Work is, unfortunately, a part of "Adulting". It is necessary for anyone who wants a home, so we can pay bills, build a life, and with any luck at all, have a little fun. To put it simply, work is our "chore".
Think about it: as a child, you likely did chores so that you could earn a dollar for a piece of candy or extra time on the TV. You had balance. You worked as you needed to and gained rewards. Then you grew up. The chore becomes your income and you may sometimes have fun. The transition from "some fun" to "no fun" often happens without us realizing a change is taking place. We lose the balance. We end up stressing because now our "chore list" becomes overwhelming. By this time, we have also stopped performing to the best of our ability.
It is time we discover the importance of work life balance. At 30 Hour Jobs, we focus on trying to help people find that balance.
How Important is a Work Life Balance?
Let's step out of reality for just a moment. Imagine you are looking for a job, starting out fresh. You find two options that are the same in every way from pay grade to work. However, one offers 2-3 days a month paid personal days and some sick days thrown in for good measure. The other does not have the same offering. Which would you choose?
Have you ever heard the saying, "All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy?" No one wants to be Jack. No one wants to be dull. We do not "choose" to spend our entire adult life working.
For most, it just kind of happens. We lose the fun in being an adult. If you can regain your sense of balance, you will reap many rewards. For instance:
Fewer Health Concerns
Although some stress may be good for us and encourage us to work harder, it can also be very bad. Some negative benefits of too much stress include:
- Less Interest in Work
- Stomach Problems
- High Blood Pressure
- Lack of Concentration
- Increased Dependency on Alcohol
This list could go on and on. Stress at work bleeds over into every aspect of a person's life.
A More Engaged Work/Home Life
By being more engaged at work, people will put everything they have into reaching the goals of the company and getting their job done. This increase in productivity stems from a clear mind and knowing that they serve a purpose within that company. They will go home feeling good about their accomplishments throughout the day.
For their home life, it also means that they will be more in-tune with their family's needs. Their spouse will be happier, and they will spend more time together as a family. As their home life becomes more enjoyable, they feel more rested and relaxed, it will show in their job performance.
What most of us fail to see is that even though work/home are separate, they both impact each other. It is a revolving door, and we MUST break that cycle to be fully engaged at either place.
Renewed Focus and Energy
When you are sitting at your desk, do you get more work done if you are yawning or struggling to stay awake? Most people can honestly say that it only serves to make them fall behind. We get burned out on the endless, often repetitive tasks, that is our job.
Breaks, even short ones, can combat this "bah-humbug" feeling and renew our energy and focus. For some of us, a day off may spark ideas. For others, it may give us the ability to tackle projects or tasks that we have been putting off. In either case, both the employee and the company will benefit.
Achieving a Work Life Balance
Now that we have established the importance of a life work balance, you may be wondering how to find it. Finding it is something that both employee and company owners must work together on. It is a responsibility that everyone on your team must be committed to doing. It starts with the company owners and managers. You should:
- Listen to Employees. A good office manager knows their employees on a personal level. They pay attention, ask questions, and focus on the needs of an employee. Ask your team what they want and try to accommodate valid requests. It may be a day without meetings, an increase in days off, or even more company fun days like "casual Friday".
- Encourage Breaks Throughout the Day. A tried and true method of gaining productivity is the Pomodoro Technique. You may consider encouraging employees to take a break throughout the day. Just a few minutes break each hour can combat grogginess from staring at a computer or doing repetitive tasks.
- Support Personal Time Off. Typically, jobs are 5-6-days a week spent sitting at a desk or going to work. That is how we earn a living in today's world. This doesn't make it easy on anyone. Doctor appointments, errands, and other not-work related things need to happen as well. Encourage employees to take time to handle their "life-related" things. Provide time off for personal needs that will not cut their paychecks. If possible, you may also consider doing four-day work weeks at least sometimes. It could even be once a month people are given the chance to enjoy a day off or work remotely.
- Set a Good Example for Employees. Your employees follow your lead. If they see you taking breaks and happy, they will do their part to follow your examples.
Employee responsibilities are a little different. They have to focus on "being at work" when they are at work. To start, you should get enough rest, eat healthy, and exercise more. You should also do your part to separate work/life at times. Some good ideas include:
Knowing Your Ability. You have to understand that you may not be able to do everything. Ask for help or ask for chances to collaborate with others in the company.
Making Time for Both. You can unplug when you are home. Compartmentalizing work/life will keep you in control and allow you to be in those places when it is time to be there.
Stop Stalling on Tasks. How often have you put off doing a chore because you would rather watch a movie? This is okay sometimes, but the further you fall behind the more stressed you will feel. It is better to tackle your "chores" and then you will be free to just enjoy yourself.
And, Know Your Limits. If you already feel stressed at work because you have to spend too many hours there, why would you volunteer to spend another day a week there? Yes, the money may be nice to have, but is the gain really worth the price? The same is true for home. If you don't have time to tackle repairing a drippy faucet, why would you move into a home that has a leaky roof? You are asking for issues. Know what you can do and the rest peacefulness you want can come.
If you need help, advice, or tips on how to bring more balance to your life, 30HJ is here. We have a good understanding of the importance of work life balance. Our goal is to help people, regardless of their situation. We want to help you find a better way to enjoy a perfectly balanced life. You can sign up for our newsletter, post jobs, or maybe even find a job that allows you to recenter yourself.