Research shows that finding a good work-life balance is not only worthwhile, but it’s good for your health and wellness too.1 People who claim to have a healthy work-life balance are generally more satisfied with their life and report better physical and mental health.2 On the flip side, those who work long hours and do not take time out for their interests report higher anxiety levels, irritability, and even depression.3
Things to consider
Balancing work and life is more challenging than ever. Perhaps you’re working from home full time or in a hybrid role without the benefit of a fully-equipped home office that includes a suitable desk and ergonomic chair? Do you have the added responsibility of caring for children or elderly or disabled relatives?
Here are a few tips to help you find a work-life balance.
Create a workspace
While it may be tempting to stay in your pyjamas and work from your bed – try to avoid doing so. If you don’t have a study with a desk, create a workspace for yourself at the dining room table or by using a bench elsewhere in the house. This will help you separate from everything else, making it easier to switch off at the end of your workday.
Make arrangements with your manager
Depending on your flexible working arrangements, try working around other commitments and needs. Speak to your manager or HR department about the specific challenges you face and work out a compromise that will allow you to remain professionally effective while meeting your other commitments.
It’s also important to set and stick to a consistent schedule that clearly defines when the working day begins and ends.
Returning to work
Perhaps you’re back at the office full time or have transitioned to a hybrid model. If you’re missing the time not having to commute to and from work, why not use the commute by bus or train to review emails, read a book or practise mindfulness. Or, if you drive to the office, use this time to listen to a podcast.
After working from home for an extended period, it’s understandable that adapting to your employer’s return-to-work policy may be challenging. Considering the ongoing health risks, companies that remain flexible and continue to adjust their policy will see the most success in this regard.
It’s normal to wrap things up at work as quickly as possible so you can attend to other life-related matters. It’s not always easy to stop when working from home, especially without the movement of colleagues getting up to go to the kitchen or heading out for lunch.
That’s why it’s important to schedule a lunch break. Firstly, it will ensure you eat properly, and secondly, it will provide you with the energy you need for the rest of the day.
This article was reviewed by Maximo A. Schiavone, MD, Medical Advisor, TH&N – Integrated Health Team, Cigna.
- Cambridge Dictionary. Work-life balance. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/work-life-balance. Accessed 7 December 2021.
- Haar J, Russo M, Sune A, Ollier-Malaterre A. Outcomes of Work-Life Balance on Job Satisfaction, Life Satisfaction and Mental Health: A Study across Seven Cultures. Journal of Vocational Behavior 85(3):361-373. September 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2014.08.010. Accessed December 7, 2021.
- Mental Health Foundation. Work-life balance. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/w/work-life-balance. Accessed 7 December 2021.