As highlighted in our previous e-PA: Wellbeing blog entry, ‘Work-Life Balance: The Key to Business Success & a Better You!’ we established that a good work-life balance has numerous positive effects, including increased business productivity, improved mental and physical health, and a more enjoyable personal life with better relationships and time for things that bring joy to our lives. If you missed it, you can read our previous entry by clicking HERE
In this e-PA: Wellbeing article, we will look at several ways you can incorporate a better work-life balance into your company or workplace.
Always remember, there is no such thing as the “perfect” work-life balance!
When you hear “work-life balance,” you probably imagine having an extremely productive day at work and leaving early to spend the other half of the day with friends and family. While this may seem ideal, it is not always possible. Don’t strive for the perfect schedule; strive for a realistic one. Some days, you might focus more on work, while other days you might have more time and energy to pursue your hobbies or spend time with your loved ones. Balance is achieved over time, not each day.
LOVE the work you do!
Although work is an inevitability, your career shouldn’t be restraining. If you hate what you do, you will never be happy, plain and simple. You don’t need to love every aspect of your work, but it needs to be exciting enough that you don’t dread getting out of bed every morning. Whilst we would never go as far as saying you should be so passionate about your job, you would do it for free, if your job is draining you, and you are finding it difficult to find the time or inclination to do the things you love outside work, something is very wrong. It might be time to switch careers.
Health ALWAYS comes first!
Your overall physical, emotional and mental health should be your main concern. If you struggle with anxiety or depression and think therapy would benefit you, fit those sessions into your schedule, even if you have to leave work early or ditch your evening spin class. If you are battling a chronic illness, don’t be afraid to skip work on rough days. Overworking yourself prevents you from getting better, possibly causing you to take more days off in the future. Prioritising your health, first and foremost, will make you a better employee and person. You will miss less work and, when you are there, you will be happier and more productive. Prioritising your health doesn’t have to consist of radical or extreme activities. It can be as simple as daily meditation or exercise.
Switching off keeps you more switched on!
Cutting ties with the outside world from time to time allows us to recover from the day-to-day stress, and gives us space for other thoughts and ideas to emerge.
Sometimes, truly unplugging means taking vacation time and pausing work completely off for a while. Whether your vacation consists of a one-day staycation or a two-week trip to Greece, it’s important to take time off to physically and mentally recharge. Research, commissioned by a top UK holiday firm, revealed that, in 2016, 40% of the British workforce was guilty of not utilising their full holiday entitlement, leaving a staggering 163 million hours of annual-leave left unclaimed, with one in six employees also admitting to having more than a full working week of unused holiday spare.
Workers are often worried that taking time off will disrupt the workflow, and they will be met with a backlog of work when they return. This should not restrict you from taking that much-needed break. The truth is, there is no nobility in not taking well-deserved time away from work; the benefits of taking a day off far outweigh the downsides. With proper planning, you can take time away without worrying about a huge workload when you return.
Make time for your loved ones!
While your job is important, it shouldn’t be your entire life. You were an individual before work came along, and you should prioritise the activities or hobbies that make you happy. If you do not plan for personal time, you will never have time to do other things outside of work. No matter how hectic your schedule might be, you ultimately have control of your time and life. When planning time with your loved ones, it can often be beneficial to create a calendar for romantic and family dates. It may seem weird to plan one-on-one time with someone you live with, but it will ensure that you spend quality time with them, without work-life conflict. Just because work keeps you busy doesn’t mean you should neglect personal relationships. It is important you realise that no one at your company is going to love you or appreciate you the way your loved ones do. Also, remember that, no matter how important you think your job is, the company will not miss a beat tomorrow if you are gone.
Time management is key to maintaining boundaries & fixing priorities!
Set boundaries for yourself and your colleagues, to avoid burnout. When you leave the office, avoid thinking about upcoming projects or answering company emails. Consider having a separate computer or phone for work, so you can shut it off when you clock out. If that isn’t possible, use separate browsers, emails or filters for your work and personal platforms.
Additionally, consider setting specific work hours. Whether you work away from home or at home, it is important to determine when you will work and when you will stop working; otherwise, you might find yourself answering work-related emails late at night, during vacations or on weekends off. Notify team members about boundaries beyond which you cannot be accessible because you are engaged in personal activities. This will help to ensure that they understand and respect your workplace limits and expectations.
Finally, pay attention to when you are most productive at work and block that time off for your most important work-related activities. Avoid checking your emails and phone every few minutes, as those are major time-wasting tasks that derail your attention and productivity. Structuring your day can increase productivity at work, which can result in more free time to relax outside of work.
Always remember, as we stated at the start of this article, there is no ‘perfect’ work-life balance formula, and there are several points covered, here, that will not apply to your life and business. Much like switching to live a healthier lifestyle, always remember that by even incorporating one or two of these points into your day-to-day life, you are already taking the right steps on the road to making big improvements to your business, and your life.
Based on our two stunning, picturesque, holiday islands – Isle of Wight, UK and Crete, Greece, e-PA really understands the need to relax, recharge and switch off, from time to time. Whether you need our help all the time or just temporary holiday cover, to keep your enquiries answered while you are away, contact e-PA today, to find out how our industry-leading answering and business support services can work for you.
Want to start the New Year right? Read how in our article here!
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