Work life balance is becoming increasingly important in today’s culture. A 2016 survey by Robert Half found that a majority of professionals were placing increasing emphasis on their personal lives. For example, 54% said they were more committed to their personal lives than the previous year, while only 5% said they were less committed.
Meanwhile on the career side of things, the story is the opposite. Thirty-eight percent said they planned to commit more effort to their careers in the coming year, and 9% said they would be less committed. And, other areas of commitment to work including commitment to job, commitment to company, and commitment to boss, were all ranked lower than respondents’ commitments to their personal lives.
Think of All the Benefits
For the individual, as well as for a business, work life balance has attractive benefits:
People will perceive your company as offering a good place to start and nurture a career
Employees get more creative when having the time to discover different ideas, and have conversations about things other than work
Employees are healthier because their stress levels are lower
People that are not sleep deprived because of work demands are less prone to accidents
Employees are more productive and at a lower risk for burnout.
Lower costs related to absenteeism and health care
Improved customer care
It’s All Within Reach
There are many different ways to encourage employees to achieve work life balance including:
Offering flexible or alternative hours, which are possible even in construction.
Offering telecommuting options that could could serve the company as well as the employee.
Being open to providing time for employees to take care of personal needs.
Resisting the urge to have people on call 24 hours a day just because you provide mobile communications tools. And let employees know that when they are clocked out they aren’t required to be available for job needs.
Offering care options for children and pets.
Having family-friendly events.
Ideas for Trying to Strike the Perfect Work-life Balance
Defining your own work-life balance is the only authentic way to gain the benefits. It's not something that is one-size-fits-all because everyone is different. Also, everyone who arrives at the point where they want to define what work-life balance means to them, arrives there with completely unique life experiences. And everyone views the five aspects of defining a work-life balance differently.
How to Define Work-life Balance
What does success mean to you? Not surprisingly this is often very different from one person to the next, as well as for the genders. Then too, many people have two gauges for success, one for their professional lives, and another for their personal lives.
How important is modern technology to you? One aspect of this has to do with how you view modern technological tools. Do you see them as intrusive, or do you view them as something that frees you? There is some evidence that disconnecting from the always-connected world is beneficial.
How do you prefer to interact within your spheres of influence? What kind of separation do you require between relationships in your private life and the relationships in your professional life? Mixing your work life and personal life can sometimes have advantages. For example, people often talk about how they shared a work problem with someone in their family and received new insights from those people. Sometimes people who are not intimately involved in your work environment have the distance to be objective.
According to research reported in Harvard Business Review, there is a dividing line when it comes to blending personal and professional networks. Some leaders find that they prefer being the same person in all aspects of their lives. They find it more natural and easy to form friendships where they work because that's where they spend the majority of their time. “While others prefer to have a clear separation between their work and private lives so they have a counterbalance to work, and so they're not always operating within the same circles of influence and ideas.”
How do you view your relationship with your partner? This aspect deals with things like whether you and your partner have common goals you collaborate on together to achieve, or you have different goals while relying on each other for support in achieving those separate goals.
How do you feel about traveling and relocating? Defining how you feel about this is important because achieving a work life balance is usually affected by traveling for work and relocating for work. Complicating the aspect of relocating for work are the various cultural situations and the lifestyle changes that you and those close to you will face.
Finally, remember that achieving your work-life balance is not a destination, but rather a journey. You change, the people in your life change, and the events in your life have a profound impact on how you view your work and personal lives. Be always ready to reassess what is meaningful to you, and how it applies to your work-life balance.