Work plays a pretty significant part in all our lives, right? Some rough calculations show that 35% of time spent awake is spent in work*. The fact we will spend around a third of our lives working is enough of a reason to make sure we have a healthy work/life balance figured out.
Easier said than done. Our Internal Communications Manager, Claire Best has some thoughts on why it's important to make some time for life outside work. Take it away, Bestie...
There’s no easy way to find that elusive magic ratio that we all strive for, especially in today’s unpredictable and fast-paced world. As we grow increasingly connected to technology and social media, it is becoming harder and harder to separate work from our personal lives. It’s very common (and acceptable) to be checking emails in the middle of the night, taking calls at the dinner table and working on our laptops at the weekend. This is our “new normal.”
You love your job, you're happy in work, you feel a sense of achievement when you do a good job - what’s the harm? Why do we read so many articles banging on about how important a work/life balance is? Well, there are a few reasons - let’s take a look at some of them:
1. GETTING MORE DONE.
People who can separate their work and personal lives are generally more productive when they are in work. We perform better when we take a proper break away from work. Also, how we view work is different - when we don't see work as a chore, we work harder, make fewer mistakes and are more likely to be brand advocates.
2. FEWER TRIPS TO THE DOCS.
Sounds like common sense, doesn't it? When we are stressed out and over worked, we run the risk of jeopardising more than our social lives - our physical and mental health is in danger too. By looking after our well-being and trying to find balance, we can avoid more health problems and higher numbers of absences.
3. MORE PEOPLE ARE ‘IN THE ROOM.’
People who are genuinely happy at work are more engaged. FACT. And who doesn’t want a more engaged workforce? When people operate in this space, they go the extra mile, become loyal advocates of your brand, and they stick around for longer. The Temkin Group found in a recent study that engaged staff are 2.5 times more likely to stay at work late if something needs to be done after the normal workday ends.
4. BURN BABY, BURN (BUT DON’T BURN OUT)
We all have the ability to get stressed from time to time. It’s unavoidable. Definitely avoidable though are workplace burnouts. The inability to separate work from home will massively increase the chances of a burnout, so it is important to take time off and leave work at work.
So, this all sounds great. A healthier, more engaged, motivated and productive workforce. But how can we go about breaking bad habits, and shifting the paradigms that exist about work?
A FLEXIBLE APPROACH
We need to move from a rigid to personalised approach. That work/life energy is very personal and will be different for every person. We need to identify what energises us in work and life, and move towards that. Energised people are most creative and what helps one person feel balanced may be very different than what works for another person. It will also vary according to life stage, meaning one individual’s balance may change over time.
I am very passionate about my job and love the work I do. I am also a mum of two. So, for me, the priority is finding the right mix for those parts of my life. I want to do a great job when I’m in work, but when I’m home I want my kids to feel like they have my full attention - and this isn’t always easy.
At Clearbox, we have a number of options available to help us strike that perfect balance between work and personal life. One that I am especially grateful for is the ‘Parent Pot’ package. I can dip into a pot of hours within the year and use them for school meetings, violin recitals, or those sick tummies that appear suddenly (and disappear just as quickly sometimes!). Something as simple as this can help me be there for my family in those important moments, without that feeling of guilt leaving work.
And for those of us who don't have kids yet, there is an inspiration package and a volunteer package - allowing Clearboxers to take some time without technology to do something that inspires them, or volunteer for a cause close to their hearts. Each person can choose a package that suits them, and matches with their current priorities in life.
We need to find ways to not just survive, but thrive in these new normals. Changes in how we work demand an evolution of how we manage ourselves and how organisations create cultures, rewards, and structures to help staff find their balance.
*Over a 50-year working life