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The advancement of technology has resulted in many benefits, including the ability to easily connect with others and work from home. These changes are causing the line between work and home life to blur, which is bringing the concept of work-life balance to the fore. Work-life balance is now regarded as one of the biggest challenges in today’s working world, with LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends Report revealing that work-life balance is the number one thing job seekers look for in a new career. With that in mind, we explore what work-life balance is, why it matters, and the steps needed to achieve it.

Work-Life Balance: What Is It?

The term work-life balance dates back to the UK’s Women’s Liberation Movement that took place in the 1980s – its significance has only grown since then. Qualtrics defines work-life balance as the ‘minimisation of work-related stress, and the establishing of a stable and sustainable way to work while maintaining health and general well-being.”

A good work-life balance boasts several benefits for both employees and businesses, as it reduces stress, lowers the risk of burnout, and gives workers the positive mindset needed to be productive. Additionally, a good work-life balance helps improve employee mindfulness, which results in fewer mistakes.

Related reading: Important Reasons to Focus on Employee Wellness in the Workplace: A Channel Reach Perspective

Factors Impacting Work-Life Balance

The notion of work-life balance is becoming increasingly complicated as the world of work evolves, with the following factors having a major effect:

  • The Entry of Millennials and Gen Zers into the Workforce

Workplace wellness is becoming more sought after as Millennials and Gen Zers enter the workforce. These younger generations place more importance on their mental health, leading to what has been dubbed as the ‘Great Reshuffle’ – a phenomenon where workers resign to look for more fulfilling careers with increased flexibility.

work life balanceSource: LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2022

  • The Remote Work Boom

As we know, technology is changing the way we live as remote and hybrid work models have become the norm post-pandemic, with 77% of remote workers saying that they are more productive when working from home. Although remote work is often framed as more flexible, it can increase employee stress as many feel the pressure to be constantly available. According to a study done by Findstack, 22% of remote workers cite the ability to unplug after work as their biggest challenge.

  • The Increased Focus on Purpose and Meaning

Linked to the previous points is the drive for a purposeful job. A 2021 Gartner survey found that 56% of employees reported that the pandemic made them rethink their careers and inspired a desire to make a positive impact on the world through their jobs.

Further reading: The Power of Inclusivity and Diversity in Marketing

How Can You Make Work-Life Balance Work for You?

  1. Take Breaks

There is not always an opportunity to take long breaks or a vacation but taking a series of microbreaks can have a tremendous positive impact. A microbreak is described by BBC as “any brief activity that helps to break up the monotony of physically or mentally draining tasks.”

A microbreak could take the shape of making a cup of tea, sharing a joke with your co-worker, or looking out the window. Even though it seems simple, microbreaks have been proven to reduce stress, improve concentration and boost job satisfaction.

  1. Plan Ahead

Making plans for after work is a great way to give yourself a reason for logging off on time. It can be tempting to finish a task after work hours, but by making plans you are holding yourself accountable and giving yourself the boundaries needed to complete your work on time.

Whether it is taking your dog for a walk, meeting up with friends, or going to the gym, doing something after work is also an effective way to take your mind off the workday and give yourself a much-needed mental and physical break.

  1. Disconnect

As mentioned, advancements in technology have made it easy to be constantly connected. Our best advice is to disconnect from work devices outside of working hours. Doing this will help you withstand the temptation of checking emails or work messages.

This is also a good tactic to use to set healthy work boundaries. If your co-workers know that you will only answer them or see to tasks during working hours, it will make them less likely to try and contact you during your personal time.

Further reading: Top Tips for Remote Working: From an Employee Perspective

What About Work-Life Integration?

The idea of work-life integration has boomed along with remote work. It centres around synchronising all aspects of one’s life. This concept puts less focus on the distinction between personal and work time and rather looks at the output. It could mean running a personal errand but answering work emails while doing so. Work-life integration can be beneficial, however, it can also result in burnout, so it is important to decide which strategy is best for you – work-life balance or work-life integration.

Interesting Facts on Work-Life Balance

📍 Italy has the best work-life balance in the world according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

🤹‍♀️ Workers spend 40% of their days’ multitasking.

🕯 81% of employees feel at risk of burnout in 2022.

🖥 79% of employees believe flexibility promotes a better work-life balance.

👩‍💻 Only 45% of female workers rated their ability to switch off from work as good.

Time to Get to Work

With the world of work changing at a rapid pace, it is clear to see that work-life balance is a trend that is not going anywhere. How do you balance your career with your home life? Connect with us on social media to share your thoughts and advice.

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