Never underestimate the importance of having a strong work/life balance. Chances are if you're reading this, you’ve felt like you’re working longer and longer hours over recent years - you’re not alone.
Although the amount of hours we spend in the office has dropped over the last 30 years, there is an ever-growing feeling that we’re never fully able to switch off because of the overreliance on the technology that permanently features in our lives.
More of us are now finding it much harder to draw a line in the sand at the end of the working day, with a constant influx of work emails to our personal devices at all hours. Despite less time in the office, the lines between our professional and personal life are becoming ever more blurry.
Great for your boss, not so great for you. Unfortunately, this kind of attitude to work has left many people feeling like the balance between work/life has taken a turn for the worse, resulting in negative side effects such as stress, illness or relationship troubles, among a number of other issues.
What is work/life balance?
Work/life balance can be described as the level at which you manage your work and personal life, the goal being a perfect equilibrium between the two.
If the scale gets tipped too far and lacks balance, you can expect a number of different negative side effects. The great thing is that these negative impacts can be alleviated by improving the balance between work and play.
Without further ado, let’s discover the top five reasons why you might need to review your work and personal lifestyle in order to create a better balance.
Five reasons you should maintain a healthy work/life balance
1. Your physical health will improve
With over 90% of full time workers in the US working over 50 hours a week and the UK not far behind, it leaves little time for the good stuff in life (which helps us to recharge our batteries and reset our body systems).
Having a healthy working day, with a clear end and firm boundaries between your personal and professional life helps provide a space for regeneration and downtime, which in turn can help with lots of physical ailments caused by overexertion and stress.
Examples of physical illnesses that can be caused by overworking and stress include a weakened immune system, headaches, high blood pressure and fertility problems, to name but a few.
With this in mind, it becomes important to be selective with the days in which you work beyond your limits. We’re not saying that you should never go the extra mile, but pay attention to how you’re feeling and adjust as and when; some days longer hours might be needed, but you shouldn’t feel bad about finishing work on time on the quieter days.
2. You’ll be more mentally resilient
Multiple studies have found that the stress of working long hours has a hugely negative impact on mental health and our ability to remain resistant to life’s challenges.
Mental issues caused by stress include poor memory function and low concentration levels, amongst other more serious issues including depression and anxiety.
The amount of time spent in overdrive each day can be detrimental to our mental wellbeing, so to ensure strong mental health be sure to take frequent breaks, and don’t be afraid to actually end your working day when your computer switches off.
If you’re able to work from home, try enforcing an off-limits communication policy after a certain time in order to maintain a positive balance between work and home.
3. You’ll experience better relationships
One of the most obvious ways a poor work/life balance impacts people is their weakened relationships with friends and family.
This can have a negative impact on all involved, with children of parents working long hours found to have behavioural issues and relationships between partners taking a hit. On the opposite end of the scale, those with more flexible work hours who make a habit of their work/life balance are more likely to have better relationships with their families and have happier family units as a result.
The less time spent working, the less time available to share your life with your loved ones and the fewer family conflicts reported.
4. You’ll have more time for hobbies
Enjoying a range of hobbies can work wonders for your wellbeing. By freeing up extra time outside of work for your hobbies, you create a harmonious environment for relaxing and letting off steam when you need it most.
What’s more, once more of your schedule is freed up, it gives you chance to be able to lose yourself in the things you love and you may even uncover a new interest that previously lay dormant.
Acting as a de-stressor, hobbies such as exercise, reading, meditation and cooking can all induce feelings of peace, whilst releasing feel-good hormones. Ensuring you have enough free time to explore your interests serves to enrich your life.
5. You’ll be more productive at work
Having a positive balance between work and play aids your output during working hours. The more time you spend in the office past your body’s limits, the more tired and less productive you’ll be.
On the other end of the scale, the more you give yourself time to refresh and recharge, the better your quality of work. One study found that a strong balance between work and home life led to improved employee engagement, so there is good reason for businesses to accommodate flexible work routines.
Ultimately, finding the right balance between working hard, taking breaks and finishing when needed can be the difference between success at work and stress at work.
Our mission is to bring on-demand coaching & mentoring to all individuals who need it. Choose an array of over 100 coaches, mentors and wellbeing experts who are dedicated to aiding you on your self-improvement journey.