Although the ability to ensure that work and personal commitments are compatible seems to be a highly relevant topic, particularly for newer generations, the topic of work life balance doesn’t appear to have made an impact in many businesses. This includes factors such as flexible scheduling as well as the ability to work from home. In a survey undertaken in the last year, only 39 per cent of respondents stated that their employer currently offered flexible working models. However, the desire for flexible working is expressed with increasing frequency and, to ensure that enough time is available for leisure activities, businesses need to break free from rigid working hours and demonstrate flexibility to their employees.
This relatively recent concept suggests that your work life is something distinct from your private life. Keeping these two in balance is the goal. It also suggests reconciling the needs of your job with those of your family.
Many studies address the issue of work-life balance. One commissioned by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has produced the Better Life Index to compare the work-life balance in various countries around the world. Germany, for example, has an above average score of 8.4, while France has done even better with a score of 9.0. The inclusion of the topic in the Better Life Index illustrates that the work-life balance is an important part of our lives and should not be neglected. Above all, the need for businesses to increase their engagement with the topic is truly emphasised by their need to retain employees over the long term – as only healthy, satisfied employees can deliver outstanding performance.
The line between the workplace and the home is blurring. Due to digitalisation and ever-faster processes, people read their work e-mail during their time off and answering the phone during your time off is second nature. Current studies show that may employees feel stress due to the pressure of being constantly available.Constant contact with one’s employer can be harmful to one’s health: too much stress can trigger tinnitus, burnout, and depression. These negative factors not only reduce employee performance, but also affect the company’s bottom line.
Organisational measures can support employees’ work-life balance. In the interests of their employees, businesses should take action to allow family and professional commitments to be combined via family-friendly flexible working models. Adopting flex-time or work-from-home policies can relieve the pressures felt by your team. Company health management measures such as fitness centres and/or recreational offerings can also give employees a counterbalance to their professional life. Company sports teams, muscle relaxation, and stress prophylaxis are appropriate measures to help restore work-life balance. Presentations and seminars on work-life balance can also help. Do you try to achieve a balance between work and private life? Ask your company health officer about suitable measures to restore work-life balance and make your colleagues aware of these issues. Together, you can create ways to keep the scales from tipping between job performance and relaxation.
In addition to measures initiated by their workplace, employees can and should be working on their own work-life balance. Here are some tips.
Breaks are important for recovering from the stresses of the job and will give you new energy. If you work without stopping, you might get the work done faster, but how will you feel afterwards? Probably exhausted. There’s a reason why breaks are mandated by law. So take them and try to use this time not worrying about your work.
Eat a balanced diet and get adequate exercise.
This tip might not be new, but do you follow it? All too often, we devour junk food as we sit in front of the PC and read emails. When you do this, you’re probably not watching what you’re eating and are probably eating more than you think. Get up from your desk and go out to eat with your colleagues. You’ll notice how this can strengthen and reenergize you ready to get back to work. Give it a try.
Everyone knows that getting enough movement is important for both your body and your mind. So don’t put it off to later. You can start by taking the stairs at work instead of the lift, at least every once in a while. Your cardiovascular system will thank you. And after work, sport and exercise will have a positive effect on your mind. Jogging, cycling, swimming, or even just walking will help you to leave the workday behind and recharge your batteries for tomorrow.
Keep track of your time and calculate your efficiency.
Have you noticed that some tasks seem to take you forever to complete? Ask yourself why. Are you distracted by colleagues or are you missing key information that’s keeping you from getting the job done? Make notes of when and where you lose time. Keep track of those things that affect your work, both positively and negatively. Sometimes, it can be helpful just to ask your colleagues to let you work in peace without interruption for an hour. Optimising your own time management can help you save time and get your work done efficiently.
Ask your colleagues for help.
If you find that you have too much on your plate, ask your colleagues for assistance. If they can handle a small task or two for you, this will help you to focus on the essentials. If you find that your workload is too much, you should clarify this with your colleagues and your supervisor. Neither you nor your employer is helped if you break down in exhaustion from working too much. You’re sure to find a solution together.
Granted, a 50/50 division between work and free time is rare, but you still need to keep a constant eye on maintaining some semblance of a balance. Even when your workload is peaking, such a balance might be difficult to achieve, but you still need to take breaks during and after such times to recoup your strength and energy. Workplace health programmes can reduce stress and cut your workload.
ARTS values its employees’ health and satisfaction greatly. At ARTS, you benefit from locally accessible points of contact who are always available to listen to you, together with flexible working times, an employee health management team, and many other services. Learn more about ARTS as an employer or apply directly for one of our many job vacancies.