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Work-life balance: How to improve your work-life balance

Editorial Team
17/03/2020 9:28 AM

No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I spent more time at the office

Paul Tsongas

Work-life balance describes dividing one’s time and energy between their work and the aspects of their personal lives. Achieving a work-life balance is challenging. At times, at can be difficult to make time for family, friends, spirituality personal growth or self-care, in addition to the demands of your workplace.

Balanced employees tend to feel
more motivated and less stressed out at work, which thereby increases company
productivity and reduces the number of conflicts among co-workers and
management. When employees feel s greater sense of control and ownership over
their own lives, they tend to have better relationships with their management
and can leave work issues at work and home issues at home.

However, nowadays, a work-life
balance seems impossible. With the advancement of technology workers are more
accessible at any time of day or night. According to Forbes, fears of jobs loss
incentivise longer hours at work. This includes working overtime during the
dedicated weekdays and working on weekends when contracts do not specify that
employees have to come in on weekends. Following a Harvard Business School
Survey, 94% of working professionals reported working for more than 50 hours a
week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week. Stress from
the never-ending workday can damage relationships with friends, family and
workmates, health and overall happiness.

Companies who gain a reputation
for encouraging work-life balance have become attractive to workers and will
attract a valuable pool of candidates for new job openings for your
organisation. These organisations thus tend to enjoy higher employee retention
rate, which results in less time-consuming training, more company loyalty and a
higher degree of in-house expertise.

Employees who have a positive
work-life balance do a better job at work, so stimulating this balance is
beneficial to individuals and the company.

What can you consider offering as
an employer?

Below are some of the different
ways that employers and employees can promote work-life balance in the office
without compromising productivity or efficiency.

Get some exercise

Employees who eat healthily and
exercise are at less risk of getting sick and missing days from work. If you
provide meals or snacks like tea and lunch choose healthier food options. This
will limit the detraction from your organisation’s productivity.

Having gym facilities or aerobics
classes available to your employees will encourage your employees to use these
facilities if they are available. If not, perhaps consider offering your
employees membership discounts at a nearby gym. This will mean also making sure
that your working hours are considerate enough to allow employees to have time
to go to the gym. If a non-profit organisation is hosting a charity race of any
kind in the future, announce it to promote a good cause and encourage your
employees to get active and support it. Do not forget to lead by example as

Strive for excellence, not

Many overachievers develop
perfectionist tendencies in their childhood when the demands of their time are
limited to school and extracurricular activities. It is much easier to maintain
that perfectionist habit as a child, but as you get older, life becomes more
complicated. As you climb up the ladder at work and as your family grows and
you gain more responsibilities. Perfectionism becomes harder to each and if
that habit is left unchecked, it may become destructive, according to executive
coach Marilyn Puder-York, PhD.

The key to avoiding burnout is to
let go of perfectionism. Puder-York says, "As life gets more expanded it
is very hard, both neurologically and psychologically, to keep that habit of
perfection going". The healthier option is to strive for excellence rather
than perfectionism.

Go out together

One of the best ways to boost
employee morale and help workers get to know one another in a non-stressful
capacity is by offering an occasional company outing. This can be as low-key or
as extravagant as you would like. However, this must depend on your
organisation culture, size and budget to make these things happen.

An example would be to organise a
company-paid lunch either at the office or at a group-friendly restaurant. You
can even do this every quarter if the company reaches their target then have
one or two compulsory parties such as the anniversary party of the organisation
and the Christmas party. Some small companies have found great success in
breakfast club programs in which employees take turns to bring their favourite
breakfast foods, which can be homemade or store-bought, to share with fellow
employees. This makes coming to work less dreadful for your employees.

Boss, do something about it

If you are the owner or the
manager and you tend to be an overachiever or perfectionist, encourage your
subordinates to take breaks. This includes you as well just so you can regroup
and regain some energy to go about the rest of your day. 

Ensure you are not holding back
the reigns when it comes to your employees' work-life balance. Allow your
employees to have personal lives rather than calling them in on weekend or
calling and texting them outside of working hours. Learning to let go will pay
dividends in building dedicated and well-motivated staff members.

Know that there is no perfect
work-life balance

Most people when they hear
'work-life' balance, they imagine having a fruitful day at work and leaving
work early to go home and live their personal lives. Spent adequate time with
themselves, their families and friends. This may seem ideal, life does not
always work out that way.

As an employee, do not strive for
the perfect schedule. What happens in life is never certain. On some days you
may prioritise work more, while on other days you may have more time and energy
to pursue your hobbies or spend time with family and friends. This work-life
balance is only achieved over some time and not every day. Teach yourself to
manage your time well so you can have the best of both worlds healthily.

Achieving a comfortable work-life
balance as a parent does not just occur randomly anymore that does a good
career. It takes strategy, thought and dedication. You can make work-life
balance labour of love. Find out from your employees for fellow employees what
else they can do to encourage work-life balance for employees.

Dingani is a Talent Management Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants
(Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone +263 4
481946-48/ 481950/ 2900276/ 2900966 or cell number +26377 551 7211 or email
or visit our website at

Editorial Team

This article was written by one of the consultants at IPC

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