Even before this pandemic toppled our lives for the good, there were numerous instances when employees faced the dilemma of striking the right kind of balance between their work and personal lives. This pandemic has only contributed to amplifying this issue as a major chunk of employees now have to work from home; thus, making it way more difficult to manage things around.
Often, a high-achieving career may become a priority over the valuable time spent with friends and family. The struggle to push through the given 24 hours and give every aspect of life its due share is constant and real. It takes a toll not only on physical health but also on mental well-being and serenity.
What is meant by Work-Life Balance, and Why is it Important?
Imagine your work responsibilities placed at one end during the valuable family time on the other. Now, only if there was a proven formula to strike a balance between two! If a personal analysis of your condition reveals that your balance is falling apart, then this article is for you.
Not all cases of poor work-life balance can be blamed on the individual. There are tons of cases where employers can be held responsible. Sometimes there are newly added responsibilities at work or home that cause an imbalance, such as a new work project, short deadlines, newborn babies, etc.
A balance between work and family life is crucial to a sane mental state. Seasoned employees and HR experts adhere to the proposition that helping your employees to manage and balance work and family pays in the long run. It helps decrease the cases of burnt out or stressed employees – not forgetting a satisfied employee with sharpened creativity and a clear mind.
Moreover, achieving a work-life balance is also quintessential for having a more productive workforce. Imagine an employee whose mind is at ease when he or she comes to the office compared to the one whose mind is filled with guilt about not having some personal time with his family. Who is going to be more productive and proactive at work?
How to Achieve a Balance between Work and Family?
The million-dollar question that hovers over every employee who has a family to tend to is how to achieve work-life balance? As much as we all await this dilemma to be solved, there is no correct standard answer to this question. Experts, however, assert that flexibility might be the key. Previously, the answer was thought to be dividing the hours evenly between things that need your attention. Nonetheless, it is now thought to be more open to flexible hours.
Here are some ways that might help you achieve the right kind of balance between your work and family:
1. Accepting That the Idea of a Perfect Work-Life Balance Might Be a Bit Too Idealistic
One of the top things that will help you work toward establishing a perfect work-life balance is to accept that there is no such thing. If you think you can devise a schedule that divides your work and your family hours into equal parts while also taking out time to have personal space and unwind, then you cannot be more wrong.
Do not go for an ideal situation; rather, go for a realistic one. There will be days when you have less workload, while other days you might be walking on a tight rope with a short deadline. The key is to be open to flexibility. Some days you can give your family more time than other working days when you have close deadlines.
2. Prioritize Yourself
The main thing is to focus on your health. If you are well-rested and composed, you can conquer this seemingly difficult task of balancing work-life. If there is any issue at your work that occupies your mind most of the time, it is best to solve that first before trying to hop on to something new. If you are struggling with burnout or work stress, consider taking a break, such as a vacation, before springing on to this balancing task.
3. Unplug When Needed
Putting aside your work problems and issues that take up most of your mental strength should be a source of guilt. Saying no to impossibly close deadlines and undue pressure of work is also normal. If you need a helping hand to finish a project effectively, discuss the possibilities with your superior.
Also, unplugging the social and work life for important family time is as normal you asking for a health checkup when you feel something is wrong. Saying no at the right times is not the same as completely disagreeing with whatever your superior says.
4. Do not Overlook Any Chance of Vacation
Vacations are the key to energizing your mind and taking a positive turn on everything – such as work, family ties, and personal space. Never say no to any chance of a well-deserved vacation. It does not imply that you necessarily have to take a fortnight trip to some overseas resort. Vacation can also simply mean having some time away from all the hustle-bustle of the work-related issues in a different and relaxed environment.
Experts say that there is no nobility in refusing to take vacations. If you have an opportunity to take a vacation, then please do. It could do wonders for your work-life balance. You can finally unplug from all the deadlines and meetings and be with your kids and partner.
5. Set Boundaries and Hours for Office Work
This point might clash with the first one, but life is all about finding what is right for you and adapting. There is no harm in setting boundaries for both your work and personal life. It is best to have some hours of the day kept aside for work when you can pay attention without disruptions. These hours might be the early hours of the day when kids are asleep.
Also, have a corner assigned as your work desk if you are working from home. This maximizes your potential to stop all your work-related hassles once you are trying to shut off work for family time. Often, people working from home find it difficult to shut off work and start family time. Try and say no to work after office hours that can be done tomorrow to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing time with your family.
Moreover, the most crucial thing is to keep your work mobile and email away once you are done with your work hours. Constant disruptions during your family time in the form of a work email or a group chat might cause imbalance.
6. Do Not Shy in Asking For Help
If you are trying your best and still not getting enough quality time to get your work finished in time, do not hesitate to hire or ask someone to help with the housework. There is no shame in asking for help so that you can bring your life on track.
If someone can look after a crying fussy baby while you attentively finish your work, there is nothing better. It will help you perform your work duties without any compromises so that you can be with your family after work.
Flexibility is the Key – Give Yourself a Break
Learning to strike a work-life balance is not easy, and it most definitely does not have a single correct answer to it. There is no such advice that fits all – your colleague might be doing something that works for them but not for you. There are a lot of extraneous factors that make every approach and advice different for every person. Just remember to go easy on yourself – do not get distracted by work by risking your family time. Quality matters for both – your work and your family. Try and focus on quality time.