Creating Work/Life Balance

3rd December 2018

Posted in: Blog General

Creating work/life balance can be tricky. We no longer live in a society where a standard work day is 9-5 and employees are finding it more and more difficult to maintain boundaries between their work and personal life as working from home has become a viable option. Many workplaces have recognised the benefits of flexible working hours and remote workplace access, however this same flexibility can wreak havoc with lives if not effectively managed.

The advent of technology has meant many workers can access their workplace 24/7. No longer do clients have to ring the office to contact a particular person, nor do they have to send you an email and wait until the next working day for an answer. Mobile phones allow clients to call at any time of the day and on weekends, and for those workers who have their emails coming through to their mobile phones, the lure of the “ping” alerting you to an incoming email can be impossible to resist looking at – and then responding to. Whereas workers used to leave work at 5pm, now they are working longer hours in the office or at home to keep on top of busy workloads, responding to phone calls and emails outside office hours and often taking work home with them to be completed.

As flexibility increases, the boundary lines between work and personal time often become blurred, leading to burnout, increased stress levels, lost family time, conflict and reduced contact with friends. Gradually over time, workers lose perspective of the value placed on home life and workplace commitments begin to take priority over personal and family time. This in turn leads to health issues, fractured relationships, fatigue and little time to do the enjoyable things in life.

Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is important for mental health. A balanced life usually translates to a more fulfilling life, having more energy, being more productive, living with less stress and having the time and ability to nurture meaningful relationships.

If you are looking to increase your work/life balance, you could try the following;

  • Spend some time figuring out what is important to you
  • Do a life audit – identify those things that aren’t working for you
  • Have realistic goals
  • Set boundaries between work and your home life, have a definite start and finish time for your work day
  • Identify any tasks which may prevent you from leaving work on time and take care of them earlier in the day
  • Take a lunch break, do something for yourself or catch up with others
  • Schedule activities for after work so that you have a reason to leave work on time
  • If possible, consider delegating tasks to other people to reduce your workload
  • Streamline workplace processes to make the most effective use of your time
  • If working from home, create a designated work space and dress as if going to work. This will help to create a work mindset and differentiate between work and personal or family time.
  • Make a conscious choice to ignore work calls and emails when you have clocked off work
  • Use a diary or calendar to schedule personal and family time – and make it happen.

If you feel counselling can help you with creating work/life balance, please call Karen Cummins at Mindful Crossroads counselling services on 0400 416 535 or fill in the “Contact” section on the Mindful Crossroads website to arrange a confidential discussion.