Work-Life Balance Strategies: Why Balance Is Important

Although many people define themselves by what they do, they also have lives outside of work. They have families, hobbies, and responsibilities. They have health scares and financial goals. A person’s job is important, but it needs to leave room for the rest of a person’s life, too. We all need work-life balance.

Employee Burnout Is No Laughing Matter

What if two-thirds of employees suffered from a condition that made them more likely to quit or end up in the emergency room? Well, such a condition exists. It’s not a new virus. It’s employee burnout.

According to a Gallup poll, 23 percent of employees feel burned out always or often, and an additional 44 percent feel burned out sometimes. Among employees who are often or always burned out, they are 63 percent more likely to take a sick day, 2.6 times more likely to leave their job, and 23 percent more likely to visit the emergency room.

Burnout is a serious issue that negatively impacts employers and their employees. Achieving work-life balance is one way to avoid becoming burned out.

Strategies for Employers

  • Allow flexible hours and work from home options. This makes it easier to deal with sick kids, sick pets, repairs, and other minor emergencies as they arise.
  • Provide personal days. According to a survey from Career Builder, 40 percent of workers reported calling in sick when they weren’t sick in the last 12 months. Reasons for lying included needing to keep a doctor’s appointment, not feeling like working, needing sleep, needing to relax, and having errands. Sometimes, people just need a day off.
  • Support families. There are many ways to support families, from offering maternity/paternity leave to providing childcare benefits.
  • Stick to reasonable workloads. When a person quits, do you hire a replacement or dump the extra work on another employee? The latter can increase stress and resentment. Instead of losing one employee, you could lose two. While overtime may be necessary occasionally, avoid letting it become the norm.

Strategies for Employees

  • Take breaks. Are you the type of employee who eats lunch at your desk and never takes a vacation? You might think this makes you a good worker, but it’s really setting you up for employee burnout. Take breaks to refresh during the workday and use your paid time off.
  • Avoid workaholism. Do you pride yourself on being a workaholic? It could be bad for your mental health. A study found a significant link between workaholism and psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Strategies for Everyone

  • Communicate with each other. Employees should feel comfortable talking to their managers about problems they’re having with their workload. Employers should listen and actively seek out feedback.
  • Set a good example. If one person never takes breaks or sick days, everyone else might feel obligated to do the same. Maintain a good work-life balance for yourself and the people around you.
  • Help each other. When an employee or coworker is going through a tough time, do what you can to help. Celebrate each other’s good times, too.

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