Over the last few years, the phrase ‘work-life balance’ has become ubiquitous in conversations about our general wellbeing. We’re constantly told that having a healthy balance between these two important areas of our lives is essential to our physical and mental health, and if we don’t strike this perfect balance, we’re at risk of stress or burnout.
But what exactly is a healthy, positive work-life balance? And how do you know if you’ve achieved it? With our years of experience as a leading London recruitment agency, we’ve seen the best in work-life balance and the worst. So let’s examine this in more detail.
What is a work-life balance?
In order to establish what a work-life balance is, first we’re going to look at what it isn’t. Despite including the word ‘balance’, a work-life balance doesn’t mean equal numbers of work and personal activities. This is very unrealistic and not always healthy. You might work a 40-hour week, but how many of us actually have another 40 hours spare for leisure or personal time? If you work a particularly demanding job, with up to 60 working hours a week (not unusual for those in the emergency services and other industries), how could you be reasonably expected to balance the two out exactly?
A work-life balance is more about figuring out what works for you, and you only. It’s a very personal thing, and only you will be able to decide whether you’re getting the balance right, or skewing it in one direction.
The idea of a work-life balance is also completely fluid and it’s always changing throughout your life. In your 20s, your priorities might be travel and socializing, while your 30s might be more focused on homemaking and raising children. Your 40s and 50s may be spent furthering your career, and as you grow closer to retirement, you might pursue more meaningful hobbies or activities. Having a good work-life balance means finding time for all of these things, without feeling stretched or stressed.
Being able to ‘switch off’
One of the reasons why we’ve heard so much about work-life balance in the last few years is because of the rapid rise of technology. We now have access to our work emails from our smartphones, we can connect to the internet at every local coffee shop or hotspot, and we’re never ‘offline’ anymore. Consequently, the lines between our personal lives and our professional lives have been blurred. Many people find it hard to ‘switch off’ from their day jobs, constantly checking their inboxes for updates and continuing to work after they’ve left the office.
Being able to put some much-needed distance between yourself and the working environment is essential for your wellbeing. If you can’t properly relax and recharge your batteries when you’re away from work, you’ll start to feel stressed and exhausted. You won’t be performing to your highest potential at work, and you won’t enjoy your time at home because you’ll feel as though you should be working.
Having a good work-life balance means drawing that important line in the sand and knowing when it’s time to stop thinking about clients, meetings, and deadlines. Taking time for yourself, your family, and your friends will only help you become a better employee over the long term, because there’ll be less risk of you burning out!
Whether you’re in a temporary PA job, a busy receptionist role, or an office manager position, you need to take care of yourself, so keep reading the Love Success blog for more tips on workplace health!
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