As working from home continues as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to pay attention to work life balance. Employees can take some measures to look after themselves, but employers must take responsibility for their workforce too.
Let’s look at why work life balance is such a big issue right now.
The importance of work life balance
Even before the working from home era, a report by the Mental Health Foundation in 2018 revealed that 74% of people in the UK had felt overwhelmed by stress at some point. Thanks to Covid-19 UK workers have seen their collective stress levels increase significantly over the past year.
It is important to pay attention to this as stress has a very serious physical and psychological effect on our health. Even from a purely business perspective, we know that stress negatively affects productivity by reducing an employee’s efficiency and effectiveness.
It’s clear that stress must be minimised in the workplace wherever possible. But how do we achieve this when working from home?
A healthy work and life balance
It is easy to get overwhelmed if we don’t set out a clear plan for maintaining a healthy work and life balance. To help avoid this, here are some excellent tips for employees and employers to maximise the benefits of work life balance.
Prioritise daily and weekly tasks
Identifying the most important tasks to be completed will help free up time to maintain a healthy work and life balance. By working through a priority list, the most important jobs can be completed while we are full of energy and ready to take the day on. It is also important to be realistic about what you can personally achieve throughout a day or a week so you don’t take on more than you can reasonably handle.
Remember that priority lists for daily and weekly tasks should include family time and personal time for you to rest and recharge your batteries. Your health should always be number one on the list.
Set and maintain clear boundaries
Creating priority lists and then adhering to them requires the setting of clear boundaries. If a project cannot be completed within the requested time frame just by working your normal hours, then it is simply not possible.
Thankfully, many modern businesses are aware of this issue and are prepared to adjust their schedules accordingly, but some employers may not be aware of the pressure they are putting on their employees.
Such boundaries also apply to home life, so that work doesn’t intrude on personal time.
Recognise stress triggers
Stress can creep up on us and seemingly have us in its grasp all of a sudden. But the truth is that stress builds up slowly in increments. There will be plenty of red flags along the way so it is important to be able to recognise when they happen, or preferably troubleshoot them ahead of time.
Two of the main causes of work-related stress include:
- Lack of support
Unmanageable workloads cause stress and exhaustion, so compare what is expected of you with how able you are to meet those expectations while working your contracted hours.
Overworking issues are often caused by a lack of support, either from workmates or at management level. The onus should be on the employer to ensure a support network is in place, but the employee must also communicate their needs. A calm conversation about workloads and support before assigning or accepting tasks will help find solutions and reduce stress.
How employers can improve work life balance
During this Covid-19 WFH era, it is vital that employers make it a priority to look after their staff so they can maintain a good work life balance. Many employees will soon be returning to their workplaces, where the healthy work life balance must continue to be maintained.
The office space for rent at Chineham Park via Frasers Property is an excellent example of a collaborative workspace where employers can take advantage of the facilities and events to help their staff maintain a healthy work and life balance. As a modern knowledge hub for SMEs, Chineham Park has a variety of landscaped outdoor spaces to enjoy, while the likes of food events let everybody socialise and relax together.