Today, there are many new practices and processes to be considered in the workplace. For example, productivity improvement techniques, team building dynamics, and new programs for the prevention of harassment at work. Among them, the work-life balance stands out. In other words, the balance between your free time and work time.
As a matter of fact, nowadays, one of the most destructive aspects in the workplace is the blurring of the boundaries between work and daily life. Factors such as social media, flexible hours, and the increase in people who take advantage of an autonomous regime, make the finishing of work to be something of an unachievable dream.
In this article, we review the concept of a healthy work-life balance and its application in the workplace. It’ll help you gain the power to better balance your life.
The work-life balance
Work-life balance is a term that refers to the balance between the time and resources dedicated to paid work and those devoted to other vital activities. In fact, both work and free time are necessary to ensure physical and psychological well-being.
People with a good work-life balance work stipulated hours, in a schedule that allows them to reconcile their personal lives with their work lives, leaving them sufficient leisure time. This includes, of course, having a healthy work environment and sufficient pay to meet their vital needs.
Money and time need to be invested in creating good conditions for workers. Unfortunately, some companies adopt certain questionable methods. For example, incorrectly recording overtime or passing off team building activities as leisure time.
The importance of a good work-life balance
As we mentioned earlier, good management of time and resources dedicated to work and daily life are synonymous with well-being and productivity. In order to view this in a less abstract way, here are the most important points to keep in mind in the work-life balance :
- If no limits are set on working hours, it becomes the only important activity. In other words, if a work schedule isn’t clearly defined and delimited, it’s far too easy to make it encompass the whole day.
- Preventing burnout syndrome and depressive and anxiety disorders is essential for maintaining a healthy and productive population. Indeed, if people don’t have the opportunity to take care of all aspects of their lives, sooner or later they’ll stop producing, whether they want to or not.
- Life is about far more than working and taking care of responsibilities. It’s not enough to allow just enough time for people to fulfill their domestic responsibilities. Rest and leisure time are also necessary to keep the mind and body in good condition.
Take, for example, freelance workers. Since their earnings depend directly on how much they work, it’s extremely easy for them to extend their working hours for practically their entire waking period. Not knowing how to impose a schedule (or the precariousness of work) will end up generating boredom, anxiety, and chronic stress in them.
Physical health also suffers greatly when the work-life balance isn’t respected. As a matter of fact, injuries due to fixed postures for extended amounts of time, excessive physical effort, or doing the same task over and over for hours have become an epidemic in the world of work. Furthermore, health care systems often don’t possess sufficient resources to deal with these kinds of disorders.
How to achieve a good work-life balance
Both the company and the worker have responsibilities in terms of achieving a good work-life balance. The ideas that we list below will help you better understand how the company and the worker should collaborate so that both benefit from the relationship:
- Establish defined schedules. For both the company and the self-employed worker, having fixed hours is synonymous with health. In fact, ambiguous limits on hours are conducive to exploitation, as they create the feeling that the individual is continuously working.
- Health protection. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that the body and mind can be forced to continue producing. In the short term, there are solutions that allow this to happen. For example, psychotropic drugs, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy services, etc. However, the worker’s health will suffer progressive and subtle wear and tear. This has a negative effect on their productivity as well.
- The work-life balance isn’t only applicable for people with other responsibilities. Indeed, it’s not only people with children who have vital needs. No one should have to justify their breaks with responsibilities.
In the end, creating a good work-life balance requires companies to commit and do their part to achieve it. However, it also requires the conscious control of the individual when managing themselves. As a matter of fact, it’s all too easy to fall into behaviors and dynamics that sabotage their well-being and self-rights.
The new times of telework
Finally, a special mention should be made with regard to teleworking. As an emerging modality, there are still many aspects to regulate here. For example, the demands on the individual increase because they don’t have to travel. However, the expenses they incur by working from home don’t tend to be offset. Furthermore, the schedules between work and leisure often become blurred.
Breaking with the established norms is somewhat easier in these situations than in traditional work scenarios. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, it’s clear that all vital aspects must be taken into cosideration. This would have advantages for everyone.