Finding Your Work-Life Balance

“Work hard, play hard,” they always say. Well, as long as “they” aren’t HR at a holiday party, of course. That said, the Work-Life Balance has become a point of emphasis for many in today’s frenetic work environment. With an increase in focus around emotional and mental well-being while maintaining a professional grasp of work duties and expectation, more and more companies are focusing on finding that balance for their employees in a quest for maxing out productivity the “right way.”

A good work-life balance has numerous positive effects, including less stress, a lower risk of burnout and a greater sense of well-being. This not only benefits employees but employers, too.

Employers are finding that — when they commit to providing work environments that foster and encourage an efficient work-life balance — they can save on costs, employee turnover, fewer cases of absenteeism and generally a more loyal team. Happy employees tend to go above and beyond for their companies. 

That feeling of worth is into itself arguably the most powerful incentive.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help keep that Work-Life Balance more commiserate with its namesake:

  1. Encourage chunking the larger projects into smaller parts. Staring into the forest can be intimidating and even paralyzing when one sees the span and scope of the project. Instead, focus on smaller parts, focus on an individual tree not the entire forest. The old question still rings true today: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”
  1. Don’t be afraid to encourage your fellow team members to take breaks, unplug, and clear the mechanism. It’s too easy in today’s digital “immediate results” world to get caught up checking just one email that turns into a hundred. Set those parameters and be consistent in taking breaks to keep from burnout or overload. 
  1. Spoil your team. If you’re upper management, team-building is essential to a strong workplace but so is taking care of the hands that take care of you. Surprise gifts, like gift cards or vouchers, that allow your team members to treat their own support system (i.e. significant others/family) to something nice go a long way in encouraging them to not neglect the most important people in their lives.
  1. Communicate with your fellow team members. In the midst of work chaos, we sometimes aren’t always open-eyed when it comes to the personal journeys of our team members. You never know what someone is going through, what they’re bottling up inside. Taking the time to show your concern with their well-being through brief one-on-ones goes a long way in helping them strengthen their mental health.
  1. Be human. Far too often, businesses look to the bottom line as the only indicator of company health. Companies that draw employees to their team generally are successful because it’s about more than just the product. It’s about the process of collaboration. Be assertive in encouraging the collaborative experience because few feelings are greater than the sense of accomplishment with a common goal. Lead from the front and remember humans are flawed creatures who make missteps from time to time. Expect it, address it, and evolve from it.

Obviously, getting out and playing is extremely important in the work-life balance. Go on a hike, hit a concert, take in some musical theatre or throw on a hat and check out a ballgame. Burnout is the single biggest instigator of work mistakes and a lack of productivity. Those who feel good, do good, so mind the work-life balance and defend it ferociously. There is a large difference between working to live and living to work, and it all starts with one thing: balance.