How to Establish a Better Work-Life Balance
Establishing a work-life balance is something that we talk about often, yet it’s so rare to find someone who’s actually managed to strike that correct balance. The pressures of work and the ever-constant availability of employees thanks to tech and your email inbox always waiting in your pocket means it’s incredibly difficult to actually get away from one’s job. The situation was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, with more and more employees switching to remote work, meaning there wasn’t even a physical divide between one’s workspace and one’s home and leisure space.
However, while it is incredibly difficult to strike a better work-life balance, it’s so important to make an effort to do so. Without a proper work-life balance, employees risk burning out and serious problems for both their mental and physical health.
If you’re looking to obtain that better work-life balance, we’re here to help with a few tips.
The Ramifications of Not Establishing a Work-Life Balance
Achieving a healthy work-life balance means healthfully prioritizing your work and personal lives. You spend your work time focused on work and getting things done. You spend your personal time focused on your personal life. You get to enjoy both lives more thoroughly as a result. You’re able to be present with the current moment and current task.
While achieving a healthy work-life balance is easier said than done, not doing so can come with serious ramifications, not only for both your personal and professional lives, but also for your physical and mental health. Some of the most obvious consequences include:
Fatigue, meaning you won’t be able to properly work while on the job and you won’t be able to properly enjoy your leisure time, either; additionally, fatigue can add to health problems as it lowers your immunity.
Poor health, as you deal with increased stress, which likewise lowers your immunity and makes you more susceptible to disease and illness; additionally, stress also often leads to substance abuse, damaging your health further.
Burnout, meaning you no longer have mental capacity for any of your life, work or personal.
Damaged interpersonal relationships, as you work so much and so often that you don’t have proper time to devote to your most important relationships, with family and loved ones.
Increased expectations, as you work extra hard and extra long hours, meaning your coworkers begin to expect that level of performance from you at all times, just further increasing your stress and risk for burnout.
However, while there are a lot of ramifications for not having a work-life balance, on the flip side of all this, if you make a concerted effort to establish that healthy work-life balance, you can see a lot of great benefits, such as:
Lower stress, as you have the proper amount of time needed to enjoy both your work and your leisure time.
A greater sense of wellbeing, as you develop a more well-rounded lifestyle that provides greater opportunities for a range of professional pursuits, hobbies and relationships.
A healthier body, as you’re not putting yourself under undue stress or damaging your body with unrealistic expectations, both mentally and physically.
And, if you’re an employer, you’ll also see extra benefits from your employees establishing better work-life balances, as they take fewer sick days and increase their productivity.
4 Tips for Improving Your Work-Life Balance
So, now that you know both the risks and the benefits, are you ready to start improving your work-life balance? Here are four ways to get started.
1. Let go of your perfectionism
If your idea of a healthy work-life balance means that you’re performing perfectly both in the office and at home, it’s time to drop that idea completely. Rather, work-life balance is more likely to mean that you're never 100% perfect either at home or in the office, and that’s entirely okay. You want to let go of this idea that you need to be perfect, in any capacity. Instead, strive to give your best in whatever situation you find yourself and rest assured that your best is good enough. In fact, your best is usually whatever is most realistic for your situation, whether that’s working fewer days so you have time to devote to your hobbies and leisure pursuits or your family, or establishing a strict no-texting rule while at work, so you can keep your work and home life separate.
Whatever you find you need to do to give your best and most realistic effort, be proud of that, rather than striving for your idea of perfectionism.
2. Set boundaries
It can be very difficult to set boundaries, but it’s so important, in every aspect of your life.
Set boundaries with both your colleagues and your family, so that everyone knows when you’re available and when you can actually afford to be present. If your family knows that you have to work late every Tuesday, they’re less likely to guilt you for not being at the dinner table; if your boss knows that you don’t check your email on the weekend, you’re less likely to be chided about a missed conversation on Monday morning.
3. Limit your time-wasting activities
We all have them: time sucks. What’s currently sucking up your free time and making your life harder in the process?
Are you spending too much time doing busy work at the office, tasks that could be delegated to another staff member or intern? Make a point to delegate those tasks.
Are you spending a lot of time on household chores, when you could be spending that time with your family? See where you might be able to hire out some of your household chores, or even ask a family member to pitch in.
Maybe your time suck is something that just doesn’t need to be done at all — like spending an hour scrolling through social media in the morning in bed, when you could be enjoying breakfast with the family. Whatever your time suck is, identify it and remove it.
4. Add meditation to your healthy lifestyle
Meditation is an excellent practice to help you achieve a better work-life balance. Meditation allows you to unplug for a brief time period each day (or as often as you like), allowing you to reset your mind and recover from some of your day-to-day stress, renewing your energy and creativity.
With Flow’s mobile and VR apps, you can meditate on the go and easier than ever. Using a VR headset, you can meditate with your eyes open, for a fully immersive experience that combines Icelandic nature scenery with natural sounds and music. Choose from six different meditation modes and choose to meditate for as little as 4 minutes.
How to Encourage Your Employees to Establish a Better Work-Life Balance
There are three ways you, as an employer, can encourage your employees to establish a better work-life balance.
1. Set a good example
Why would your employees try to establish a better work-life balance if you don’t do it yourself? If you’re the type of manager who sends emails late at night or who works in the office on the weekends, they’ll be more apt to follow your lead. Cut your employees some slack and lead by example — you’ll benefit from the time away from work just as much as them.
2. Know your employees’ work-life balance goals
Work-life balance looks different for everyone. Some employees may not have children and they’re really focused on building their careers right now, so they want to spend more time working extra hours or on extra assignments. Some employees actively want to spend more time with family and less time thinking about work.
Talk to your employees about their work-life balance goals and how they envision work-life balance in their personal lives. Make it known that there’s no wrong answer and then do your part to support them in achieving that balance that they want.
3. Make meditation easy for your team, with Flow at Work
A Flow at Work corporate wellness program can make meditation — and work-life balance in general — easier for your employees. Flow offers solutions to help with the modern workforce’s most pressing challenges, including stress, anxiety and burnout. By combining modern technology and the ancient art of meditation, Flow helps your team better cope with day-to-day stress and other struggles.
Forget sitting still, eyes closed, for hours at a time. Flow’s meditation makes for easy practices in fewer than five minutes. Flow at Work provides your team with access to the Flow VR app, a mobile app, web portal and workshops — all of which have been proven to help corporate teams reduce stress levels, enhance sleep quality, increase focus and improve relationships both in and out of the office.
Learn more about Flow at Work, here.