Do You Have Work-Life Balance?

Work-life balance seems to be a common phrase since Covid as candidates seek to continue remote or hybrid positions.  At Armstrong McGuire we hear about the desire for a work-life balance daily as we recruit the best candidates for nonprofit employment opportunities. I’ve noticed this year that the employment opportunities that receive the most applicants are remote or hybrid positions. People are taking control of their work-life balance by only applying to opportunities where they can be more flexible and have more control over their time.

At the same time, some employers are asking their staff to come back into the office and are doing away with hybrid or remote situations. Why? They feel their employees are siloed and not collaborating.

It begs the question: what is work-life balance? Do you have it? Have you ever had it?

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the definition of work-life balance is The division of one's time and focus between working and family or leisure activities.

Although the word balance implies equality between the two. The definition uses the word division. I have found that work life balance doesn’t always mean equal time on work, family, and leisure, but instead I strive to achieve balance on the whole. Not every day, week or month can actually be balanced between the three.

However, improving your overall work-life balance can absolutely improve your well-being, including your physical, emotional, and mental health. Studies have found that working long hours can lead to such serious health issues. Employers might associate long working hours with increased productivity, but researchers say otherwise. In fact, productivity is known to decrease at certain thresholds, leaving workers at risk of mistakes or even injuries.

A healthy work-life balance means you have the time and resources for both personal and professional priorities, which can reduce stress and boost productivity. Having a healthy work-life balance gives you a feeling of control over meeting both work and life goals, which can help you feel happier, healthier, and more satisfied in your career. It can also help you to be more productive and have better quality relationships, at work and home.

If you are searching for ways to achieve greater overall balance, Jennifer Herrity’s article How To Achieve a Healthy Work-Life Balance With 8 Simple Tips offers some helpful tips:

1. Limit perfectionism – It’s important to understand the difference between working hard and perfection. You are much more likely to be able to achieve excellence in your work while also balancing the needs of your home and family than you are to achieve perfection. Trying to meet unrealistic goals at work can be counterproductive and make it difficult to meet deadlines.

2. Leave tasks and projects at work – with technological advancements, it can feel more difficult to disconnect from work during personal time. For this reason, it’s important to set and follow clear boundaries for work and personal time. For example, don’t check your email after your work hours have ended for the day.

3. Gauge your health – When you are physically and emotionally healthy in your personal life, you will likely feel the same in your professional life. By taking simple steps to promote your well-being such as eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, getting the right amount of sleep and meditating, you will likely feel physically and mentally healthy, which often translates to motivation and productivity.

4. Participate in personal hobbies – Many people define who they are by what they do for work, but it is also just as important to have personal interests and hobbies. Think about how you defined who you were before you had this position at work and make time in your schedule for activities that you enjoy.

5. Spend time with loved ones – one of the best ways to ensure a healthy work-life balance is to make time for the important people in your life. Whether this means family, friends, or a combination of both, it’s important to spend time with people who encourage, support, love, and care for your overall well-being.

6. Assess your personal needs – a healthy work-life balance is unique to your personal needs and desires. When trying to achieve a healthy work-life balance, take a personal inventory of what is most important to you and what makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

7. Establish your own balance – try to achieve a balance that makes you feel happy and healthy, rather than one that equally divides your time between work and home.

8. Love your career – When you are passionate about the work you do, you are more likely to be happy at work.

I myself have been working remotely for years and love it. I make sure that I connect with my colleagues, have coffee with at least two people a week and take vacations. And - my two Frenchies, Sasha and Macey, appreciate their daily walks. For me, that is balance—most of the time!

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