Almost everyone has experienced work-related stress. A 2020 survey found that 79 percent of people in the United Kingdom experience work stress at least once a month, and 23 percent feel stressed in general about work.
These statistics matter because anxiety can cause burnout, poor mental health, heart problems, sleep disturbances and more. These issues not only harm workers but also increase costs from missed workdays and higher healthcare burdens.
In this article, we explore the importance of work-life balance, and we explain what you can do to achieve a healthy equilibrium.
Maintaining stability between work commitments and personal life is the hallmark of work-life balance, meaning that you can handle your professional responsibilities without stress while also having time and energy for relationships and personal pursuits, such as family, hobbies, social activities and rest.
But ever-present technology and the rise of remote work make it harder to draw the line between work and personal time. Many workers find it difficult to switch off because communication is always available, and some employers expect fast responses around the clock.
Staying too connected doesn’t increase productivity though – it makes people more prone to stress, which leads to lower quality work and even serious health consequences. That’s why it’s vital for employers and employees to prioritise work-life balance.
Extensive research has shown that finding the right balance between work and personal life can lead to advantages for both workers and businesses.
By having sufficient time outside work, you can fit in exercise and rest, which are both crucial to health. When you have more free time, it’s easier to prioritise self-care without feeling guilty.
A rich personal life also allows for hobbies, continuous learning and spending time with family and friends. This enrichment leads to stronger relationships and social connections, resulting in a more rewarding life overall.
Taking regular breaks and holidays boosts focus, creativity and general productivity when engaged in work tasks. In fact, employees who have a strong work-life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t.
Employers with healthy work environments also foster greater loyalty from employees. By discouraging excessive work hours and constant stress, they prevent burnout and turnover and report improved job performance and enthusiasm.
1. Find the right employer
Businesses with work-life balance often offer flexibility, such as remote work or compressed workweeks. They also value clear communication and workload discussions without fear of repercussions. During interviews, you can ask hiring managers about whether they provide wellness initiatives, encourage time off, discourage overworking and prioritise their own personal lives to get a sense of how they build a healthy culture for employees.
2. Set boundaries
When work hours are over, avoid checking emails or doing work. This gives you dedicated time to relax, be with loved ones and do things you enjoy. Saying no to extra tasks when you’re already busy helps you avoid overloading yourself, which is a fundamental component of work-life balance. It also leaves you recharged for the next day, allowing you to be more productive during work hours.
3. Practice self-care
Getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising should be top priorities because it’s not possible to be fully invested in work and relationships when you are running on empty. And by engaging in activities that bring you joy, you can rejuvenate your mind and body.
4. Work on time management
Improving your ability to delegate work, set clear priorities and make decisions quickly can save time and ease the burden of commitments. The more efficient you are, the more time you have – although there’s a limit to what any human can do. Be careful not to put too much on your plate.
5. Unplug Regularly
Research has confirmed the importance of scheduling tech-free time. To truly disconnect, you have to put away your phone and computer regularly. This allows you to be present with friends, family or even just by yourself, without work distractions.
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