What is Work-Life Balance? Work-Life balance can be defined as dividing your time between work and family or leisure activities. It is not realistic or rewarding trying to arrange your time so that you spend an equal number of hours working as you do relaxing and so work-life balance does not necessarily mean an equal balance.
An individuals’ work-life balance will vary from day-to-day, as presumably, an individual has priorities that vary on a daily basis and so work-life balance will change accordingly. The correct balance for you today may be different from tomorrow’s’ balance. It is also important to recognise that work-life balance will vary from person to person as we all have different priorities and so there is no standard framework or one-size fits all for work-life balance.
There are numerous external factors that have improved work-life balance in recent years such as advances in technology and family-friendly policies brought in by the government. Technology improvements have enabled people to access more information, complete tasks and to communicate with each other, and in particular with people all over the world; all of which has increased flexibility in the workplace allowing people to utilise technological advances to vary their work load to improve work-life balance.
The benefits of work life balance
Individuals who do not take time away from their jobs suffer from ‘burnout’ and stress. People who do not relax and enjoy personal time, away from their job, generally have poorer performance levels and their ability to complete tasks and carry out their role effectively significantly decreases. Management should make a conscious effort to create a sustainable workforce by always encouraging employees to take time away from work, and when they leave work insist that they switch their phone off and do not respond to any work-related emails/telephone calls.
One of the main benefits of work-life balance is the creation of a sustainable workforce. Organisational psychologist Ellen Kossek describes a sustainable workforce as “one whose employees have the positive energy, capabilities, vitality, and resources to meet current and future organisational performance demands while sustaining their economic and mental health on and off the job.”
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