What is Work-Life Balance and Why is it Important to Encourage it?
Balancing home life with a fast-paced career is often a challenge. However, if you strive to avoid burnout and dream of long-term happiness, learning how to achieve a fulfilling work-life balance is an essential objective.
Many people think that they could use a whole lot more balance in their lives — between working, mothering, writing, being a partner (a son, a brother, a friend, etc.), gardening, folding laundry, feeding a cat, and so on. How to find that happy and healthy work-life balance we always hear such good things about?
Sometimes, people who are looking for advice on how to manage their obligations both in the office and at home with their partners or family, turn to an expert who can propose professional help. Some people try to read more books about work-life balance and find helpful tools and tactics for how to get less stressful balance. This way is also actionable. So, what is the definition of work-life balance?
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance means prioritization between personal and professional activities. It is the level of an individual’s life when activities related to their job are present in the home.
Is there an ideal work-life balance? This question is rather discussable. Sometimes happiness is defined as having little or no differentiation between an individual’s professional and personal lives.
This balance has become a topical issue because of the increased amount of technology that removes the importance of physical location in defining the work-life balance. Previously the line between professional and personal was clearer so it was harder or impossible to take work home.
Actuality in 2020
The terrific Covid-19 crisis has shoved work and home duties under the same roof for many families. For some of them, finding work-life balance becomes more difficult when working remotely.
Parents who work from home can schedule important virtual negotiations but their children can also have standing teleconferences. Actually, a virtual morning preschool meeting may be as important as your own conference calls or virtual team-building. So, you will need to make some efforts to wedge the rest of the workday into the early mornings and post-bedtime.
Fortunately, many online management tools are moving forward and offer advanced options and additional features. This is clearly seen in the example of video conferencing software, such as Zoom or GoToMeeting.
Why is Work-Life Balance Important?
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance will positively affect not only health and relationships but also employee’s productivity and performance. When team members don’t view work as a routine, then they will work harder and will make fewer mistakes.
Considering the fact of how difficult it can be to attract and retain new workers nowadays, companies that gain a reputation for encouraging work-life balance have become attractive. Let’s list some more relevant reasons why work-life balance is important for your company and employees.
Key Reasons Why Work-Life Balance is Critical
Minimizing health problems
Being in stress, you run the risk of destructing more than just your social life but your physical and mental health. A poor work-life balance usually leads to dangerous symptoms that can affect your wellbeing: from the flu to serious heart-related problems. Maintaining the balance, you significantly limit health problems and absences. This ensures that your company is more efficient during business hours.
Helping team members to find a healthy balance between work and home, you will increase their level of engagement.
An engaged workforce will lead to your team members becoming loyal advocates for your brand and product. They will more likely stay at work late if something needs to be done after the normal workday ends.
Everyone gets stressed from time to time. However, you can avoid workplace burnouts and make some efforts to ensure this doesn’t happen to your team. Burnouts occur when you feel overwhelmed. They can affect every aspect of your life. Sometimes it is really important to encourage your team to take time off and leave work at work.
Sustaining a healthy work-life balance leads to developing greater control over our focus and ability to concentrate on the task at hand. This is about mindfulness.
A healthy work-life balance will help to create an environment where everyone is dedicated to the task at hand. You will quickly observe improving retention rates, profit, and productivity.
Work-Life Balance and Various Generations
The essential goal of any employer is to save money and maintain a healthier, more productive workforce by creating a work environment that prioritizes work-life balance. How exactly does work-life balance look like?
Over the years, the approach to work-life balance has been constantly evolving. For employers, it should be useful to know how to identify the difference in opinions among the different generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials.
Work-Life Balance and Baby Boomers
Baby Boomers are people born between 1945 and 1960. This adult generation had experienced a lot of hardships at a very young age. Their main goal was to make a decent living. They craved stability in the workplace and valued the opportunity for employment, that is why the work-life balance wasn’t a key priority.
Baby Boomers stayed at certain companies for longer periods of time than the following generations. Nowadays many of them have senior or director-level positions and it surely requires discipline and a high degree of responsibility.
Work-Life Balance and Generation X
Gen X representatives are the children of Baby Boomers. They were typically born around the years of 1960 and 1980.
Gen X grew up observing the hard hours and poor work-life balance of their parents. Many of them were exposed to the effect of such relationships with work on their families. That’s why they put more emphasis on creating work-life balance in their own lives.
The employees of Generation X prioritize spending time with their relatives and tend to think about work-life balance as a prerequisite to employment. They often seek perks such as adequate vacation time, telecommuting, or extended maternity/paternity time.
Work-Life Balance and Millennials
Millennials are people born between the years of 1980 and 2000. They have come with their fair share of stereotypes. One of the most essential priorities for them is to find stable employment to pay for higher education (of themselves and their children) and dealing with soaring housing costs.
In order to satisfy the desires of Millennials, many employers add special benefits, game rooms, free coffee, or beanbags to spruce up the work environment. However, many millennials say that they even don’t care about these types of perks, they only care about finding a career path that will support their lifestyle.
Creating a flexible and clear work environment is one of the best ways to satisfy the work-life balance needs of most individuals. No matter what generation they belong to.
The appropriate work environment will boost job satisfaction, decrease stress, and help team members maintain healthier habits. It is a good idea to offer flexible work hours and the ability to organize home offices to create a more flexible work environment that appeals across generations of workers.
Desperate searches of work-life balance will evolve with cultural, generational, and economic changes. Managers should be ready to try something new if individuals report poor work-life balance. This is a perfect way to retain talented employees and make them loyal.
Bonus: New Books on Work-Life Balance, Recommended by Hygger team
Work-life balance is a topic that inspires the brightest heads and international authors. The Hygger team is constantly following the latest books on this subject since each of us considers this topic important and useful for study. We are pleased to share some exciting books we have read that will help you delve into the topic of work-life balance and succeed. Here are some recommendations:
Joy at Work by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein
The book was released in April 2020, therefore, probably not many know about it yet. This is a kind of transformative guide from the smart psychologists. The authors compare a workplace with a magnet for clutter and mess. They suppose that everyone once felt drained by wasteful meetings, disorganized papers, unnecessary tasks, and endless emails. These work hazards can slowly drain the joy from work and limit your chances of career progress.
Reading this book, you will get insightful stories, studies, and strategies to help in eliminating clutter and making space for work that really matters. Joy at Work is aimed to help us overcome the challenges of workplace mess and enjoy success and productivity.
Nir Eyal is well-known all over the world as the bestselling author and reliable expert. Perhaps, you have read his famous “Hooked”. His new book is about the hidden psychology that drives people to distraction. Nir explains why problem-solving is not as simple as swearing off our devices. He shares the secret of a four-step, research-backed model and reveals the key to getting the best out of technology, without letting it get the best of you.
In fact, Indestractible is a source that provides practical techniques to control our time and attention, helping us live the life that we really want.
Start with Your People by Brian Dixon
The full name of the book is “Start with Your People. The Daily Decision that Changes Everything”. The author of this book insists to start with your people if you want to love your work and make your dreams happen. What does it mean? In simple words, any dream is not a solo venture. You’ll need your people to realize it as well as your people will need you.
This book shares the single key to fully engage your relationships and unlock the door to passion, purposes, and profit. It’s about maximizing the most important resource to succeed in business and in life – about relationships. Dizon will make you think about why your family actually helps you succeed at work, how to see your kids as a legacy instead of a liability, and many more essential issues.