By Molly Spelts:
Working around the clock? While it may seem like you HAVE to just because it’s easier to be reached with the latest tech and being able to work remotely, it can start to take a toll on your personal life and overall well-being.
So, what is this thing we call “Work-Life Balance” and why is it buzzing around the HR and workforce realm?
It’s an idea that workers should be able to maintain a healthy balance of working and living their personal lives, learning to block out the work calls after hours and to stop checking email 24/7. It’s there to help prevent “burnouts,” reduce stress and improve employee retention. Employees who are working way too much overtime are physically and psychologically burning themselves out, which according to a Harvard business review, can cost an employer an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending.Learn how the traditional 9-5 is being thrown out the window and being replaced with better work-life balance. Click To Tweet
You can have your cake and eat it too
It’s a different concept for each generation in the workforce, all viewing it differently and prioritizing it to their idea of work-life balance. For some, such as Baby Boomers, it’s nonexistent, while Gen X and Millennials are taking into consideration the stress that Baby Boomers put on themselves and their health. The younger generations are putting an emphasis on prioritizing a healthy work-life balance in today’s modern workforce. Creating this type of environment in companies can seem like it’s sacrificing employee productivity, but in reality, it’s the complete opposite, implementing a happy work environment for all will actually increase productivity by 21%, compared to those who don’t have a work-life balance.
It shouldn’t be a juggling act
When practicing a healthy work-life balance for the first time, it can feel like you’re a clown doing a juggling act and you’re not sure when you’ll drop the ball. Eventually, you will get the hang of it, simply by practice. Going from 70+ hours in a work week and cutting it down to maybe 45 or less can seem scary. Probably asking yourself “how am I supposed to get everything done and will my team think I’m slacking?” It’s a valid question and you’re not alone, however, it’s all about prioritizing, scheduling and managing.
Here a few tips to help you get started with a healthy work-life balance:
- Manage your time: It’s time to start dedicating time to each priority. Block out time slots for each project, task or assignment. This way you can focus on that one area and move onto the next when your time is up. This will help keep your thoughts and ideas organized and possibly even improve your work, now that you took multi-tasking out of the equation.
- Take time for yourself: You can easily get lost in the hustle of everyday work and forget to take time for yourself and just breath. Free time doesn’t mean you’re always available. Have an open day or night on your calendar? Don’t feel obligated to fill it with something just because it’s open. Create “me time” and do something that you enjoy and are passionate about. This helps keep your mind fresh, stress levels down and overall happiness in check.
- Work times: You’re at work for 8 to 9 (maybe even 10) hours each day…time to buckle down and put in GOOD work for those 8 hours and leave the rest for tomorrow. Reevaluate how you spend your whole day to help maximize on this. Start telling people you’re leaving at a certain time and stick to it. If you give people a time limit and continue with it, this will just become your new normal day. This way you’re not getting home at all hours of the night every night.
- Unplug: We spend A LOT of our day looking at a screen. Even when we are off of work, we’re still checking those emails or scrolling through social media. The average American spends approximately 10 hrs and 39 mins each day consuming screen time. WHAT?! That’s insane and goes to prove the point that YOU need to put down your phone or laptop and enjoy what’s in front of you. Give your eyes and brain a break every once in awhile.
Flourishing, not Failing
Offering a better work-life balance to your employees doesn’t mean their work will slip up or they won’t hit those deadlines. It’s creating a better work culture and overall attitude for your employees. So, how can you use work-life balance in the office? It’s more than just implementing flexible scheduling – you are creating a new happy and engaging environment in and out of the office for employees by becoming mindful of your surroundings and paying attention to the overall well-being of employees and yourself.
While some employees are hesitant or are working on practicing the work-life balance, everybody can start by simply being mindful in their workplace. For companies, this is going to improve employee engagement, boost productivity and improve employee turnover. For employees, it can lower stress levels and actually improve their sleep habits.
Check out these tips to help employees practice being mindful in the workplace:
- Slow down: While your work might be a “high pace or energy” environment, you can still slow down and focus on the “now” and the task at hand rather than ALL the things you need to get done this week or month. Slow down, breath and concentrate on what’s happening right now.
- Speak mindfully: Employee relationships can be intense or feel pressured due to high-stress environments. To help with the well-being of your employees, learn and teach to speak mindfully. This means choosing your words carefully, paying attention to your speed and the frequency. This will help improve relationships and help keep a calm sense in those high-stress level areas.
- Resolve conflict: In any workplace, you will find that you can’t please everyone and that’s OKAY. However, getting into arguments isn’t always the best way to solve an issue. Especially, when you’re trying to implement a more happy and engaged environment into your culture. Choosing to resolve conflict mindfully means you take a step back before responding and figure out where the negative feelings arise, are you mad at the situation or are you bringing up old tension between you and the others involved? Choose a response that you won’t regret later and learn to resolve the issue in the now rather than later. This will also contribute to a more open and transparent culture while maintaining employee harmony in stressful situations.
Work-life balance is a major topic right now in HR. Its definition is different to every employee culture and company. Each person views it in their own way and it takes place in and out of the office. Companies such as Yelp, Verizon and Airbnb are among some of the top companies who offer it and have made their employer brand known for it. Curious about learning more? Subscribe to our RBM blog to get the latest insight in work-life balance and more!