Is Work-Life Balance A Necessity Or A Luxury?
As a working professional, the majority of your waking hours are spent in your workplace. Whether you are a COO of an organisation or an employee, we can all agree that we need a break once in a while. But when we talk about balancing your job with the one life you got, things get a little more complex than merely catching a breather.
Taking time for yourself is seen as slacking off, thanks to the glorification of hustle culture. But more people need to understand that while your job gives meaning to your day, it does not define your life. Lately, the line between personal and professional life seems to be blurred in most workspaces. Current professionals don't just come to work; they take work with them to their homes, which has some severe consequences.
Juggling too frequently between your work and daily tasks can lead to burnout. It can also result in irritability, anxiety, stress, and mental and physical exhaustion. Moodwise, an improper balance of work and life can result in developing feelings of disengagement and discontent.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not a luxury but an absolute imperative for any organisation.
Causes of poor work-life balance
According to a study by Arcadis, an Amsterdam-based consultancy, India ranks pretty low in terms of work-life balance. States like New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai took a massive dip, with Mumbai and Delhi ranking as low as 86 and 87, respectively, in terms of work-life balance.
Clearly, there are gaps in the functioning of most workplaces that need to be filled. More leaders need to acknowledge these gaps and create strategies to create conditions where people can balance their daily activities with their work. Employees who have work-life balance grow themselves and the organisation as a whole.
To get to the root of this problem, let us understand exactly what keeps us from maintaining this balance.
- You are working too much: As much as a job provides a sense of stability and control, overdoing it can do more harm than good. You need to understand that your job is a part of your life, not your entire life. Ensure that your working hours are manageable. Partake in things that allow you to unwind so that you feel energised and content when you return to your work. After you go home, you can follow your passion, build on hobbies or just indulge in mindful activities to alleviate the stress of the entire week.
- You are missing out on sleep:A good night’s sleep is underrated. Working late hours continuously is known to cause sleep disturbances and eventually harm your body. Sleep is directly related to your body’s natural rhythm, mood and mental health. That being the case, getting enough sleep is necessary to achieve optimum productivity at your workplace. Make sure you sleep for at least 7 hours daily so that you can maximise your performance at your workplace and feel energetic throughout the day.
- You are neglecting your physical health: If you spend most of your time sitting in front of a laptop screen, you are seriously jeopardising your health. Exercising regularly can help curb this. If you make your physical health your priority, you will see a drastic change in your overall well-being. You will be more mindful and energetic throughout the day, and spending hours in the workplace will seem like a breeze.
- You don't take fun seriously: Neglecting your leisure time is something the hustle culture has instilled in us. However, you should not feel guilty about taking out time to enjoy the fruits of life. Make sure your 9 to 5 does not impede your 5 to 9. Catching up with your friends and spending time with your family after a long week of work makes us feel refreshed and reminds us that there is more to life than work.
- You are spending time with the wrong people: Adulting can get rigid, especially when you realise that you can not please everyone. You need to understand the people who are helping you grow personally and professionally and those who are draining you. The right people will give you honest advice and understand your struggles. Choosing the right people who empower you will help you excel not just at your workplace but at an emotional level too.
- You don't have hobbies: As a working professional, it is understandable not to be able to make time to do the things you love. But, taking some time weekly to indulge in some form of hobby can take you a long way emotionally and work-wise. Pursuing hobbies makes us realise there is more to life than our jobs. Further, they provide a mental stretch and expand your creative horizons, directly augmenting your job performance and creating a win-win situation for you. Additionally, indulging in hobbies can help in reducing stress and promote a sense of satisfaction.
- You don’t give yourself a breather: While some employers might think that working relentlessly is a good idea, the truth is far from that. If you are fostering habits such as checking your mail a hundred times a day and putting things off until the deadline, then you are seriously hampering your balance. Be more mindful about investing your time. Use productivity tools to time your work so you can take out leisure time and be guilt-free about it.
Lastly, employers and organisations should take concrete steps to combat workplace stress and help employees achieve a balanced life. Incorporating activities such as yoga days, motivation sessions, games, and fitness challenges can help you improve employee engagement and satisfaction. As more people understand the importance of wellness at work, we are sure to witness more steps towards achieving an excellent work-life balance. Such steps will also help companies maximise their own potential because a healthier workforce ensures a better approach to work.