Achieving the work-life balance is a constant work in progress and it’s a very difficult one at that. Work doesn’t simply stop when an employee “clocks out” for the day. With the a person’s ability to be wired in at all hours of the day through smartphones, tablets and laptop computers, one might surmise the concept of the work-life balance is obsolete; that it’s just plain life at this point.
In fact, 94% of service professionals put in 50+ hours a week according to the Harvard Business Review.
That is an amazing statistic in itself and one that points to a very obvious problem: when a person has an imbalance between their work life and their personal life, that person and their team suffers as a result. How?
- The quality of sleep suffers
- There’s an increase in stress and depression
- Increase in difficulty as it pertains to communicating and completing tasks
So, how does HR help support employees and teams who need to practice a well-balanced lifestyle that includes both a well-rounded work life and personal life?
Work-Life Balance Tips
The following are tips from the Mayo Clinic. They are broken down into two categories: setting limits and caring for yourself. For much more detail, click here.
Time is limited, so set limits. According to the Mayo Clinic, this will help in making sure all obligations and activities receive the necessary time.
Manage your time.Cut or delegate activities you don’t enjoy or can’t handle — or share your concerns and possible solutions with your employer or others. Organize household tasks efficiently, such as running errands in batches or doing a load of laundry every day; don’t save all the laundry for your day off. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go.
Make a list.Put family events on a weekly calendar, and keep a daily to-do list at home and at work. Having a plan helps you maintain focus. When you don’t have a plan, it’s easy to be sucked into the plans and priorities of others.
Learn to say no.Whether it’s a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project or your child’s teacher asking you to organize a class party, remember that it’s OK to respectfully say no. When you quit accepting tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you’ll have more time for activities that are meaningful to you.
Leave work at work.With the technology to connect to anyone at any time from virtually anywhere, there might be no boundary between work and home — unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time.
Reduce email access.Check emails no more than three times a day — late morning, early afternoon and late in the day. If you access email first thing in the morning, you tend to focus on and respond to other people’s issues rather than being proactive about your own needs.
Take advantage of your options.Ask your employer about flex hours, a compressed workweek, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility. The more control you have over your hours, the less stressed you’re likely to be.
Try to shorten commitments and minimize interruptions.Most people can sustain a maximum level of concentration for no more than 90 minutes. After that, the ability to retain information decreases dramatically. When interrupted during a task, you need double or triple the time of the interruption to regain full concentration on your task.
Caring For Yourself
The Mayo Clinic says living a healthy lifestyle helps deal with stress. High amounts of stress can negatively impact the work-life balance.
Eat a healthy diet.The Mediterranean diet — which emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein — enhances the ability to retain knowledge as well as stamina and well-being.
Get enough sleep.Lack of sleep increases stress. It’s also important to avoid using personal electronic devices, such as tablets, just before bedtime. The blue light emitted by these devices decreases your level of melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep.
Make time for fun and relaxation.Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as practicing yoga or reading. Better yet, discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends — such as hiking, dancing or taking cooking classes.
It’s important not to over-schedule yourself. But research indicates that volunteering can contribute to a greater sense of work-life balance. Selective volunteering might lower your levels of burnout and stress and boost your emotional and social well-being.
Bolster your support system.At work, join forces with co-workers who can cover for you — and vice versa — when family conflicts arise. At home, enlist trusted friends and loved ones to pitch in with child care or household responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.
These tips provide a strong foundation for building and creating a strong work-life balance. There are many, many different tips out there. A quick search of Google will provide a plethora of websites. At the end of the day, however, it’s important to realize that a lack of balance will have consequences. Most notably, there will be a lack of engagement with the company and the effects of that can be financially staggering.
By Mason Stevenson
Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com