The advancements in new technologies such as smartphones, tablets, shared workspaces and Wi-Fi connections mean that work is no longer confined to the four walls of an office.
But, while the ability to access your work and emails from almost anywhere at any time can be helpful, these strides in technology have also brought about new problems.
Today’s professionals are always switched-on, which has resulted in many struggling to draw the line between their personal and professional lives. Striking the right balance between work and home is called ‘work-life balance’ and is becoming increasingly important.
If you’re unable to achieve this balance, it can have a number of negative impacts on not just your work, but also your health. As such, we’ve put together a list of the best ways you can achieve a good work-life balance, by making some simple changes.
Why is work-life balance so important?
Professionals that don’t get the balance right risk becoming overworked and ultimately, could face burnout. And that’s not the only problem that arises from having a poor work-life balance. Your mental health can also suffer as a result.
Those who don’t make time for themselves and are overworked could become stressed and potentially even depressed. This is just one of the negative implications of working too many hours.
For this reason, having a good work-life balance is absolutely crucial! Below we outline in more detail how you can achieve this.
Work smarter, not harder
One of the best ways to ensure you get the balance right is to manage your time and workload as effectively as possible. This will eliminate the need for overtime and means you can leave the office behind at the end of the day.
The key to working smarter, not harder, is to manage your time more successfully. There are a number of ways you can do this. You can write to-do lists, keep an organised diary and delegate/ask for support where needed.
Leave work behind
It’s important that you don’t take work home with you, even if you’re leaving the office on time. Many fall into the trap of answering calls or emails at home, meaning they’re unable to properly switch off and unwind.
Therefore, it’s important that you leave work, at work. Don’t set up your emails on your smartphone or tablet and avoid answering work-related calls. Instead, spend your evening relaxing and getting ready to be productive the next day.
Don’t do too much overtime
While there may be times when you need extra cash, or you have a bigger project to finish, be careful to limit the amount of overtime you do. This includes turning up early in the mornings or staying after hours.
It’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t feel guilty about saying no. Sometimes we feel bad about not stepping in to pick up hours or not taking on a new project. But the truth is, you’re only human and you can only do so much. If you’re already feeling the pressure, don’t be afraid to say no to your boss and explain why.
Use your annual leave
If you don’t take time out for yourself, your personal and professional lives could suffer as a result. Taking time in the evening and at weekends to recharge is the key to staying productive while at work.
Not only that, it’s important that you make the most of your annual leave. Worryingly, a recent study found that 40% of Irish professionals are guilty of not using their holiday allowance. But this allowance is given for a reason and you need to make the most of it.
It’s about taking time away to unwind. Whether you choose to go away, spend time with your family, take up a hobby or just catch up on tasks around the house, it’s vital that you make time for the things that are important to you.
Doing so will help you to stay focused at work, be more productive and reduce the risk of stress or other damaging affects to your health.
Speak to your manager
If you’re doing your best to create a good work-life balance, but mounting workloads and staff shortages keep holding you back – it could be time to speak to your manager.
Let them know what’s going on and suggest ways they can help to support you and make the situation better. They don’t want their employees burning out and they certainly don’t want them leaving! So it’s likely they’ll do what they can to help you achieve a better balance.
Look for a new role
If all else fails and you’re struggling to get the balance right, it could be time to find a new job. If your manager is unable to help you and it feels like the work just keeps flooding in, consider looking for a company that prioritises a strong work-life balance.
They could do this in a number of ways, whether it’s offering flexible working, shorter hours or extra holiday. Look out for these perks in job descriptions and don’t be afraid to ask about the culture and approach to work-life balance during the interview process.
This will help you to find a role within a business that appreciates that their employees need time to relax and recharge.
It’s time to achieve a great work-life balance
Creating a strong work-life balance is important, so take on board the steps we’ve outlined above. Stay organised and on top of your workload, so you can switch off at the end of the day – and not take work home with you!
If you’re struggling to get the balance right in your current role, it could be time to shake things up. Browse thousands of live vacancies right now to find a company that encourages a work-life equilibrium.