The expression “work-life balance” means the ability to keep work and private life spheres in balance. Finding stability is never easy and it is harder in this period of change (caused by COVID19) in which many people have started working from home. In this article, we will focus on the importance of a healthy work-life balance and how to better manage our commitments without being overwhelmed by them.
The importance of work-life balance
This has always been a very important issue but it has become even more so today with the advent of the home office. By working from home, the line between work and private life has been made more subtle, with no physical boundary separating the two worlds. For that reason, the time dedicated to work tasks has increased, often to the detriment of personal well-being.
However, this is not good for our health, especially on the psychological level, since an excessive number of working hours can lead to increased stress, anxiety and even sleep disorder. In addition, you can begin to feel more tired and more distracted, with lower concentration levels and, consequently, less efficiency at work.
It may sound like a paradox but working overtime at work for an extended period can provoke a decrease in productivity. Accumulated fatigue can lead us to carry out tasks more slowly or to make more mistakes due to lack of concentration and we can therefore end up spending even more time correcting them. Furthermore, often this decline in work performance tends to be compensated for by additional hours of work, leading us into a vicious cycle. This is why it is important to properly balance work and private life.
Work-life balance for women
In 2021 we have not fully achieved gender equality, not only in terms of employment and wages but also for what concerns the domestic activities mainly carried out by women. Hence, for women, it is often more difficult to strike the right balance since, besides working for the company, they often manage more activities at home. However, now times have changed. Men and women work the same number of hours and consequently it is right to divide up family commitments equally.
The first step is to communicate to your partner when you have a greater workload and to divide the household activities as evenly as possible.
How to achieve work-life balance
Surely the balance we are talking about is subjective because being able to organise our personal lives and work is a strictly personal and a constantly evolving process. It can change depending on our age and the goals to be achieved. Nevertheless, we can talk about positive work-life balance when a person feels generally satisfied with his life without having to neglect professional objectives. Let’s take a look at some tips to improve your work-life balance.
A simple but effective way to avoid going beyond the normal working hours is to draw up a to-do list sorted by priority. In this way, if you do not manage all tasks at the end of the day, it may not be a problem to postpone lower priority tasks to the next day. Moreover, this list should also contain activities related to your well-being, sports to free yourself from stress and time for your family and friends, in order to save yourself some time every day.
Now that we have seen how to carve out more free time, the advice is to use it to pursue your passions. There are those who like jogging in the park, those who prefer playing football or reading a book. No matter what you do, dedicate some time to what makes you happy.
Additionally, there is a part in this to be played by the employers, to carry out corporate welfare policies, capable of reducing frustration and encouraging productivity. For example, we refer to working remotely with flexible hours, but that should not mean logging more hours per day on the job than before the lockdown. Working from home means saving time that we traditionally spent getting to the office, which in the busiest cities can even exceed two hours. But that precious time should be protected and employers should play their part in maintaining that balance.
The pandemic has forced us to make great changes, especially in the workplace; reaching a new balance is possible. For many, this is a positive change and something that is here to stay. However, it is important to take care and maintain satisfaction with your work without sacrificing relationships or passions. This is the secret of the work-life balance.