It can be difficult to define what equates to a reasonable work life balance. If you find it a challenge to juggle the demands of your career, and your down time out of the workplace, you are not alone. According to the OECD Better Life Index Report, working parents find it particularly difficult to find a suitable work life balance. The Mental Health Foundation supported this, stating that 40% of employees neglect other aspects of life due to work commitments. This demanding work culture is having a prevalent impact on mental health in the UK.
Create a procedure
Encouraging a culture of balance in the work environment is a fundamental step in working life that is often overlooked. Although you want to maintain a high level of professionalism in the workplace, you must also ensure that your colleagues and employees feel comfortable in taking time out and re-prioritising tasks when they begin to feel pressure and tension. In this instance, a procedure or policy by which the employee can refer to or take advice from when they need some down time would be beneficial for both the employee and the employer. Not only will this set the guidelines and regulations for employees to follow when workload is causing them stress, but will also release an element of pressure from the employee if they know that there is a procedure in place when they are feeling the strain.
Determine your balance
Getting to know the right balance between work and lifestyle that works for you is a personal judgement. There are no set guidelines to determining what you feel is a reasonable work life balance and each individual has varying degrees of what they would consider a ‘work-life balance’. The way to determine this balance is to acknowledge your needs and own well-being. Take into account your own personal circumstances, and acknowledge your needs and your own well-being. Often, by listening to your gut instinct and paying attention to your emotions and physical well-being, you can tell if the work life balance is wrong. When you start to feel like your balance is out of sync and your work load is outweighing your ‘down-time’ you may want to revaluate how you manage your approach to maintain a work life balance. Your work load should not cause you stress or anxiety.
Draw a line between home and work
You are feeling overloaded with projects and tasks to be completed and you are time short. An easy option is certainly to take your work load home with you and complete the jobs with a glass of wine in hand watching the Bake Off. This is great, in theory, however this can become force of habit, which ultimately sets your ‘work life balance’ off course. In situations where you feel you tempted to take your work home, note down in a diary what hasn’t been completed as a reminder to continue tomorrow when back at the office. Don’t take it home, leave it at work! This can seem easier said than done, but for instances where the task is not urgent and you are simply taking work home due to habit, it is perfectly reasonably to leave it in the office and take some time for yourself.
It is undeniable that the evolution of technology has improved the standards of organisational process and has advanced in many ways in recent years. However, for all the convenience this has created, it has caused a feeling of constant accessibility, discouraging down time from our phones and emails.
Each one of us at some point is guilty of checking our work mail outside working hours. At the point when you decide to remove your focus from the workplace, switch your phone off, or at very least switch off your notifications. Try avoiding your notifications when you are spending quality doing what you love.