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Tips for achieving a better work-life balance

Person in a suit sitting at a table with a depiction of work-life balance in front

Creating a good work-life balance has benefits for both employees and employers.

It’s well-known that maintaining a work-life balance is an important part of a healthy work environment. It helps reduce stress and can prevent employee burnout in the workplace.

Happier, less stressed employees are usually more productive and motivated during work hours, have lower absenteeism and have a more positive perception of their company, manager or employer.

It seems like a growing number of people, at least in British Columbia, feel they are doing a good job managing work and leisure time. A recent poll from Research Co. showed that 41% of employed British Columbians claim they have “achieved a perfect balance between work and lifestyle.” This is up eight points from a similar survey conducted in 2019.

“While the province-wide numbers may point to an improvement for the workforce of British Columbia, some generational differences prevail,” said Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Only 32% of those aged 55 and over are putting their careers ahead of everything else, compared to 47% among those aged 35 to 54 and 50% among those aged 18 to 34.”

The survey also showed that almost two-in-five (39%) employed British Columbians believe it is more difficult to achieve a work-life balance now than it was for their parents.

Wondering how you can achieve that perfect work-life balance? Here are a few tips:

 

1. Add personal time to your schedule

Having a hard time finding a little “me time?” Make it a part of your daily, weekly or monthly schedule. Start small – even scheduling 20 or 30 minutes a few times a week to go for a run, bike, do yoga, stretch or meditate can help you decompress and feel more relaxed.

 

2. Unplug

While technology has made our daily lives easier in many respects by allowing us to stay connected and continue working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also helped create expectations of constant accessibility.

With email and other notifications coming to your phone after work hours, it can seem like the workday never ends, interrupting your off time and injecting an undercurrent of stress.

The best remedy? Make your off time real quality time – put the phone down, resist the urge to send just one more email or react to that notification. Unless it’s an emergency, work can wait.

 

3. Start small 

We’ve all been there. You commit to a restrictive diet that inevitably falls by the wayside after a week or so, or you make that New Year’s resolution that’s forgotten by February. Making drastic changes, like trying to cut your workweek from 80 hours down to a more reasonable 40, is usually a recipe for failure. As the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race.” Make a commitment, like making it home in time for dinner one night a week and work your way up from there. Sometimes a more consistent approach, even if it is slower, is more likely to give better results in the long-term.

 

4. Focus your life

No one can do it all, all the time, at home or the office. Instead of trying to do it all, focus on activities that you do best or value most. Delegate or outsource everything else, freeing you up to devote more attention to what matters most – and learn how to say “no” (nicely, of course). When you stop accepting optional tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you will have more time for activities and work that are meaningful to you.

 

5. Develop a support system

We all need a little help from our friends, sometimes. Join forces with a co-worker who can help you out when needed and vice versa. On the home front, enlist trusted friends and loved ones who can pitch in with childcare or help with other household responsibilities when you must work late. Knowing that someone will be there when you need them can help ease your mind.

 

6. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help

If life feels too chaotic to manage and you feel like you’re spinning your wheels worrying about it, or you’re turning to unhealthy ways of coping with stress, talk to your doctor, a mental health provider or your HR department. Many employers have employee assistance programs that offer services to employees with personal or work-related problems that may be impacting their job performance and mental and emotional well-being.

 

Published on August 27, 2021.