Leaving your work at the office is easier said than done. Your employer or coworkers can contact you for work information at any second of the day via email, text, or phone call. This is especially true if you work from home, which is more common than ever. In fact, a survey from 2023 found that 35% of people who held jobs that could be done remotely worked from home all the time in 2023, versus 7% before the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Did People Start Talking About Work-Life Balance?
Within the last 10 years, there have been significant changes to work culture, and that is especially true within the last two to three years. The idea of a work-life balance is a novel concept, though. Psychologists have been conducting research on this topic for decades in order to figure out what makes people happy. Through their research, experts hope to better understand which environments enhance overall mental health.
Ideally, you don’t want to live an unproductive life, but you also don’t want to burn out at work. How do you then find fulfillment at home and at your job? In the present day, work overload is more widespread, and to be honest, worse than ever before. This is because you are faced with 24/7 connectivity, which is why establishing boundaries and expectations is paramount. Both employees and employers have not taken a step back in this regard. People have changed the way they work and live life, so the key is to figure out how to adapt to this change and balance your work and personal life. Work is everywhere, but the following tips may help balance work with home life.
Make Time For Yourself During The Work Day
Incorporating some time for yourself on a daily basis, even for 10-15 minutes, can make all the difference. This is a little easier to do if you work from home, but it’s also possible if you hold a regular office job. During that free time, you can take a walk around the block on your lunch break, meditate for 10 minutes, or do any activity that makes you happy. Most employers won’t mind if you take a short break, so long as you get your work done.
Use Technology In Smarter Ways
Sure, willpower plays a role in checking your many devices, but you also have to make your technology work for you. The brain gets a little boost of excitement with every notification, though, even if it is a text from a friend, an invite from your boss, or a marketing email. You need spaces where you don’t, and physically cannot, check your phone, tablet, or laptop. Enforce this norm by not having phones during your meals, during family time, or during meetings. Limit your social media activity to scheduled times during the day, even if that means putting a time limit on the amount of time you get to view certain apps. Technology is not bad, but your habits are.
Try To Find A Job That Aligns With Your Values
Although you need to draw a line in the sand between your nine-to-five and your personal life, establishing your work-life balance is also about aligning your work with your personal values. One study from 2022 found that better job quality, including security, salary, and satisfaction, led to better physical and mental health. Another study found that doing a job that aligned with personal values was associated with increased well-being the following day. When you engage in a job that aligns with personal values, you enhance your career satisfaction. That alignment also leads to a better sense of purpose, motivation, and overall fulfillment.
Everything in life requires boundaries, from relationships with friends and family to your work and home life. Enforcing boundaries that your employer and employees respect is a hurdle not everyone jumps over. If you work remotely and no longer have a commute, you have to find a routine to fill that time. For example, take your dog for a walk before you start work, or close your computer at a certain time when you have to feed cats or get children from school or after school activities. Schedule a workout once you clock out to separate the close of your work day and the rest of your evening.
Don’t Mistake A Flexible Work Schedule For Full-Time Availability
Working for a company that allows flexible hours does not mean that you have to make yourself available 24/7. If you leave the office at 3 p.m. for an appointment, maybe your employer lets you make up the hours you missed from home. That doesn’t mean that you have to work all night or do more work than what is required of you. Establish what your colleagues and boss expect from you! Don’t reply to an email at midnight, either. Developing the expectation that you are always available can make it hard to separate your work life from personal life. Plus, it gives people the wrong idea about your availability.