Nowadays, many people consider themselves ‘time poor’—consistently juggling one commitment after the other.
Some statistics show that 1 in 10 employees now work over 50 hours each week which is considered ‘very long hours.’
Understandably, this setup makes it very difficult for most people to achieve a healthy work life balance.
Essentially, a great work life balance means you have achieved harmony between the various aspects of your life.
Many ask themselves how to achieve work life balance so they can strengthen and support others.
To a great extent, today’s modern work culture revolves around the idea of balance.
Nowadays, humans are more engaged than ever, times are hectic, and for some, achieving a work-life balance can seem like a farfetched (if not impossible) dream.
However, while achieving work life balance can be a challenge for many, it can be done.
In most cases, the work schedule now is no longer confined to the usual office hours.
Many years prior, most of the work was manual and getting free time away from work is not as difficult.
Employees were able to take care of other priorities as soon as they step out of the four corners of their office.
With the introduction of tech and the IT revolution, the entire work scenario changed drastically.
Accessing resources is no longer a huge concern.
However, this also means that work emails can come knocking at anytime.
Because of this, employees end up spending longer hours at work compared to before.
This hinders them from achieving the seemingly unattainable life-work balance.
The Impact of Work-Life Balance
Often, work-life balance is viewed as an approach to maintaining equal hours between work and play.
But there is more to it than meets the eye.
A well-balanced work-life is not about coming and getting off work on time.
Looking at it from a broader perspective, work-life balance is all about prioritizing things as per their importance.
When you prioritize things, you can save both energy and time.
This allows you to achieve the perfect balance between your work and personal life.
At first glance, work-life balance can seem like something that only benefits the employees.
Nothing can be farther from the truth.
Achieving work-life balance is as beneficial to the organization as it is to individual employees.
When employees are able to achieve the right balance between work and life, they are more satisfied and understandably happier.
This satisfaction and happiness can trickle down in the behavior and performance at work.
Moreover, employees that achieve a healthy life-work balance often become likely advocates of their respective organizations.
The upsides of achieving life-work balance does not end there.
When employees enjoy life-work balance, the organization will also notice higher retention rates, enhanced work culture, and improved employee engagement.
How to Achieve a Healthy Life-Work Balance
If you are working on achieving life-work balance, give the following strategies a try:
1. Take Time Off Between Work
When you take time off between work, it can help you deal with stress more effectively.
It is important to keep in mind that the human body is not made to endure long hours of work just sitting down and facing computers.
In line with this, you also need to make sure you are able to incorporate physical movements while at work.
Start with light walks or some simple desk exercises.
Taking short breaks when you are tired or dealing with a stressful situation can also help you recharge and recover.
2. Volunteer Time Off
Volunteering is not only a great way to socialize, it is also great at building interpersonal connections.
Also, volunteering for social causes can also help you commit socially and destress.
For organizations, granting employees time off to do volunteer work will not only help boost their company social responsibilities initiatives, it can also promote goodwill between the organization and the employees.
3. Plan Properly
Planning your day-to-day activities at work and at home is another great strategy you can look into.
Planning can also help you identify your priorities so you will know which tasks to tackle first.
In addition, sticking to a well-laid plan can also help you save a lot of time at work.
This allows you to focus on other things outside of work and have time for things that make you happy.
4. Observe a Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a massive factor that can help you achieve life-work balance.
An unhealthy life-work balance can disrupt not only your physical but also your mental health.
Taking this fact into account, an unhealthy lifestyle can hamper your productivity to a great extent.
And that’s just for starters.
It can also affect your health and how you deal with others, your co-workers included.
Just like a healthy body helps you to stay energetic, a mind free from stress is also full of clarity.
This helps you excel both in your work and personal life.
5. Practice a No Work at Home Policy After Work Hours
Oftentimes, employees take their work at home to make up for deadlines.
This inability to leave work at the office can result in some issues that can hinder life-work balance.
For instance, working even during off-hours can deprive the human body of the amount of rest it needs.
Further, it can also affect your social life, a factor that is necessary to achieve a healthy mindset.
You can help prevent all those by adhering strictly to a no work at home policy.
6. Manage Time Properly
Time management is a key aspect if you want to achieve life-work balance.
If you ignore this aspect, you can end up overwhelmed at the end of the day and unable to find time for yourself.
To be able to manage your time accordingly, you need to make sure you have a routine set in place.
Using time management hacks and tools can also help in this regard.
7. Adopt Some Hobbies
Most people have hobbies like painting, photography, collecting stamps, dancing, etc.
A good life-work balance should not only be limited to having time for work and loved ones.
You need to also factor in those things that you like and love doing on a personal level.
While unfortunate to note, many people are able to find time for work and family at the expense of their own hopes and aspirations.
A hobby gives you time to work on things that matter to you.
8. Take Advantage of Paid Vacation Time
In today’s day and age, vacation is no longer considered a luxury but a necessity.
It is high time that you realize that paid vacations are an important part of the modern work culture.
Taking advantage of paid vacation leaves can also go a long way towards helping you stay relaxed and rejuvenated.
9. Consider Doing Remote Work
Many people consider the ability to work from anywhere one of the best setups.
Even if you don’t travel while working, remote work will give you the opportunity to work where and when you want to.
It will also give you the opportunity to fulfill and attend social commitments without missing out on anything work-related.
10. Take Advantage of Pet-Friendly Workspaces
Pet-friendly workspaces are becoming a thing and with good reason.
Having the opportunity to bring your pets to work will not only help you relax mentally, it can also help create a light and jovial atmosphere that can help make work seem less toxic.
11. Participate in Team Building Exercises
Team building is designed to get people to work together to achieve a common goal.
Team building activities and exercises can also be an effective way to improve relationships among employees.
What many people don’t realize however is that team building can also be beneficial in establishing life-work balance.
With remote teams becoming the norm lately, communication and collaboration has become a must.
One of the best ways to build a better life-work balance is to participate in activities that bring the team together enjoyably.
12. Have a Designated Quiet Space
Having a designated quiet space at your workplace can help your team stay happy, healthy, and productive.
Use the spot to meditate, reflect, or just take a break from the bustle at the office.
Having a quiet space also allows you to have a place where you can collect your thoughts and stay focused so you can get work done.
Ensure you also have a room that is well-kept and inviting.
You can even play some music to create a relaxing atmosphere.
13. Focus on Your Physical Health
It is not easy to maintain an active lifestyle or to find time to visit the gym when your schedule is always packed.
If your office has a gym, it would be a great idea to take advantage of it so you can enhance both your mental and physical health.
If you are working from home, it would be a great idea to adopt standing desks or treadmill desks so you can exercise while working.
14. Consider Tailored Experiences
There is no universal approach to creating life-work balance as each employee is different.
That said, you need to focus on activities and experiences that are tailored to you.
For instance, some love working late and logging in long hours, while others prefer starting early and leaving as soon as possible.
Choose whatever works for you best so you can find time for other things that you want to do outside of work.
15. Establish Clear Boundaries
Set realistic and fair boundaries on what you will and will not do at home and in the office.
It is ideal that your boundaries are clearly communicated to your supervisor, co-workers, partners, and loved ones.
For instance, if you don’t like committing to working late unless necessary, it is ideal that all the parties concerned are aware of your stand.
Additionally, it is also recommended that you don’t check or respond to any work-related emails while at home.
16. Make Time for You
As much as work and relationships are priorities, it is also crucial that you schedule time to renew yourself.
In line with this, it would be best to engage in things you enjoy, even just for a few minutes.
Start with at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted “me” time.
This can do wonders for your health and well-being and can benefit your work as well.
Also, it is ideal that you connect with some spiritual source.
Believing in a higher power can provide you with a deep well from which you can draw guidance, strength, and inspiration.
Setting aside a day a week dedicated to helpful rest and rejuvenation can also help.
17. Avail of Programs that Promote Life-Work Balance
It is reassuring to know that many forward-thinking companies are creating and offering programs and policies that facilitate life-work balance.
That said, check out what your options are in terms of job-sharing, part-time employment, flexible hours, telecommuting, and a compressed work week.
It would also be best to find a work arrangement that will allow you to work more productively while allowing you some time to spend on activities outside of work.
If your company does not have a flexible scheduling program at the moment, consider proposing one.
18. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Using your time more efficiently is a vital skill that any employee should learn.
Adopting the right time-management practices can help you cut stress and save you some time that you can use for things and activities outside of work.
This can include using technology to stay more organized, learning to say no, and avoiding procrastination.
19. Know When to Ask for Help
If you feel overwhelmed at work and you are suffering from undue stress, don’t suffer in silence.
Shed the superhuman image and talk to your supervisor or boss about your situation.
Untenable work situations can be alleviated but it will require some assertiveness from you.
In the same manner, if life-work balance continues to elude you or if you are experiencing massive stress, consider talking to a professional—a counselor, clergy person, or a mental health worker.
If your company is offering employee assistance programs, it’s something you should take advantage of as well.
20. Track Your Time
Analyzing your present situation is a huge step in achieving a more balanced life.
Start by keeping a time log of everything you do for a week, including personal and work-related activities.
The information you will find can be a great eye opening and can help you clearly and accurately determine where you are spending (and losing) your time.
Achieving life-work balance is not an exact science yet.
That said, you need to find your own way of striking the right balance between your career, personal care, and relationships into an integrated whole.
What is right for you can change as circumstances arise so it would be best to review your situation and adjust accordingly.
If anything, achieving a healthy life-work balance is a concerted effort and will require continued effort.
However, if you commit yourself to the quest wholeheartedly, you will reap the life-work balance you are looking for.