As we move toward a hybrid work culture—combining remote working with a traditional office setting—it’s necessary to reassess the way we balance work and life.
If tomorrow you’re directed by your manager to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, how will you respond? You might be averse to voicing your thoughts on the matter, even if you want to be candid and reject the idea completely!
Work-life balance is where you meet yourself and your team halfway. If you’re a leader, strive to lead by example. Take time off work, switch off on the weekend, and take a break when needed.
Harappa Education’s Managing Teamwork course introduces the 3Ps (Problem-solving Leadership-People Leadership-Personal Leadership) Template. This is a useful management tool that teaches you how to listen to your employees, understand what they need, and play to your strengths. Collaboration is important in an organization because individual goals must align with larger organizational goals.
Teams that work together accomplish goals more effectively. Work-life balance is an important aspect of performing well at work to eliminate the risk of burning out. To keep pace with a dynamic business environment, it’s important to balance work and life.
What Is Work-Life Balance?
The meaning of work-life balance is simple: it’s finding a way to be present at work and be present in life. When you’re at home and you’re constantly checking your work email, you run the risk of losing out on important family events. Similarly, if you’re browsing shopping sites at work, you’re wasting important work hours and company resources.
Avoid burning out and cultivate mindfulness by maintaining your work-life balance. Work should be a part of your life, not your entire life. Weaving your life into work can be obstructive if you’re no longer able to tell the two apart.
Consider this. You’re sitting at your desk on a Friday when you’re asked for your help. They want you to fact-check an 80-page report that needs to be sent out by 9 am, Monday, over the weekend. You’re not obliged to complete the task nor will you be reprimanded if you refuse. But you still agree to do it. Why? You didn’t even consider that you’re essentially writing off your weekend. Soon, you’ll get into the habit of working seven days a week and forget that life exists outside of work.
This is where you take a moment to evaluate your actions. If you continue on the same path, you’ll lose sight of why you enjoyed your work or why you began to work at all. Professional wellbeing is directly proportional to personal wellbeing. Work and life balance can help you become happier at work and at home.
What Is The Importance Of Work-Life Balance?
The importance of work-life balance is rooted in self-preservation. It isn’t selfish to believe that you’re entitled to a life beyond the confines of your office cubicle or even your work laptop. You don’t have to feel guilty if you take a day off to recharge your batteries. The reason is that our brain needs to be stimulated in different, evolving ways.
The constant whirring of email alerts, phone calls, and pings can take a toll on your mental health. You’ll end up fretting about missing an important directive from a superior or forgetting to review a report even when you’re off work.
The effects of a skewed work-life balance are felt most severely by parents of young children. Working parents sometimes feel a deep ‘emotional guilt’ if they’re focused on work during their child’s playtime or when they have to leave their child in daycare. It’s important to exercise self-compassion in such situations. Remind yourself that life is a balancing act and that you’re doing enough every step of the way.
Let’s delve into some ways in which you can curtail work hours and learn to spend quality time with yourself and your loved ones.
Five Ways To Achieve Work-Life Balance
Certain countries such as Norway and Denmark have implemented four-day workweeks to ensure people have time to themselves. This is a good example of a work-life balance demonstrating the importance of taking a break. Here are some ways in which you can maintain work and life balance:
1. Plan A Holiday
Go on that holiday you’ve been putting off for years. We tend to get so engaged in work that just the idea traveling can be disconcerting. It’s a known fact that visiting unfamiliar places acts as a stimulus for creativity. A simple change of environment can help you become more proactive in your life. You collect different experiences and learn exciting things that break the monotony of daily life.
A break can help improve performance at work and even make you appreciate what you have. Ultimately, you were able to travel because of the financial independence you get from your work. You’ll return with a passion to perform better and achieve more.
2. Spend Time In Nature
If you’ve been struggling at maintaining your work-life balance, then revisiting nature can be healing. The remedial qualities of nature are well-known. Activities such as spending time in your local park, climbing a mountain, or going to the beach can be a great reminder that your worries are momentary. Fresh air will help you get your thoughts in order, break away from your routine, and most importantly, see things from a different perspective.
3. Join A Community
Some people enjoy pottery and some prefer reading. Take a class of your choice and spend time with your new peers to build a network of non-work acquaintances. Whether it’s a dance class, a running group, or a book club, find something that makes you happy. You can even learn new skills like coding. The purpose is to meet new people, have engaging conversations, and work on yourself without having to worry about meeting expectations or beating the competition.
A community helps you feel a sense of belonging that you might be missing at work if you’re burnt out. Not only will this refresh your mind but also rekindle your desire to work and achieve your career aspirations.
4. Learn To ‘Switch Off’
It’s almost impossible to leave your phone aside in this digital age. If you work online, you’ll constantly find yourself reaching for your laptop or phone. Even recreation has become digital with social media—and a pandemic—taking over our lives. If you’re determined to balance work and life, it’s important to disconnect. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s for a few hours every day, on weekends, or after sundown.
Taking some time to reflect on the past week can also help you identify areas of development. How was your week? What could you have done differently? What do you want to do over the weekend? Think back to events such as a client presentation that went well, or events you missed out on, like your child’s school play. Plan to recreate your grandmother’s famous chocolate cake recipe on Sunday. You shouldn’t have to deprive yourself of the luxury of time by wasting it online.
5. Respect Your Working Hours
Say you enjoyed a wholesome weekend. Your friends and family came over for brunch in your backyard. It was a lovely, winter afternoon full of good food and pleasant conversations. Now when you go to work on Monday, you’ll be able to keep the blues at bay. Why? Because you used your holiday to reconnect with people and take your mind off work!
Utilize your time well to enjoy every moment. Try not to think of your work as your life. Your work doesn’t have to define the way you live, instead, think of it as one of many important parts of a whole. If you can learn to distinguish between the two then you can successfully balance work and life.
An organization’s upper management is responsible for inculcating good practices at work. If a manager is always on-call and working through the weekend, the rest of the team may find it hard to unplug. The pressure of making a bad impression or not coming through can deter you from taking a break. But if you’re in a managerial position, you can improve your team’s performance by giving them room to think for themselves and work independently.
Managing Teamwork by Harappa Education is a high-impact online course that discusses important frameworks, techniques, and management tools such as the GRIN (Goal-Roles-Interdependence-Norms) framework and The Social Styles Model. These are some core concepts that highlight the importance of compassionate leadership and team building.
Learn about different stages of team development and the importance of feedback that you can implement in your workplace. Work-life balance is a healthy and enriching concept that demands attention. Life will pass you by in a moment if you’re not careful. Be kind to yourself and take decisions that are in your best interest. Remember, you don’t need to tick off everything on your task list to finally be happy. Enjoy the process as much as you would enjoy the outcome.