The Veritable Value Of Work-Life Balance Explained
People always complain about not having enough time. That's not entirely true. People do have time. It's just that they don't have enough time and energy for the things that matter-family, relationships, hobbies, interests, self-discovery, travel, etc.
Work eats up a lot of our time. Work hours are longer and schedules are more erratic. Getting to work and going home from work have never been this stressful because of long drives and commutes. In the office, there are rude bosses and sluggish co-workers. As soon as you're about to sleep, work email alerts you. It's a routine that just won't go away.
This is the reason why the science behind work-life balance has gotten mainstream. How exactly do you manage work and enjoy life anyway? It is a struggle, according to one out of three American workers surveyed by Ernst & Young. The global marketplace operates 24/7 and in the age of smartphones and video conferences, it is increasingly becoming more difficult to leave work in the office. The workday is vast, and start and end times are blurred, making it more difficult to achieve work-life balance.
You ask: why do people want it so bad? The benefits of work-life balance are countless. It is an arrangement where everybody wins. Not just the employees but also employers and big companies. It goes beyond the number of hours spent doing a variety of things or effective time management. It's about living a life that is healthy, focused, fulfilled, and happy.
Let's take a closer look at the importance of work-life balance-what it actually does and means.
Stress is reduced, performance is improved
Almost all employees these days complain about stress in the workplace. A Global Benefits Attitudes survey found that if employees are stressed and burned out, they become less productive and exhibit lower engagement. Absenteeism is also high. Lack of work-life balance is seen as one of the major causes. Employees feel that they are overworked, clocking in longer hours and doing more work than they're supposed to.
Initiatives to strike a balance between life and work can reduce stress levels and in the process make employees more productive and perform better. This can be done by giving employees more flexibility, improving working conditions, and constantly motivating them.
Relationships are strengthened and reinforced
A good work-life balance is important because it strengthens personal relationships. When all you do is work overtime, you risk not being part of your children's growing-up years, and you miss dinner dates with your partner, family reunions or your baby sister's birthday party. These are the things that really matter. But once your work and personal life are well-balanced and integrated, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Start with reducing your commute hours by living near your workplace. This is one of the benefits of condo living that has become a solid selling proposition. Also, try to unplug once you're home and have dinner with the family. There's always another workday for all work-related emails and assignments.
Boost in creativity and inspiration
If employees are chained to the desk all day long, they will have nothing new to offer. The importance of work life-balance should be something employers have to take seriously if they want their employees to be more creative and stay motivated. Encouraging workers to explore, read, engage in non-work activities, and have conversations with different people will result in fresh insights and ideas. Without bright minds with fresh perspectives, businesses will never grow and improve.
More attention to health
If employees work extra long hours, they become stressed and lose sleep. They probably even skip meals. This makes them physically and mentally unhealthy. And when they are unhealthy, they contribute nothing to a business' goals and objectives. They also put themselves at risk of certain illnesses and disorders such as heart diseases, diabetes, obesity and depression. Keeping work and life more balanced will make it easier for workers to prioritize being fit and healthy. They must be encouraged to eat on time, get enough sleep, and make time for physical activities.
Giving time for hobbies and interests
When was the last time you did something for yourself? When was the last time you did something that made you feel alive? Having a healthy work-life balance allows you to do the things that matter to you-playing the guitar, baking, painting, diving, photography or just about anything that makes you feel good about yourself. When workers have other creative outlets, they learn how to relax their minds and focus on the task at hand.
Keeps morale and enthusiasm up
Work-life balance helps keep morale and enthusiasm up. Since overall well-being is maintained, workers can still feel excited about their careers. Their jobs do not feel like an obstruction to what makes them happy because it complements everything they do. Their jobs are also a source of happiness, and this keeps them enthusiastic, motivated, and passionate.
Space for self-discovery
We all need to be left alone sometimes-alone with our thoughts, alone with ourselves. If workers are always in a hurry, as if they are always in a race, they lose sight of who they are. Work becomes them. And if they fail, they feel like everything about them failed. The importance of work-life balance is that you get to slow down and discover your own potential. If you know yourself well enough, you always know where to draw strength, inspiration, and encouragement.
It is easy to look at work-life balance as just another management tool to retain employees and reduce turnovers. But its benefits are far beyond that. Employees get to enjoy what they do and be good at what they do. Hardworking employees get to enjoy having a life outside work. And as businesses make their biggest investment yet in their people, they are also rewarded with jobs well done.
About the author: Philip Masterson is a Market Specialist and Freelance Writer. He has written a range of topics including technology, work, lifestyle, world market and world businesses.