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Work-life balance is a cycle, not an achievement

Balancing work cycles is more challenging now than before because of remote and hybrid work patterns.

NWOW Staff
May 12, 2022
Date Published
10 minutes
Time to read
Work-life blending
Category

Everyone needs to reach a balance in life where work does not intrude on personal life, and the latter does not interfere with the former. Balancing work and personal life were easier when a clear delineation existed between the office and the home. However, with the new trend of remote and hybrid working patterns, the blurry line between the office and personal life is getting even blurrier.

Since work and personal life activity happen in the same place – usually at home, balancing both can become almost impossible for your workers. ‍

This article is dedicated to explaining how you can help your team members and employees maintain a good work-life balance. It also highlights why a good employee work cycle is important for your business to succeed and what a balanced life looks like. We’ve also thrown in 7 work-life balance tips you can adopt to help your team members.

Table of contents

What is work-life balance?

Work/Life Balance, WLB for short, refers to the state of being where a person is not negatively affected by work duties. Although there are different work-life balance definitions, proper work-life balance means when a worker is not emotionally or mentally stressed from work activities, it affects other areas of life. This could mean many things for different people, such as not being choked up by work, thinking about work at home, or canceling other responsibilities because of workload.

Work-life balance is a cycle and not an achievement. However, the balance between life and work is a constant mission. It changes with every alteration in life events such as getting married, changing jobs, or falling sick.  

Another thing to note is that there is no "one technique" for everyone. Each person has to find their unique way to balance life with work since we all have different jobs, lives, personalities, and duties. There is also no perfect balanced life either. You can't split things 50/50. The goal, instead, is to help your employees find the point where one doesn't interfere with the other.

As long as your employees are fulfilled by their work-life integration and their professional and personal lives aren't suffering, you're good. That is the real work-life balance definition.

Why is work-life balance important for business?

Many managers have been reported to ask how their employees’ personal lives affect them and why they should bother about how their workers balance their working cycles. Numerous reports show that many workers resigned from work by giving reasons such as ‘not feeling it,’ ‘my work life is choked up by responsibilities’, or ‘losing themselves to work.’ These reasons are not good reasons to call out of work. They are all hidden under the umbrella of a poor work-life balance. ‍‍

A good work-life balance is important if you want to boost employee engagement. Companies with the best work-life balance are likely to have a higher job satisfaction rate if their team finds it easier to balance work and home. Having an actively engaged team, regardless of whether they're at the office or home, is also a plus. The more engaged your employees are, the more loyal they will be. After all, a dedicated employee is more likely to agree to step up when there are things to be done after office hours.

Another reason business managers need to be concerned about their employees’ work-life balance is because it increases work efficiency by reducing (or eliminating) work stress and burnout. Your employees will feel good about themselves, and this will boost productivity. Well-balanced people are more productive employees.‍

Besides, employers who cultivate jobs with the best work-life balance for their employees experience fewer cases of lateness, absenteeism, inefficiency, and reluctance to work. Indirectly, they also save costs that spring up from poorly rendered work.  ‍‍

Moreover, cultivating a good work-life balance culture reduces health issues. The likelihood of health issues increases when your team is stressed, a common result of a poor work-life balance. Stress causes physical and mental health problems for employees. Consequently, absenteeism is likely to increase.  ‍

When employees are provided with a flexible work schedule with greater control over their work hours, you empower them to take better care of themselves. Besides, since employers shoulder a portion of health insurance costs, keeping your staff healthy and happy makes good business sense.

Finally, encouraging a good work-life balance improves mindfulness at work. People who maintain a healthy work-life balance are more likely to be more mindful as they can control their attention and focus more easily. Team members who are mindful will be more dedicated to the job. Consequently, you'll enjoy productivity, higher retention rates, and of course, increased profit.  

So, why is balance important for you as a manager? In simple terms, cultivating a work-life balance for your employees ensures they are in the best shape to give you their best. It’s like helping your employees to help yourself.

What does a healthy work-life balance look like?

The best place to start ensuring that your employees have a good work-life balance as a manager is to be fully aware of what a good work-life balance is and what isn’t. Here are a few misconceptions about a good work-life balance in the workplace.

Good work-life balance means less work

Many people believe that the answer to a balanced working cycle is less work, so what balance needs is less work. However, this is not true.

Companies with the best work-life balance don't necessarily have to reduce how much work their workers do daily. This is because the amount of work is not the only factor determining the balance between professional life and personal life.  There are many unhappy people working 15 hours per week as there are those working for more than 30 hours per week. What work-life balance needs is not necessarily less work but the correct placement of priorities between hobbies, time alone, time with family, at work, and so on. 

There must be a middle line between work and life balance

This isn't true. As a manager, human resource person, or employer, it's almost futile trying to find the middle point between personal and professional life. All your employees have different work responsibilities and personal duties. Therefore, finding the same formula that works for all your employees is almost impossible. The best resort is to help find the point where professional life doesn’t mix into personal life and vice versa.

If you've found work-life balance, it stays forever

Believing that you have helped an employee reach the equilibrium point between work and life balance and hence shouldn't be faced with another dilemma is a big misconception. Recall that balancing work patterns is a cycle which means it is subject to change.

The issue stops at that one employee

In reality, there is a high probability that more than one of your team members is going through this same dilemma. It is not about giving one employee time off; it is about creating the best work-life balance jobs for all your employees.

Now that you know what is not a good work-life balance, how do you identify a good one when you see one? Here is how. ‍

Some people may say that having a good work-life balance means knowing what is important in life and how to prioritize all activities (work-related or not). It could also mean meeting your deadlines at work when due and still having time for other things such as your hobbies, friends, time alone to meditate, etc. It also means keeping work at work and keeping personal life separate from work. This involves not thinking about work at home or with friends or canceling outings because of work. ‍

A good work balance means that you are not constantly stressed or unhappy about your work, and you can meet project deadlines on time. As a manager or an employer, the indications are quite different. One way is to observe all your employees and find out which one of them does not submit their assignment on time. Another clue is to find out which of your employees constantly report late to work or ask for permission to be absent or exempted from work duties. ‍

You can also determine if an employee has a good work-life balance by studying the difference between work efficiency at the start and the present moment. An employee known to deliver their duties with high quality may be stressed when they start delivering at low quality.

Causes of poorly balanced life-work patterns

There are many reasons why poor life-work balance may occur in the workplace, but these four factors are the most common:

Increased responsibility outside of work

This could also be a major factor against employees’ work/life balance. When a worker has to either go back to school, complete a degree, finish a certification, plan a party, and so on, it can affect the living-working balance. 

Marriage or Childbirth

employees who recently got married or gave birth are more vulnerable to experiencing poor life/work patterns. The new responsibility of a spouse or a child(ren) can cause them to be overwhelmed and displaced when it comes to balancing life at work and life at home.

Work Overload

Increased responsibility even within the work environment can also add stress. Since balance is influenced by the amount of work done during working hours and at home within a specific time frame, increased responsibilities can take a toll on your workers.

Keeping Long Hours

If your workers begin to work longer hours during weekends or overnight, it can affect their mental health and ability to maintain a balance between work and personal life, the idea is to either live to work or work to live. This implies that your workers should work to have enough money to live and live to have the necessary motivation to work. 

Tips on how to improve your team members' work-life balance

Since the parameters for identifying a good work-life balance has been clearly stated, here are 7 work-life balance tips that you can employ to help your team members balance work and family life more efficiently.

Create work-life balance programs

The first thing to do, especially if you have no idea where to start, is to create work and life balance programs for all your employees. You can look for and offer different programs such as stress management classes, counseling, or tickets to a meditation program. By doing this, you would be helping your employee create an avenue where they can actively work on how to balance life and work.

Pay attention to employee mental health

Some of the things that affect employees' mental health are stress, anxiety, and build-up of thoughts, resulting in burnout, tiredness, fatigue, and sometimes laziness. Therefore, you have to pay attention to the mental health of all your employees as an employer. To help create the best work-life harmony for your employees within this context, you can advise your workers to engage in a good sleep routine and take breaks when necessary.

Give out job responsibilities based on employee capabilities and situations

Every employee has different capabilities and personal responsibilities and shouldn't be treated with the same handling. When giving out job responsibilities to each of your employees, note whether or not they have a responsibility as a parent, wife, husband, caretaker etc.

For example, any of your workers that have children or have just recently given birth may need to reduce their workload for a period of time in order to be most effective.

Conversely, employees going through a breakup or loss of a friend or loved one may also need the space to grieve and find space in their new normal.

Prioritize physical health

An employee battling a particular physical illness shouldn't be treated the same way as someone healthy. To help your employee create a good work balance, you would have to consider the time required for regular checkups, hospital visits, and time to heal at home.

Work with your employees

Another tip is to work with your employee in a positive social environment and not as a controlling boss. Whenever you give out duties to any of your employees, always find the time to ask them if they can deliver the tasks according to the set schedule. Create an environment where they can always speak to you about their personal engagements, especially if it affects work. This way, you can keep abreast of any shortcomings.

Create break times

This can also be known as time off work or taking a leave. Ensure that all workers have access to a certain amount of break time taken monthly or annually. Break times often help employees so recalibrate for a healthy work and life balance of all things.

Respect the boundaries they have created

Finally, if you can get your employees to create a good balance in life with work, ensure that you follow their boundaries. Refrain from reaching out to them during their break times, at night, or asking them to work overtime when you know they are not physically or mentally capable of doing so.

Summary

Balancing work cycles is more challenging now than before because of the new trend of remote and hybrid work patterns. The line that draws the difference between work and personal life has been blurred out. As a result of this blurred line, many employers are faced with workers who give several reasons to call off work. There are also those who submit low-quality work due to burnout or stress. Hence the need for a good work-life balance. ‍

This article contains 7 highly recommended tips for managers and employers to adopt in guiding team members towards a more balanced professional life and personal life. Creating a good work-life integration program in the form of counseling sessions and stress management classes is a good starting point.

Employers should also pay attention to the mental and physical health of all their employees and designate duties according to the capability of each worker. Managers and employers should create restoration times for every employee while creating a good social environment.  The result is a more productive employee who delivers high-quality jobs when due with a cheerful spirit and good work attitude.‍

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Balancing work cycles is more challenging now than before because of remote and hybrid work patterns.

What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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