Swayed by hustle culture? Pause for a bit and let's look at the benefits of having a solid work-life balance.
Chances are one of your new year’s resolutions is to spend more time with loved ones, to excel at work, to work out more or to be more ‘present’. Right? How’s that working out for you? We don’t blame you if you’re having a hard time achieving all of the above. These are pretty lofty goals to achieve. You’ll need a pretty healthy work-life balance to achieve them. In this blog, you’ll discover the benefits of having a solid work-life balance.
1. Your personal life will improve
It goes without saying that your personal life will improve. You’ll get to spend more time with loved ones. No matter what you want to spend more time on, flexible working will help you do it. You’ll end up happier and will perform better at work.
You’re not the only one wanting to spend more time with your friends and family. Studies have shown repeatedly that for certain groups of people work-life balance trumps salary. According to a FlexJobs’ survey, working parents rank work-life balance (84 percent) ahead of salary (75 percent) when considering whether or not to take a job. Work-life balance was also named the top reason working parents seek flexible work, followed by family, time savings, and commuting stress.
The same goes for millennials. Millennials value work-life balance a lot. Research has shown that they care more about work-life balance than career advancement.
2. Overtime could kill you.
If your work-life balance is out of whack, i.e. if you work too hard and are overstressed, you’re jeopardising your health.
Being tired lowers your immune system and makes you more susceptible to the flu. But even worse, you’re more likely to suffer from serious health conditions like heart conditions, strokes, and respiratory problems.
A study performed by the University College London showed that white-collar workers who worked three or more hours longer than required had a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems such as death due to heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks, and angina.
So, look after yourself and limit your overtime. Overtime is sometimes unavoidable, and everyone gets stressed from time to time. But if you find yourself in a state of excessive stress and haven’t seen your children, friends or relatives for weeks on end, you need to change your habits.
3. Mens Sana in Corpore Sano
Yeah, we like to throw some Latin around. Basically:
The fact that you never get the flu or can run the marathon doesn’t mean that you’re not suffering from stress-related issues. There are mental and psychological consequences too. One of them is a burnout.
Burnouts occur when we feel overwhelmed and feel unable to meet constant demands. If the magnitude of the tasks you’re asked to perform is overwhelming or if you’re pitted up against impossible deadlines regularly, you need to take a step back and relax. Stats show that the share of workers suffering from burnouts has gone up from 10,4 to 20,9%. And a burnout will negatively affect every aspect of your life.
A solid work-life balance will help you relax and avoid a burnout. Many professions require a lot of time and effort, and sometimes a lot of downtime just isn’t possible if you’re determined to do well. It’s all about finding your balance. Care to find out how?
4. You’ll have time for yourself
If you have a solid work-life balance, you’ll be able to leave your work at work. No need to shush your mother while she asks you if you want more gravy just to answer a work-related mail. No need to take calls from clients while you’re finally having a drink with your crush. You’ll enjoy life more, you’ll live intensely and therefore have more meaningful moments to share on Instagram. #livingmybestlife.
Similarly, when we find and sustain a healthy work-life balance, we develop greater control over our focus and ability to concentrate on the task at hand. If you are in the office, you’ll be more focused on the tasks at hand. In turn, this makes you a more efficient, better and happier worker.
5. A more productive you
As mentioned before, having a healthy work-life balance isn’t just essential to your well-being – it also boosts your productivity. From finally getting around to practice yoga because you switched off your work phone, to complete a work task you’ve been stuck on for weeks after being able to go back to it with a fresh mindset – creating a good balance between your work life and your personal life will allow you to be more productive in both areas.
If you achieve a healthy work-life balance you’ll be well-rested and less cranky. This will pay dividends at work. You’ll be laser-focused, perform better, get good evaluations, rise through the ranks and finally end up the head honcho of your company. It’s that easy. No seriously, you’ll enjoy what you’re doing more and be better at it.
6. Accept that there is no perfect balance
First of all, there’s no such thing as a perfect balance. So, relax. Strive for a realistic, tailormade schedule. Don’t wake up at 5 a.m. to hit the gym and then meditate before heading off to work with your meal-prepped lunch in hand, hitting it out of the park at the office, to then go home early, cook dinner, do some chores, go for drinks with friends and go to bed on time somehow, just ‘cause some full-time Instagram influencer told you to.
If this is you, great. If not, find your own balance.
Some days, you might have to focus on work more. Other days you might need to spend more time with loved ones and pursue your hobbies. Balance is achieved over time, not each day.
Like our hero, Bruce Lee said, “You must be shapeless, formless, like water”. Constantly evaluate and adapt to where you are versus your goals and priorities. Allow yourself to remain open to redirecting and assessing your needs on any day. It’s key to finding a balance.
7. Take short breaks throughout the day
Take breaks. And stop feeling guilty about them. We weren’t designed to stare at bright screens for hours on end. It’s bad for our physical and our mental wellbeing.
Studies show that we can focus for 20 minutes at a time. The longer you’re trying to work without focus, the more frustrated you tend to get. Go for a walk, go to your company’s games room if it has one or do some light exercise. You can even go out as a team and grab a coffee. Some leading companies will hire meditation practitioners to help calm and de-stress their people. Do anything that takes you away from the task you were performing.
All of these techniques will positively impact your work performance, productivity, and happiness.
8. Flexible working and work-life balance
I’ll be frank. I’m done with working set hours. I want to work whenever and wherever it suits me best. And so do millions of workers across the world. By 2020 half of us will be working remotely. Instead of working classic 9 to 5 days, you should start working when you’re at the top of your game. It’ll boost your work-life balance. If you’re more productive during the morning, you should be able to work then. Or maybe you need to pick up your children from school and work to an office closer to them. That idea shouldn’t be far-fetched. The freedom to work whenever you want and to be judged solely on your output will absolutely improve your work-life balance.
Not all managers are eager to allow their employees to work wherever they want. But the trend is inevitable. It benefits them too. Studies have shown that the more autonomy you’ll get, the happier, healthier and more productive you’ll be. Plus, your partner, friends, and children won’t have to miss you as much as they did before. And you’ll get rid of the FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out. A win-win for everybody involved.
To reach work-life balance, divide your time into different areas. Identify what constitutes of family and friend time, me-time, work etc…and determine where you work and where you relax. That means that if you’re watching your daughter’s football game, you shouldn’t check your professional emails. Or that you don’t open your laptop in the living room if you have people over. In other words, make disconnecting easier on yourself. That is if you WANT to cut the cord in certain situations.
You might find not answering phones and emails to be tough and end up worried about your bosses’ reaction because you can’t help them find a certain file. But toughen up and persevere. If it’s urgent, they’ll call you back. And if you’re really having a hard time, implement a transition period where you grant yourself 15 minutes in a certain situation to answer your emails and calls. But only if you absolutely have to. After a few weeks, you’ll probably discover that it’s not necessary.
Your job is important. But it shouldn’t be your entire life. The secret to work-life balance is the ability to make time for yourself. Now that you’ve compartmentalized your activities, you can prioritize them. Decide what you truly want to spend most of your time on. You should prioritize the activities or hobbies that made you happy.
Go for a walk in the park, treat yourself to a massage or take a hot bath. No matter what you do, it’s essential for your work-life balance to set aside an hour every two days to do something strictly for yourself.
Additionally, surround yourself with loved ones. Don’t isolate yourself. Have your alone time, but don’t neglect your personal relationships because you’re busy. Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Make them a priority too.
11. Cut what’s unimportant
You’ve prioritised what’s important in your life. Consequently, you know what activities you can do without. You might recognize them as the activities that take more time to fulfil than they should. Or those that are physically and mentally draining.
You should cut those activities immediately. Your work-life balance will only improve. You’ll free up time for what really matters. And you’ll save energy to do those things with more intensity and focus.
If those activities involve friends with whom you tend to do energy-draining activities, drop the activities, not the friends. Professionally, don’t cling on to maintenance activities you could easily delegate. Delegate or hire someone else to take care of it.
12. What’s work-life balance without health?
We’ve talked about prioritising. Your absolute priority should be your health. Take good care of yourself. Physically and mentally. If you’ve already been struggling with anxiety or depression, you should consider therapy. Therapy will give you the tools to detect a looming burnout before it strikes. Try and fit those therapy sessions in your schedule, even if you have to leave work early or skip yoga class.
If you’re already suffering from an ailment, don’t be afraid to call in sick. You shouldn’t be too proud and try to work through it. It’s just not worth it. You’ll end up making your ailment worse, causing a longer absence than you would’ve if you would’ve sought help or rested immediately.
13. Take that vacation
Reboot. Take a break from work. It’ll allow you to mentally and physically recover from the everyday workplace stresses. This is essential to your focus, productivity, and work-life balance.
A break from work allows us to mentally and physically recover from the everyday workplace stresses. This is vital as it will increase the individual’s focus and productivity when you return. It will also help to reduce your psychological distress. This is evidenced by a workplace happiness report by The American Sociological Association.
14. Unplugging is key to a healthy work-life balance
Unplug. Our smartphone is our gateway to the world. And we sometimes feel we couldn’t do without. How else would we meet the love of our life? Or pass time in the bathroom? Or know that Sarah from 3rd grade wants to “live, laugh, love” more?
It might be tough. But you should unplug. Cutting ties with the outside world from time to time will help you refresh from the weekly stress. Stop the barrage of articles, memes, and video clips, and give you and your mind space for other thoughts and ideas.
15. Don’t mess up your work-life balance for a shitty job
If you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life. A cliché, but it’s true. If you manage to cut all the unpleasantness from your job, you’ll thoroughly enjoy it and be happier.
Not everyone is lucky enough to cut the clutter or to have a job they like. The secret to overcoming that is just to try and love your job as a whole. If you succeed, you won’t dread getting out of bed every single morning. And you won’t feel like every minute at the office is a minute wasted. If you’re not able to, ask yourself if your job is worth clinging on to.
Sometimes it isn’t the job that’s the problem, but one of the coworkers or management. Maybe you’re tired of one of your colleagues taking little bites of your homemade lunch. I’m on to you, Philip!
Anyway, if the atmosphere proves to be too toxic, it’s time to find a new job.
If you can’t love what you do and you can’t do what you love outside of your job, it’s time to quit. There’s no point in messing up your work-life balance for a job you hate. That’s a recipe for stress, depression, and burnouts.
Ask your boss for midday workouts. Research published in the Harvard Business Review shows that exercise is an asset to not only your work but to work-life balance as a whole.
Saint Leo University assistant professor of Management Russell Clayton found a correlation between physical activity and navigating the intersection of work and home. If you exercise regularly, you’re less likely to feel a conflict between your working life and your home life.
When you exercise, you release some of your pent-up stress. And the less stress you feel, the more enjoyable you’ll find your office or your kitchen.
You’ll also boost your self-efficacy, the confidence you have that you can get things done. Folks with high self-efficacy are more likely to face the various tasks to be met in the day as challenges to be mastered. As one of Clayton’s interview subjects told him, “an hour of exercise creates a feeling that lasts well beyond that hour spent at the gym.”
Do what you can, but know that structural changes are also necessary
There you have it: 16 tips to attain and maintain a solid work-life balance. In the end, you can do your part to achieve work-life balance, but know that society also has some structures in place that might make it difficult to attain. That’s where Workero comes in. Our aim is to change the way we work for better. More flexibility – and thus a more humane way of working – should be something of the present, not the future. We encourage companies to offer remote working to their employees. We offer a network of offices at which you and your team can book. Not only could you work closer to home (reducing traffic, and reducing time spent in traffic), but you could also meet inspiring people or work with creative startups. Come and try for yourself at one of our coworking offices.
How remote working is beneficial to your work-life balance.
This is an obituary: the traditional 9 to 5 office job is dead. Long live remote work. Remote work is increasingly popular. According to a LogMeIN survey, only 3% of employees haven’t worked remotely. Some benefits of remote work have been well documented. 70% of employees who are allowed to work away from the office are highly engaged and highly satisfied compared to just 30% who are not given the option. But what are the effects on your work-life balance? Does it improve your work-balance? Can you nip stress and burnouts in the bud? Let’s find out.
Personal lives matter.
First, let me dazzle you with some stats.
Ok, here we go.
According to a FlexJobs’ survey, working parents rank work-life balance (84 percent) ahead of salary (75 percent) when considering whether or not to take a job. Work-life balance was also named the top reason working parents seek flexible work, followed by family, time savings, and commuting stress.
For millennials, the ability to work remotely isn’t just a “nice-to-have,” but for many, it is becoming a career requirement. Studies show that Millennials care more about work-life balance than career advancement.
By 2020, over half of all people will be working remotely. On top of that, 9 in 10 employees say that flexibility to balance work and life issues is essential or very important to their job satisfaction. Wait, there’s more.
A recent GoToMeeting survey shows working remotely shapes major life decisions. Out of 3,000 respondents, some 60 percent report they’d be more likely to accept a job with a strong remote working culture, while28 percent of respondents say working remotely would be worth a pay cut. Around 41 percent say working remotely is “very important” to the future of business, and 40 percent say their lives would be worse if they couldn’t work from anywhere they want.
It goes on. The same survey evidences that over 40 percent of respondents aged 25-44 feel that working remotely is instrumental to start a family.
Food for thought.
What are the advantages of remote work?
1. Remote work will make you a better family (wo)man
41% of us have had a hard time fulfilling both family and professional responsibilities. This is often due to the time we waste while commuting. We lose 2 days a year in traffic. What if you could spend two days with your loved ones, or doing what you love, instead of spending it in your car? You’d feel a lot better.
The solution to this issue is pretty straightforward. Work remotely. Remote work allows you to work closer to home, to your children’s school or to your parents’ house. If you’d have a flexible schedule and work closer to home you could go to a parent-teacher conference during the day, take a yoga class, or be home when the washing machine repair person comes. No more riding bumper to bumper or to hurry to catch the train. The more autonomy you have, the easier you’ll be able to combine your work life and your home life.
2. You’ll be in control of your schedule and work environment.
One reason people like to work for themselves is the control and freedom issue. Who wouldn’t want to choose where and when they’ll work for the day? If you determine your own schedule and work environment, you’ll appeal to your entrepreneurial spirit. You’ll have the freedom to start working when you feel freshest. You won’t get caught slumping over your laptop in the morning if you’re a night person.
3. You’ll get things done
Working away from the office without the boss breathing down your neck can be liberating. You probably get far more work done without the meetings, the phone calls and other distractions of the workplace. You’ll get the job done in normal working hours, instead of having to do overtime, leaving them more time for life outside of work.
4. No more FOMO
Remote and flexible working will nip your severe bouts of FOMO in the bud. When you’re bombarded with messages to go for a drink, go to the movies or grab dinner, you’ll no longer have to answer “No, I’ll be home late. Traffic sucks”. If you work remotely you’ll be able to pick and choose where you work. Closer to home, closer to your favorite bar or closer to your gym.
5. You’ll be motivated by new surroundings
Take yourself and your work outside of the office. You’ll see things differently. You’ll gain a new perspective. Chances are your current traditional office environments isn’t the most motivating place to be. If you grant yourself the freedom to decide where you want to work, you’ll take back the power to determine your own productivity.
6. You’ll join a new community
Indeed. Pigging-back on the previous points, a workspace allows you to enjoy an interesting, flexible lifestyle. You might work in cool new workspaces but also become part of a community of self-starters, groundbreaking start-ups and even iconic companies. The motivation and creativity of your peers are contagious and will do you good and vice versa. Ain’t no telling what might happen if you end up collaborating.
7. You’ll save money on your commute
Obviously. You’ll pay less gas, your train fare will be cheaper, or you go to work by bike. In some areas, commutes of more than an hour each way are not uncommon. If you’re allowed to work from home, you save two hours of time, gas, and wear and tear on the road. You’ll be doing other commuters a favor: fewer people driving means it’s easier for those people who are commuting.
8. Save money on childcare
If you have young kids, you’ll have to provide external childcare for your kids. That’s easily solvable with remote working. If you and your partner both have flexible schedules Mom can go to the office at 6:00 a.m. while Dad gets the kids ready for school. Mom’s 8-hour day is finished by 2:00 p.m. which allows her to pick the kids afterward. Dad starts his workday at 9:30 a.m. The result is two full-time jobs and incomes with no childcare costs.
Whether you’re energized by your nearby co-working space, a local coffee shop or are content in your home office, the ability to move into new and interesting surroundings will make you less likely to feel the effects of burnout. A new workspace isn’t the ultimate cure for burnouts, but it’s a hell of a vaccine.
In the end, it all depends on you and your preferences. If you’re losing a lot of time in traffic or are feeling the walls closing in on you in your regular office, be time for a change. Maybe you don’t have kids or simply prefer committing to your career. That’s totally fine. Just know that remote work can help you solve a lot of your issues.
Why don’t you come and try for yourself? We happen to have a couple of coworking spaces and shared offices in our network. Click here and find out if there’s an inspiring workspace close to you, no matter where you are.