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Work Life Balance - 7 Tips for Bettering it


Balancing the demands of our professional and personal lives has evolved significantly compared to previous decades.

With the prevalence of remote work reaching unprecedented levels, where 35 percent of individuals whose roles allow remote work reported working exclusively from home, a stark contrast to the 7 percent before the COVID-19 outbreak. This shift towards a work-from-home or live-where-you-work dynamic often blurs the boundaries between work and other aspects of life.

Even for those who commute to a physical office, the advent of smartphones and various connectivity apps means that the delineation between work hours and personal time has become increasingly blurred. The ability to stay tethered to work-related communication channels at any given moment challenges the traditional notion of leaving work behind at the office.

When Did the Conversation on 'Work-Life Balance' Begin?

Recent transformations in Australia's corporate work culture have reignited interest in the notion of work-life balance, a concept that has long been explored by psychologists and productivity experts. Conflicting demands from various roles, such as those of a worker and a parent, can lead to overload.

The aim is to achieve a state where individuals feel productive without experiencing burnout at work, while also finding fulfilment in their personal lives. However today’s overload is more widespread and severe, exacerbated by technology blurring the lines between work and personal time.

There is a necessity to establish boundaries to prevent work from encroaching on every aspect of life, including sleep. Employees and employers must recognise the profound impact of technological advancements on work dynamics and adapt accordingly.

The Problem is, Work is Everywhere

In the past, there existed a clear boundary between one's professional and personal life. There were designated work hours and designated non-work hours, delineated by physical spaces such as offices. However, this demarcation has blurred significantly in modern times, especially exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, many individuals find themselves constantly tethered to work, courtesy of technological connectivity. Contrary to the notion of a balanced division between work and personal time, it's often work that encroaches upon personal time rather than the other way around.

A study published in July 2018 in the Academy Management Proceedings revealed that employees who felt compelled to check their email round the clock reported lower levels of health, well-being, and satisfaction in their relationships.

The intertwining of technology and flexible work arrangements has normalised the expectation of constant availability. What was once considered unusual has now become the norm, with people seemingly expected to be 'on' at all times.

7 Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

Looking to achieve a healthier work-life balance? Here are seven strategies to consider:

1/ Embrace Tech Wisely
Instead of battling the urge to constantly check your devices, understand the psychology behind it. Create phone-free zones during meals, family time, and meetings. If you work from home, establish a designated time to switch off notifications.

2/ Set Clear Boundaries
Reintroduce the boundaries that used to naturally separate work and personal life. Designate specific times for work and personal activities. For remote workers, establishing routines like walking the dog or hitting the gym can signal the end of the workday.

3/ Prioritise Self-Care
Allocate time for yourself daily, even during work hours. Take short breaks for activities like meditation, a brisk walk, or simply relaxing. Many employers support short breaks as long as work is completed on time.

4/ Define Flexible Hours
Flexible schedules shouldn’t equate to constant availability. Make it clear to colleagues when you're reachable and when you're not. Avoid responding to emails late at night to set healthy boundaries.

5/ Have Constructive Conversations
Discuss your boundaries with your employer in a mutually beneficial way. Acknowledge shared goals and the importance of sustainable work practices. Address the impact of after-hours emails on your well-being.

6/ Pursue Meaningful Work
Seek job satisfaction and alignment with your values. Research shows that fulfilling work improves overall well-being. If your current role doesn't align with your values, explore ways to integrate them into your job.

7/ Advocate for Systemic Change
Recognise that achieving work-life balance requires support from employers and society. Companies should ensure workload matches working hours, provide adequate leave, and offer quality health benefits.

It's evident that maintaining a work-life balance is not just a luxury but a necessity for our mental, physical, and emotional health. By incorporating the strategies outlined we can reclaim control over our lives and create space for the things that truly matter. Achieving balance is an ongoing process, requiring patience, flexibility, and self-awareness. By prioritising our wellbeing and finding harmony between work and life, we can cultivate a more fulfilling and sustainable existence.


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