Work-life balance is a work in progress. Some people work hard and play hard, while others work all day at work and then go home to work some more. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time, you mustn’t be neglecting the parts of yourself that are most important- your mental health, family life, and social life. Besides, if you don’t balance your work life, you may end up with physical health issues as well.
So What is a Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance is the idea that employees are able to separate your work from other aspects of your life, and this could be either a good or bad work-life balance.
To achieve good work-life happiness levels, it’s crucial you know what work-life elements are in your workplace. These includes:
- The hours of work – how many hours do you work?
- Flexibility at your job – how flexible are the work hours?
- Work life balance – what is your work life balance at work? Do you see yourself as happy with it or not happy with it?
In general, a work-through lifestyle isn’t sustainable and will lead to burnout. Take care of yourself by having a good work-life balance. This article highlights the adverse effects of overworking, important creating work-personal hour boundaries, and work-life balance benefits. So read on.
Working after work hours can cause distress. It’s proven that working over 45 hours per week could have adverse effects on your mental health. It may also increase the risk of suffering depression.
Even if you work from home or you are self-employed, overworking can be distressing. Because whenever you work until late, it means you have less time to spend with your family, so it’s hard to have a good work-life balance. It can also lead to you not having enough time for hobbies, exercise, or relaxation, which will eventually affect your health and well-being.
Not only does working after hours a risk to your mental health, but it might ruin relationships with friends and family members. They end up feeling left out of touch because you spend most of your time working.
If work is interfering with your life, it’s time to take action. Create a work-life balance and set personal work hours. You could start by setting boundaries between work and home, for example, telling yourself that from the moment you get into work and until lunchtime belongs to your office job, but after midday is family time.
Many work professionals work late into the night to complete their work tasks. However, this unhealthy habit leads to lower-quality work performance and can have harmful consequences on your mental health and family life. Workplace pressure is a common reason for working long hours; however, it’s not healthy or productive in any way!
Here are some tips to help you avoid working long hours:
- Resist the urge to work late into the night, which often results from coworkers or manager pressure
- Create boundaries between work and personal work hours
- Limit work tasks to a designated period, even if you’re working from home.
- Set aside one day at the end of each week as your “day off” for doing anything but not work. Even better: try not to check email or other work-related messages on this day!
- Find more enjoyable work tasks.
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
You’ll be amazed at how your work performance improves and mental health is boosted when you avoid working long hours. Basically, it’s a win for everyone!
Setting boundaries for yourself and your work-life balance is essential. You will not only be able to provide quality and better service at work, but you will also cultivate an ideal work environment while having more free time with family and friends. Work-life balance is something you can work towards in a more gradual, incremental way.
Once work hours are set and boundaries defined, it’s time to identify the tasks or work-related responsibilities that fall outside those work hours. Don’t leave these tasks for the next day because this will only add to your workload.
Instead, work on these tasks during your work hours and be sure to get them done for the day at work or assign someone else to do it. If you have a work-related task that is important but doesn’t require your time, delegate this responsibility to another person working in the company.
Here are some tips to help you create work and personal hours boundaries:
- Create more flexible work arrangements so that there is no overlap of work and individual life schedules.
- Don’t work after work hours.
- Don’t work on weekends.
- Avoid work-related emails, phone calls, or texts outside work hours.
Lack of work-life balance in most cases leads to overworking. Although at first, it may seem okay and not a big deal. If allowed to become a trend, it may lead to fatigue, burnout, and even mental health. Also, work-related stress can lead to depression and anxiety. That’s why it’s important not to work after hours if you want to maintain a work-life balance.
Here are several ways overworking affects your mental health:
- Causes sleep issues like insomnia or difficulty falling asleep.
- It leads to workaholic behaviours like feelings of guilt, exhaustion, or work life imbalance
- Causes feelings of discontentment and resentment for the work they’re doing
- It makes it challenging to be effective at work
- Lead to feeling unfulfilled in life because outside interests are neglected. This can lead to a decrease in self-esteem
- Raises the risk of heart disease due to high work-related stress
- Causes work to take over life which can lead to workaholic behaviours and poor mental health.
Of course, this goes without saying. When you spend too much time working, your family feels neglected, and your social life deteriorates. Work-life balance may seem like a sacrifice, but it’s important to spend time with your loved ones and work on self-improvement.
Here are a few benefits of spending more time with family and on your social life:
- you get to catch up with family and friends
- relaxes your minds
- you have more time to work on your hobbies
- spending time with family and friends helps you lead a healthier lifestyle
- promotes creativity in work life
- you will have more time to work on self-improvements
As an employer, ensure your employees don’t work long hours. There are many ways of doing this, including:
- Giving more responsibility and work to other staff members in the company
- Setting limits on how much time workers spend working each day or week.
- Including a clause about work hours in an employment contract
- Have work hours written into the company’s policy on work time or work arrangements.
- Offering a work from home option
- Giving workers the ability to work overtime but not requiring them to do so
- Employers can also have an “opt out” for employees who would rather work long hours. An opt-out option provides workers with a choice, but it does not mean that they will be penalised if they take advantage of it and work more than their work hours.
- Employers can also work with other companies, employers, and legislators to ensure that all industries work under a similar policy.
- An employee’s work hours should never exceed their contract or agreement at the company.
Low-stress work environments are the key factor in making your employees motivated. Increased motivation leads to higher levels of efficiency and increased productivity.
A better work-life balance in an organisation also leads to happier employees, increased morale, dedicated employees, lesser chance of burnout or attrition, increased work satisfaction, and reduced stress levels.
Increased work-life balance also leads to increased employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to be able to work efficiently and have higher job performance ratings. As a result, the company benefits from increased work productivity, loyalty, and customer satisfaction.
Benefits of Improving Your Work-Life Balance
Improving work-life balance has several benefits. For instance, you will have more time to enjoy other aspects of your life, spend quality time with family and friends, do things you love to do outside work, or make a difference in the community. Besides that, when employees are passionate about their work, they feel less stressed out, leading them to be more productive.
It is important to work on your work-life balance. It will not only improve the quality of work that you are producing, but it will keep you in a good mood and better your social life.
Everyone needs some time to themselves, and work should never be the only thing in your day to consume you mentally and physically. You’ll find that when work becomes too all-consuming, it’s more difficult for you to produce good work because there will always be something else on your mind weighing heavy on your work.
It has also been found that when people have a well-balanced life (outside of work), they are more productive. This is because they have had time to refresh their mind, body, and spirit through hobbies or other enjoyable activities.
If you are an employer and would like to help prevent burnout and fatigue, visit my Burnout & Fatigue Prevention Workshop page.