What does work-life balance mean?
Work-life balance is how you manage your duties at work and your personal responsibilities. These can include anything from spending time with your family, to making sure you get enough sleep or that you’re maintaining a balanced diet.
Your optimum work-life balance will change frequently, as well as during different stages of your life. For example, your priorities will shift from when you’re at the peak of your career, or when you have children. It’s key to remember that the work-life balance for every individual will be different, as we all have varying needs, desires and commitments. A useful approach is to firstly understand what work-life balance will work for you in order to lead a fulfilling and happy life.
How is work culture affecting our work-life balance?
Employees are now facing a highly demanding work culture, ever increasing use of technology, and the added expectation of working outside normal contracted hours. The line between work and personal lives is becoming blurred and consequently having an effect on mental health. A survey from Mind UK and YouGov shows that 42 per cent of people have considered resignation, due to work place stress, and a 14 per cent left their job altogether.
The Fourth Work-Life Balance Employer Survey suggests that this high level of stress relates to ‘the patterns that employees work, in particular the use of zero hour contracts, long hours working and on-call working’. The survey revealed that 697,000 people were hired on zero-hours contracts between October and December 2014. Zero hour contracts provide no guarantee of work as they don’t include the same employment rights as regular contracts. This lack of financial security and stability can be an added stress that you don’t need.
Why is work-life balance important?
Emma Mamo from Mind UK recognises the importance of having the right work-life balance. Mamo states that ‘we’re far more likely to be at our most productive if we’re well rested and have had time and space to clear our heads of work during our personal time.’
She reinforces that it’s also in the interest of employers to help their staff achieve a healthy work-life balance. It’s clear that ‘organisations who prioritise mental health at work reap rewards in terms of staff productivity and morale; as well as reducing sickness absence.’ Read how employers can promote work-life balance here.
Your work-life balance
A great way to achieve a work-life balance is to strive for both a sense of achievement and enjoyment in your job and personal life. You can fulfill your goals but don’t forget to enjoy yourself at the same time.
Mental health charity Anxiety UK highlight that it’s important to ‘learn how to better organise your time and make sure that you are giving enough time to relaxation and leisure activities as well as work.’ It’s also crucial to ensure that you take care of yourself by eating healthily, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Click here to read more tips on how to achieve a work-life balance.