Connie Hum is an avid travel and lifestyle writer. When she's not writing for her own travel blog, www.connvoyage.com, she's offering her writing and social media services to clients around the world.
Create a Better Work Life Balance
Work life balance has become a corporate trend in recent years. Much talk has been given to the need for companies and managers to offer their employees more slack when it comes to having a better work life balance. As more and more business put this into practice, and as more employees come to demand more of what will help them lead productive, happy lives both in and out of the workplace, the idea of what a better work life balance means is slowly evolving. In order to make this new workplace dynamic work for you, since all employees are different with unique circumstances, you’ve got to learn how to create an optimum plan for your own personal work life balance.
First, the most important step to creating your own better work life balance is to ask yourself what your ideal, yet realistic, work life scenario is. While we all would love to work only four days a week, most of us recognise that it’s not exactly realistic and something our managers would never go for. In order to get the most out of what we want with our work and personal lives, we have to come up with what we would consider to be the optimum balance. Once you determine what you want to get more of, consider what you can offer as an exchange. Do you need more time at home with your children in the mornings? Are you willing to put in an extra hour or two in the office in the evenings or work from home over the weekends in order to have those mornings at home? Discuss with your boss your personal needs and together, you can find the best way to handle these new requirements.
Once you and your supervisor have come to an agreement concerning your work life balance, it’s important that you both, as well as your colleagues and family, understand the parameters of the agreement. Communication is key or else your teammates may start wondering why you’re showing up late to work in the mornings or leaving early in the afternoons. If you are coming in later in the mornings, your work peers should be notified of any changes to existing meetings or conference calls that may need to be made. If you’ll start working from home for a couple hours, your family should know that this is work time and that you should not be disturbed during these hours. Make sure you have a separate area for your work or else you will find yourself too easily distracted.
One of the most important things to keep in mind for maintaining the ideal work life balance you have negotiated for yourself is to respect the plan and stick to it. If you don’t set the boundaries for yourself, no one else will and your carefully thought-out plan will fall to the wayside. If your mornings are spent at home with your children, then you should never accept a conference call during that time, no matter how infrequent you may think it will be. If you take that first call, you set an example that you can make yourself available in the future during the time you should be spending with your family. This will slowly erode your work life balance plan and you will soon find yourself no better off than you were when you first started.
Another important factor in helping to secure your work life balance is to understand your own limitations and allow yourself breaks. While the idea of powering through your lunch hour may seem like a good idea, in the long run, you will experience burnout and feeling overworked. Work life balance isn’t only about finding the optimal work schedule to adhere to your particular lifestyle needs, but to find ways to make the time you spend working the most productive and effective. By taking short breaks throughout the day, especially when you feel your mind stretching thin, you will allow yourself the time to get energised and ready to take on your responsibilities.
Reaching your ideal work life balance will require thought, patience, and perseverance in the beginning. Once you figure out the best way to achieve this goal, it will be up to you to maintain that balance. You’ll find that once you do, you will be happier and more effective in the workplace and at home.