, and eLearning.
About the Author.
Samiksha Sethia is a psychologist at MindTribe.in. You can learn more about her by clicking here
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MindTribe.in, the Founders, or management team.
Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.