Welcome to your MCI Wellbeing Blog for May!
This month we are talking about Work-Life Balance.
Work-Life balance refers to an effective management or striking a balance between the work which is remunerated and the personal or social responsibilities which an individual is expected to perform. Work life can influence organizational productivity and the well-being of the employees in different ways.
Work-life balance involves the minimization of work-related stress, and the establishing of a stable and sustainable way to work while maintaining health and general well-being.
Introducing employment policies that encourage a healthier work-life balance for teams can bring real benefits to businesses and employees.
A good work-life balance can enable staff to feel more in control of their working life and can lead to:- Increased productivity
- Less instances of sickness and absenteeism
- A happier, less stressed workforce
- Staff feeling valued and that their personal and/or family life is important
- Improvements in employee mental health and well-being
- More engaged staff
- Greater employee loyalty, commitment and motivation
- Staff less likely to leave
Who’s happy with their work-life balance?
The best work-life balance in Australia is to be found outside of the major population centres.
A clear majority of professionals in the Australian Capital Territory (68%), Tasmania (62%) and regional areas were the happiest with their mix of working and personal lives, according to the SEEK Learning research. Although Victoria was the exception. Melbourne professionals (63%) were more satisfied with their work-life balance than those in regional Victoria (57%).
As work and life continue to get busier and busier, it is important to start thinking about and planning for what balance means to you. It may not be a matter of dividing your hours in the week equally between work and your personal life, but more about having the flexibility to get things done at work but also have the energy to enjoy life outside of work. There are a number of strategies to help you achieve this, including:
- 1. Accepting that there is no “perfect” work-life balance.
When we think of work-life balance there may be some unrealistic ideas and images that pop to mind. However the perfect schedule doesn’t really exist – some days may be better than others, as long as there is balance in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes you may need to assess what requires the most time and attention based on what is occurring in your life at that time.
- 2. Prioritize your health.
Your health is the most important factor to pay attention to, whether it be physical, mental or emotional health. All areas of your health can impact your work and life, and your ability to meet demands and stay on top of responsibilities. Sometimes you may need to take that sick day, make that doctors appointment, or see a therapist. It is important to recognize when you need to prioritise your health above other things.
3. Know your values.
Spend time thinking about what is truly important to you in life, what do you value the most? Are you spending enough time on these? Is there a way you can schedule more time for the activities and tasks that align with your values? It might be more time with friends and loved ones or pursuing an artistic passion.
- 4. Set boundaries.
Setting healthy boundaries for when work stops, and the fun starts is also important. Set aside time for other activities and stick to them – switch off your phone or even your mind if it is constantly running laps thinking of work problems. Set clear hours for work and keep yourself accountable for adhering to them. Learn to say “no” to requests when you need to.
- 5. Nurture your relationships (the one with yourself included).
Positive relationships and social support in your life can help in building resilience that can allow you to better cope with stress. Making time with the people in your life who are able to do this for you is incredibly important. While work is important, it’s not your entire life.
- 6. Don’t be afraid to unplug.
Rest periods are important to help you recharge your batteries. Schedule time off to indulge in some down time away from work and away from screens. Plan personal time with loved ones, go for a walk in the park, read that book, leave your phone in the other room or take up meditation! Whatever “unplugging” looks like for you.
Three Rules for Better Work-Life Balance
How Oprah Winfrey Practices Work-Life Balance
Oprah Winfrey is a household name and media mogul who prides herself on being able to find a work-life balance. She tries to do this in two ways: by surrounding herself with support and carving time out for herself.
Having worked in the entertainment industry for over 40 years and working hundreds of hours a week as a reporter in her 20s, she was able to learn how to avoid burnout and maintain low stress levels.
One of her secrets is to surround herself with a small circle of people who can support her, and then investing time and effort in those relationships. We are all going to face stressful situations in our lives one way or another, and without the proper support system in place it can quickly lead to burnout and fatigue. If there are people who love and care about you, they can help you find a balance when things get tough. These people can be your friends, family members or colleagues.
Oprah states the importance of: unstructured thinking, creating healthy habits and surrounding yourself with positive people. These low-stress habits will help you create a low-burnout environment where can be more productive and enjoy life more.
Another key to work-life balance for Oprah, lies in carving time out for herself and taking vacations. “Now, when I begin to feel exhausted, I pull back,” says Winfrey. She adds: “When I don’t, I absolutely become stressed, irritable, anxiety-prone and not the person I want to be in the world.”
While taking time out from work and stepping away from responsibility has not always been easy for her, she has finally learned to say: “Okay, from these days to these days, I’m not going to be checking into the office.”
Need assistance as a student at MCI?
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All the best!