Are you also a victim of a toxic work environment where all your manager preaches is to do work and hustle? Are you also tired of not getting your me time or of not being able to enjoy the other necessities of life? Well, it seems like this situation is on an extreme high nowadays.
With the debate on whether a 70-hour work week is necessary or hustle is the new normal, people tend to forget that, like many other things, work is also a small part of life. However, in today’s time, people have made their whole lives revolve around work and have fallen into the void of isolating themselves because of their work. And the question is, is that truly okay? Not always.
Indeed, everything cannot be divided equally. At times, you have to work hard but if you are not able to relish the other things about life, whom are you working hard for exactly?
Therefore, maintaining a good work life balance in today’s time has become extremely important for people and if you want that for yourself, read on further to understand how it can be done without feeling guilty or shameful about it.
What Does Work-Life Balance Mean?
Work life balance simply means having enough time for your professional work and your personal life, both. There is nothing more important here than giving each facet of your life your due time and presence, whether it is your professional work, spending time with family, spending time with yourself, or hitting the gym for a healthy lifestyle.
People mostly follow a routine of getting up, going to work, coming back, having dinner, and sleeping. However, ideally, people should have a routine where they get up, hit the gym or go for a run, go to work, come back on time to spend time with their loved ones, take out time for themselves, and then get a good amount of sleep to wake up fresh and energized.
In a company where work life balance is appreciated, there are some important things that cannot be ignored:
- Certain boundaries, which include working during office hours only and not taking the work home.
- Trusting the employees with the work assigned, except in some cases where the employee isn’t respecting the work itself.
- Getting due leaves to get a good break and rejuvenate.
- Flexibility and empathy are given to employees to work at their own pace without pressuring them to be a certain way.
- Helping employees manage their stress by asking them if any help is needed and inculcating some stress-relief activities to divert their attention and give them a good break from work.
While there are many other things that a good company does, these are some of the necessary things that every employee should have the right to get at their workplace.
Why Is Work-Life Balance So Important?
To keep things exciting in life and get better results at your workplace, it is important to maintain a work life balance. It is somewhere wired inside us that more hours of work means better output, but that is simply incorrect. Even when an employee gives the company 8 hours of time, it is quite impossible to expect that they will be productive during those 8 hours.
For any employee, student, or entrepreneur, it is important to engage in a variety of activities so that there brains are able to function properly and are not tired of doing the same thing all day long.
So, if you wish to use your qualities to the best of your abilities, it is extremely important to give yourself a break and divide your time in such a way that you do not get burned out. To explain this, a work life balance example would be giving 8 hours to work and then going for a brisk walk or a game of badminton to feel better.
Signs of an Unhealthy Work-Life Dynamic
Poor work-life balance can have deep consequences that might not be in front of you at that given time but arise when it is too late to manage things. According to a study, an unhealthy work-life balance not only has a negative impact on your mental health, but its aftereffects can also be seen in your physical health and your overall personality.
So to understand what the signs of an unhealthy work-life dynamic are, here they are:
- Difficulty maintaining boundaries
- Constantly thinking about work
- Weekends do not feel like weekends
- Getting sunday scaries
- Work relationships and personal relationships gets hindered
- Taking a break gives you guilt
- Existential crises
- Automatic negative thoughts
- Enjoying life goes out of the window
- Burnout and losing interest in whatever you love to do
These are some of the major signs of an unhealthy work-life dynamic. It might start with small amounts of work being taken home, and after one moment, you might not even realize that your work is taking a toll on your health. So while giving importance to work is good, do not forget yourself, your relationships, or your personal joy amidst all this.
How to Improve Work-Life Balance
If you are a victim of a toxic work environment and wish to understand how to balance work and life, here are some ways to do that:
1. There is no perfect work-life balance
Everyone has their own idea of work life balance and it is quite impossible to divide things equally. However, in order to achieve work-life balance, what is important is that you give each facet of your life importance, whether it is spending time with loved ones, making time for yourself, or going for a run. When you are able to cover all of this in a day, you have a good work life balance.
2. Find a job you love to do
Find yourself a job that you can see yourself doing, rather than doing a job just for the sake of money. Although jobs are a means of earning money, your work should make you happy and fulfilled too. You should feel content or at least you should feel like going to work when you get up in the morning.
So if you haven’t gotten the chance to explore your options, this is your sign to do it so that you can live a happy and healthy life.
3. Give time to your health
You must have heard of this famous saying, “Health is wealth," and that is what it is. If you do not look after your health, it will sooner or later take a huge toll on your work, relationships, and mental state. So while working and earning money are important, if you do not give time to your health, you won’t be able to work or earn money, so what is the point of it?
4. Maintain a calendar
If you feel your work is a lot and it tends to get messy dealing with it all, maintain an hourly calendar for yourself where you can mark your tasks in there. It might be difficult to be on time with each task but maintaining a calendar does give you the push to complete one task on time so you can start with the next task and end your day on time.
5. Remember to unplug
A lot of people take their work home and are available at night too. However, it is important to understand that unplugging from technology and work is important. After giving your 8 hours to the company, the next few hours are yours, and you can spend them in whatever way you want to, without any guilt or shame.
If you are someone who doesn’t know how to set boundaries and is always available for your company, start small, and you will reach a point where you will finish your work during office hours only and won’t text or send messages after office hours.
6. Practice mindfulness
Working long hours under high levels of stress can take a huge toll on your health, so it is quite important that you practice mindfulness in your everyday tasks. Mindfulness is not related to meditation. It simply means being present in the current moment without letting unnecessary negative thoughts sway you away. So even if you are having lunch with your co-workers, relish it instead of worrying about the next meeting.
7. Maintain healthy boundaries
If you are someone who has been familiar with a toxic work environment or has a manager who is always micromanaging you, remember to take your stand and set healthy boundaries so you do not give your manager or the company the power to take you down or give you extra work. Start small if it seems difficult or scary.
8. Take time off
If you are sensing that your mind and body need rest, give yourself that. Do not suppress those feelings, as it can lead to burnout or chronic fatigue. So use your annual leaves and take a break from work so you can come back stronger and fresher.
9. Spend time with loved ones
While working long hours and giving it your all to the company, you wouldn’t even know that your other facets of life are slowly fading away, and spending time with loved ones might slowly start decreasing. So to not let this happen, make time for your loved ones and have a conversation with them on how to navigate through this situation in a healthy and effective way.
10. Work this out with a therapist
If nothing seems to work out and you still find yourself struggling with a toxic work environment, it is best to consult a therapist and seek their professional guidance. You can learn ways to stand your ground or look for a job where you are actually valued for your skills and talent.
How Can Companies Initiate Work-Life Balance
Although there are a lot of companies that fan the idea of always hustling hard, there are also companies that look out for their employees and remind them to take a break and enjoy life too.
So if you are a company trying to change its values, here are some work life balance tips:
1. Remind your employees to unplug
Remind your employees to not work at extreme hours and create a sense of flexibility for them to submit the day’s work and get on with their personal lives. What you showcase to your employees is how they will act and work in front of you. Moreover, tell them to leave their office laptops and mobile phones at the office when they take a break or go on vacation for a good detox.
2. Give employees ample leaves to rejuvenate themselves
Most employees do not take any leaves or breaks; remind them to take a day off or go on a vacation. You can also keep one compulsory leave every month for each employee, where they can simply relax and not worry about anything.
3. Invest in employee wellness program
With work stress increasing day-by-day, invest in a well-structured employee wellness program for your employees where they can take up therapy sessions, inculcate physical exercises into their routine, and understand how to manage their daily stressors so their health is intact and they do not feel pressured while coming to work.
4. Create a healthy work environment
Your values and culture make up your company’s values and culture. So make sure to curate a culture where your employees feel like themselves, have the space to make mistakes, learn new things, interact with new people, experiment with different things, and most importantly, feel happy while they are doing their work.
5. Respect working hours
If you respect your employees time, they will respect you and the work they give you. Do not schedule meetings before or after work hours and try to wrap things up during office hours so your employees do not feel pressured all around the clock. Respect their personal space and encourage a healthy working space where they log out of work on time.
How to Maintain Work-Life Balance While Working Remotely
One might assume that working from home might be easy, as you are always home so it would be quite chilling. However, working from home has its own share of conflicts and requires some ground rules from the person as well.
Especially after COVID-19, most of the workspaces have converted to working 100% remotely. Although employees have their personal spaces and do not have to commute to work or meet people so often, it can become tiring to be home all day long.
So while working from home has its benefits, maintaining healthy boundaries, not being able to disconnect work from home, not having a space where they can come back to, or not being able to network properly can create a lot of hindrance, which can even lead to 24x7 working, burnout, or chronic fatigue.
Therefore, even though it is quite important for the company to maintain a healthy culture, it is also important that the employees create a list of work life balance tips for themselves and not get carried away or create high expectations for themselves, which can harm them in the end.
Find and Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance With Now&Me
If you are looking for an employee wellness program to help your company and employees maintain a work/life balance dynamic at affordable rates with a customised plan, then you are at the right place.
With the Now&Me Employee Wellness Program, you will be able to understand how to maintain a good work/life balance flow, build high productivity, improve performance, achieve stronger business outcomes, and create a healthier workplace for your employees.
Along with this, you will also get customised metrics, weekly check-ins, multiple domain experts for your problem statement, self-help resources, work life balance tips, and instant customer support ready for you and your employees anytime of the day.
If you wish to know more about this, you can contact us at email@example.com and we will get back to you right away.
How to have a good work-life balance. Published March 2023. https://www.betterup.com/blog/how-to-have-good-work-life-balance
How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance Today. Published November 2023. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5244-improve-work-life-balance-today.html
Now&Me articles are written by experienced mental health contributors and are purely based on scientific research and evidence-based practices, which are thoroughly reviewed by experts, including therapists and psychologists with various specialties, to ensure accuracy and alignment with current industry standards.
However, it is important to note that the information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Individual circumstances vary, and it is advisable to consult with a qualified mental health professional for personalized advice and guidance.