What is a work-life balance?
Work-Life balance is about separating personal and professional lives without allowing one to intrude upon the other. Both facets of our lives hold immense value and neither should be neglected. A ‘Work-Life balance’ often refers to an employee’s ability to maintain a healthy balance between their work roles, personal responsibilities, and family life. Companies these days are increasingly recognizing the importance of helping their employees achieve this balance as an increasing number of employees are experiencing conflict between their work and personal roles.
Another factor which is contributing greatly to the difficulty in achieving a work life balance is the changing landscape of how and where employees are expected to work. As more and more companies embrace the technological age and move into globalization, work is no longer restricted to the workplace. Employees can work from almost any location with the use of laptops, tablets, and smart phones; and telecommuting is on the rise. Employees can access work emails and assignments 24/7, meaning that they can also be accessible to employers and clients. Although there are multiple benefits to this flexible working pattern, it can run the risk of blurring the lines between work and personal life. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance ensures the physical and mental well-being of employees and increases the quality of duties, responsibilities and the overall experience of both facets of their lives.
The Necessity of Maintaining a Work-Life Balance
Maintains your Mental Health
Not all employers place enough importance on mental health in the workplace. This can lead to a variety of issues ranging from stress-related illnesses to depression. When stress is not addressed and managed well, it sometimes also leads to “chronic stress.” This could be caused by a variety of things, from outrageous workloads (and no work-life balance) to simply not feeling valued for the hard work you do.
Ensures your Physical Health and Wellbeing
And, as the old adage says: healthy body, healthy mind. So a great way to maintain your mental health is to ensure that you are physically feeling healthy too. That includes regular exercise and eating healthy but also not overdoing it at work! Perhaps money can buy happiness in certain circumstances, but if you spend all of your time working or thinking about work then it’s more than likely that it won’t.
Your company wants employees who are hard-working and productive and staying for unnecessarily long hours at the office might make you feel like you are contributing a lot to the office; however the quality of work is probably worse. Studies reveal that those who maintain a steady work-life balance are much more productive than those who do not.
Makes you a More Rounded Individual
If your life revolves around work, then you lose a lot of the other positive dimensions that make you attractive to employers (and other stakeholders). Having interests outside of work will increase and improve your skills and make you a more rounded and interesting individual. This is seriously something that employers keep an eye for. That’s why you need to include a hobbies section on your CV and that’s why they ask what you enjoy doing in your spare time.
You Only Get One Life
You only get one life, so live it to the fullest. You don’t want to let years go by and realise you missed out; time is something you can never get back. Companies should adopt the good practice of encouraging a healthy work life balance for their employees, both in the policies that they implement and in ensuring that managers actively encourage employees to take advantage of these policies. Offering employees flexible working options helps them design their work pattern to fit their personal commitments, ultimately reducing conflict between work and personal responsibilities.
An employee’s satisfaction in their personal life and their ability to meet personal commitments greatly affects their success as a worker, which greatly benefits any company. Helping employees to achieve a good work life balance increases work satisfaction, builds their loyalty to their employer, and helps employees achieve career longevity.
Enhances Creative & Innovative Thinking
The human brain is attuned in a way that it needs its space to think and it is not meant to be constantly hyperactive and drained by people, emails, phone calls, text messages, social media etc. While some people seem to experience high output as deadlines are closer and they are working under last-minute pressure, ‘great ideas’ or even some ‘breakthrough ideas’ are mostly born out of a calm and relaxed mind. It is thus, safe to say that ‘time management’ plays a crucial role in fostering a healthy work-life balance as the more one utilizes time judiciously towards achieving targets, the lesser time is wasted and this saved time can be devoted to other commitments. Moreover, when employees are under stress or pressure, they often feel overwhelmed and anxious and this affects their capability to think innovatively. Balancing and managing time on the other hand gives way to clear and creative thinking which ultimately leads to better quality of work.
Brings Happiness & Fulfilment
Today when we measure the happiness index of countries and states, work-life balance and low stress levels remain to be big contributors to the happiness and fulfilment of citizens. Balance is all about feeling in control of your life and not having any kind of guilt or regrets in either spheres of your life. It also means feeling good about yourself and your life including your career path and progression. Achieving this balance not only leads to happiness and a feeling of fulfilment but also adds real meaning and positivity to your life. While we may keep striving to do better and climb the ladder of success, work-life balance ensures that we are fully happy and content in our ‘present’ and that automatically reflects in the quality of our future.