Work-Life Balance Is Achievable, You're Just Thinking About It Wrong!

Work-life balance is achievable, but many establishments are doing it wrong. Learn more about what makes for effective work-life balance.

published Nov 10, 2023

Maintaining an appropriate work-life balance can be difficult, especially for individuals working long hours and weekends. As recorded by the World Health Organization, long working hours not only affect your sleeping habits and mental health but can also lead to physical problems. According to the analysis, long working hours contributed to about 745,000 deaths in 2016. All of this is especially concerning following the rise in remote work. If your home and workplace are one in the same, drawing the line between your personal time and work life can be increasingly difficult.

But what if there’s more to achieving work-life balance than just clocking in and out at the right times? Let’s explore how individuals and employers can achieve better work-life balance by shifting their perspective of what this concept is really all about. Let's get started!

Work-Life Balance Meaning

Work-life balance involves having an equilibrium or a smooth relationship between work and your personal life. It consists of managing personal needs, responsibilities, time spent with family and friends, and work simultaneously.

One of the symptoms of a poor work-life balance is burnout, which is quite rampant, as 77% of all employees said they've been burnt out at least once in their current roles. Work-life balance is important because workers become more productive when they are well-rested and refreshed.

Aside from being productive, a healthy balance reduces absenteeism and enables employees to stay longer at their jobs. They become more passionate about work because the employer considers their needs. But, just as balancing your life with work is important, so is the energy you invest in both areas.

Work-Life Balance Is About Energy

So much goes into balancing your personal life with work: making sure projects are carried out properly, managing stress, trying to spend more time with family, and taking time off for personal care when necessary. Just as there are measurement parameters for scientific concepts, there are also measurements for work-life balance: positive and negative energy.

This is an important part of the work-life balance discussion because spending time at work or with family is ineffective when there is zero or poor energy. Therefore, energy is the main resource for an effective lifestyle, and we can't discuss work-life balance meaning properly without diving into why and how energy comes into play.

Many individuals try to split their energy equally between two or three parts of their lives simultaneously, and that is an impossible approach. There's no 50/50 when it comes to investing energy into work, family, or your personal life; it just doesn't work.

So, instead of trying to balance or give equal energy to work, family, and your personal life at the same time, what works better is a strategic division that gives equal energy but at different times.

Energy for Work

You can start by giving 50% of your energy to work, 30% to family, and 20% to self-care. At this point, you're investing energy into becoming more productive at work or upskilling. But aside from productivity and upskilling, here are other efforts that will boost your career:

  • Career development

  • Building relationships

  • Alignment with company values

  • Networking

  • Exploring new opportunities outside your current job and building your brand online

  • Devoting extra time to time-bound projects

  • Growing your professional network

Energy for Self-Care

Due to the emphasis on mental health awareness, about 55% of employers currently offer employees time off for mental health. Personal care is necessary to regain strength, become more focused, and avoid burnout. Here, you can put 50% of your energy into yourself, 30% into work, and 20% into family.

Even though personal care enhances your well-being and the quality of your life while covering your emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological needs, it is different for everyone. So do something that makes you happy and relieves accumulated stress from work. Generally, here are a few things you can do:

  • Maintain a regular sleeping routine

  • Eat healthy

  • Spend time in nature

  • Do a hobby you enjoy

  • Visit new places

  • Exercise regularly

  • Set goals and priorities

  • Prioritize your mental health

Energy for Family

Building and maintaining family bonds is essential because they help you get through the tough times. So, when considering how to balance work and life, investing time and energy into family activities is not up for debate.

With over 122 holidays worldwide and 12 federal holidays in the United States, you can always find something to do with your family, depending on your culture, religion, and location. Aside from holidays, here are activities to do with your family during leaves, vacation breaks, and holidays:

  • Plan a family road trip

  • Go on vacations

  • Share meals

  • Volunteer together

  • Do chores together

  • Make future plans

  • Go painting

  • Plan a picnic

Bear in mind that you determine the energy allocated to work, family, and self, so do what works best for you. However, to achieve work-life balance, do not sacrifice one for the other.

Environment Makes All the Difference

Knowing how to have work-life balance is not enough because, aside from energy, your environment matters. It is also one of the reasons for the great resignation in 2021, where over 47 million people in the US voluntarily quit their jobs. Aside from this massive workforce resignation, 34% of employees in a recent survey said they'd quit their jobs if the work environment became toxic.

Therefore, employers are responsible for providing a healthy work environment while promoting adequate work-life balance. This effort goes beyond having workshops or simply talking about how to maintain work-life balance. It goes as far as making reasonable changes in work calendars and building a workplace culture that promotes respect while giving room for career growth.

Three Loves: The Job, the People You Work With, and the Person/People You Work For

A good and healthy work environment encompasses the job, colleagues, and the employer. According to a Gallup survey, 60% of employees are emotionally detached from their jobs, leading to low engagement, less productivity, and lower revenue.

Psychological detachment from work happens for many reasons, including exhaustion, depression, tasks outside of the employee's job description, being overworked and underpaid, and more.

When workers switch off due to psychological detachment, they become less interested and engaged, and this attitude costs the world economy about $8.8 trillion each year. You can avoid these losses, build a future-proof workforce, and increase revenue by improving the quality of the workplace environment.

The environment has a huge impact on employee motivation, creativity, and willingness to grow your company. This starts from the employer down to the team members; 60% of workers said the people they work with contribute to their job happiness.

What to Do if You Don't Love Your Job, the People You Work With, or Who You Work For

The debate of whether employees are satisfied with their jobs has been prevalent for quite some time. Many individuals advocate for loving one's job, but in reality, many people are not satisfied with their work or even those they work with. For some, they loved their job. However, they got bored somewhere along the way.

Others hate their jobs due to poor management, lack of room for growth, inability to share one's ideas, a toxic work environment, and many other reasons. If you start to lose interest in your job or you've already lost your passion for it, here are tips to help you get back on track:

  • Personalize Your Job: The first thing to do if you are looking for how to have a good work-life balance and stay satisfied with your job is to build your role the way you want it to be. For instance, if you need music to stay motivated, plug in your headphones and play your favorite songs. If you hate the boring or quiet work environment, you can suggest that management allows you to host company events and parties. In essence, find a way to weave what you love into your job.

  • Explore Another Department: When people do the same thing repeatedly, they tend to get tired or bored from the routine. So, if you're getting bored in your role, you can explore other teams, departments, or projects in the same company.

  • Pursue Activities and Projects Outside of Work: If you feel like you're putting too much energy into work, find other activities that allow you to do your job effectively and also remove work stress. This can be sports, spending more time with family, exploring your passions, or taking on a less demanding role.

  • Stop Seeing Your Job as a Source of Happiness or Identity: You are not your job. While it’s good to be passionate about your job, relying on it as your sole source of happiness is no good. And if you’re truly unhappy with your position, you can look at it as a source of professional growth, a source of income, and a way to keep yourself busy while you search for better roles or a means to raise funds for starting your own business.

While these tips are helpful, they are only effective if you want to remain in the company. But if you’ve had a total change of heart, are tired of working there, or feel like you are not valued, you might take a step back and change direction. It all depends on what you want and what works best for you.

Is Work-Life Balance Achievable?

Yes, it is! However, many individuals and employers don't know how to balance work and their personal lives, even with the growing need for a healthier workplace. As an employer, it is your duty to ensure that workers balance work and their lives; this will ensure more productivity and, in turn, increase your revenue.

But, if you are unsure where to start or the best way to integrate work-life balance into your company culture, here are ways to provide employees with the work-life balance opportunities they need:

  • Offer Remote Options: Add flexible and remote work opportunities, allowing employees to work from home or anywhere else in the world.

  • Host Workload and Wages Meetings: Make sure employees know that you value their thoughts on compensation packages. Heavy workloads and low pay is one factor that discourages employees from working with a company. Host consistent meetings focused on discussing workloads. This will help you effectively measure if employees are well-paid or valued enough compared to their workload.

  • Increase Support for Working Parents: Working parents usually have so much going on (especially new parents), so to offer better work-life balance, increase support. Offer paternity and maternity leaves, add family health insurance packages, or consider other options catering to family needs.

  • Encourage Breaks: Workers feel refreshed and become more productive when they go on breaks. So, the best way to get more work done or to increase sales or revenue is to prioritize and encourage them to take time off.

Want to Increase Employee Retention? Consider Foreword Companies as Your Trusted Partner

Employee acquisition is expensive due to the resources used to place vacancy ads, recruit talent acquisition teams, and retain workers. But with the right knowledge, you can keep workers long-term and save money while ensuring that every team player is aligned with the company's vision and mission.

One of the best ways to retain workers long-term is by making them feel valued. But that's not all; you can also learn how to balance work and life when collaborating with professionals. Certified establishments like Foreword Companies are there to help.

With Foreword Companies, you'll get business consulting, coaching, improvement, investment, and the partnership you need to retain employees and increase your yearly revenue. Want to know more about how we help businesses achieve their goals? Schedule a call today!

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