Are Your Work Responsibilities Balanced With Your Personal Life?
A 'work life' balance refers to an employee's ability to maintain a healthy balance between their work roles, their personal responsibilities, and family life.
Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of helping their employees to achieve this balance as more staff are experiencing conflict between their work and personal roles. In today’s age, many workers are seeing their personal responsibilities increase, from childcare and elderly care, to volunteer work, and family commitments. This comes at a time when their work responsibilities are also increasing, resulting in a conflict between personal and work commitments and an increase in stress.
Additional responsibilities at work and pressures that may follow can increase employee stress to the level of burnout, resulting in lower productivity at work, a higher potential for stress related health problems and absenteeism, with the associated costs related to these being passed on to the company. In addition, employees may also experience poor personal and co-worker relationships and reduced job satisfaction.
The 50- or 60-hour workweek has begun to raise ethical questions: Are employers respecting the contractual arrangements they make with their employees? Are employees placing too much value on work and the material things work makes possible? What impact do such long workweeks have on families and, through them, on the common good?
How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance Today
Consider the following questions raised by Marisa Sanfillippo writing for Business News Daily to see if you are showing signs of burnout/excessive stress at work:
- Are you unable to relax, even when you’re not at work?
- Do you routinely have more work than can be completed in a normal work week?
- Are tasks being added to your to-do list faster than you can clear them?
- Does catching up on your tasks feel hopeless?
- Have tasks begun to slip through the cracks?
- Are you having difficulty sleeping or are you routinely sleeping too much?
- Do you feel isolated or alone?
- Has your mood recently begun to change?
- Are you feeling anxious or stressed more frequently?
- Do you find yourself becoming irritated more easily?
If you find yourself answering yes to many of the above questions, it may be because you’re overworked. What can you do about it?
Building a Stronger Work-Life Balance
How can you build a better work-life balance? Here are some ideas from Judy Wolf, MS PCC, writing for BetterUp. She provides 12 tips to improve your work-life balance:
- Learn to say “no”
- Take breaks
- Use your lunch break
- Ask for flexibility
- Prioritize your health
- Practice self-compassion
- Communicate boundaries so you can truly unplug
- Invest in relationships
- Make space in your schedule for family time
- Prioritize quality time
- Start small
- Ask for help
How You Can Achieve a Healthier Work-Life Balance
For me, the most critical issue is to act on your priorities, which means dedicating time to them. Be sure to make your free time work and add to it to prevent burnout. Start with the most important and least flexible responsibilities, something Stephen Covey has emphasized. For most people this means spending time with one’s spouse and children, which means to help your children to develop a passion for something they love and encourage them to build on it. This may be children’s sports and other important activities you don’t want to miss, and you will integrate them into your life’s schedule.
The hardest thing in life may be the choices we make between working and pleasure time. We don’t want to disappoint our bosses. But equally so we don’t want to fall short on our family responsibilities. Most important, we don't want to compromise our wellness as it may affect our happiness in life. Let me leave you with an instructive quote:
“No one ever said on their deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’”—by Harold Kushner.
Blog posted by Dr. Steven Mintz, The Ethics Sage, on February 28, 2023. You can sign up for Steve’s newsletter and learn more about his activities on his website (https://www.stevenmintzethics.com/). and by following him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/StevenMintzEthics and on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ethicssage. Check out professional recommendations on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steven-mintz-aka-ethics-sage-98268126/.