Starting out in your professional career can be very exciting. It’s very easy to get carried away with your new job in order to make a good impression and forget about making time for yourself. A work-life balance is extremely important for young professionals. So we’ve come up with a guide to help you understand its importance as well as some work life balance tips to help you achieve it.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance is the idea of achieving a healthy equilibrium between your professional and personal life. This means having time and energy left over, whether to spend with loved ones, pursuing hobbies and interests, or just having enough energy to get through your day. Work-life balance is different for everyone, but the key is to figure out what works for you. Some people prefer to work a ton in order to climb the corporate ladder as quickly as possible, while others value a less demanding job with more room for outside interests.
A Healthy Work-Life Balance Improves Productivity
According to a survey of over 1,300 employees by Virgin Pulse, those with a healthy work-life balance were 12% more engaged, had 50% lower absenteeism, and were 28% more likely to stay with the company long term. The same survey found employees with a healthy work-life balance were 9% more productive than their peers. This is likely due to decreased stress levels and improved mental health, which can have a large impact on productivity. Young professionals should be mindful of the time they spend at work, as overworking can lead to burnout. Overtime is another looming challenge that can make work unbearable, as it can increase stress and negatively impact mental health.
Helps Maintain Positive Mental Health
Many professionals experience work-related anxiety, which can lead to a more serious mental illness if left untreated. Working too much is one of the leading causes of work-related anxiety. Young professionals should be especially careful not to overextend themselves to impress their manager in order to get ahead corporately. Self care has never been spoken about more. So, don’t slave away in the office when you know it could have a negative effect on your mental health. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Improves Personal Relationships
When you spend all of your time at work, there’s very little time left over for friends and family. This can disrupt your personal relationships, leading to feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. Young professionals should make an effort to carve out time for their personal relationships, even if it’s just for a quick coffee date with a friend. With instant messaging constantly at our fingertips, it’s very easy to go week or even months without seeing friends and family. But, nothing quite beats a face-to-face catch up. Slowing down and setting boundaries around work can help you avoid taking work home and disrupt your personal relationships.
Work-Life Balance Requires Boundaries
One way to maintain your work-life balance is to set boundaries. You’ll want to draw a clear line between your work and home life, as well as your work and social life. This will help you avoid taking work home, as well as prevent your social or family time from being interrupted by work. Depending on your job, you’ll want to set different boundaries. For example, a doctor may need to be available 24/7 in the event of an emergency, while a marketing manager may be able to ignore work calls and emails after hours.
Work-Life Balance Tips
So now that you know all about work life balance importance, how can you achieve it? We’ve come up with a list of our top work life balance tips to help you out.
Take your lunch break
No, we don’t mean scoffing a Pret salad at your desk. You’ve got a lunch break for a reason. Consider walking somewhere to pick up a meal deal and then taking the time to sit and eat, away from your desk. If you’re an organised meal-prepper, take your packed lunch out and enjoy it al fresco. Whether you only have 30 minutes or you can spare a whole hour, the fresh air and time to digest your food will do you a world of good. How productive can you be with indigestion?
Learn how and when to say no
Society loves yes men. Jim Carrey’s 2008 film, ‘Yes Man’, is a prime example. However, there’s no point agreeing to things you cannot do. Whether it’s because you haven’t got the time or because you really don’t want to, just say no. This applies both in the workplace and when cancelling social plans. Now, there is a right way to let someone down. Don’t be rude. Apologise for whatever it is you cannot do/make and then explain why. This could be because you’re already too busy or because you’ve had a stressful week at work and just want a quiet night-in. Whatever the reason, I’m sure they’ll understand.
Turn off notifications when you’re out of office
If you’ll be out of the office for a few days, be sure to turn off any push notifications or email alerts on your phone. This will prevent you from feeling the need to instantly respond to emails or Slack messages, and will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. If you’re a manager who expects employees to respond to emails while you’re out of the office, you might want to reconsider. Responding to work emails when you’re ‘OOO’ can actually hinder productivity, since employees may feel pressured to finish tasks as quickly as possible.
Work-Life Balance roundup
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to work-life balance, there are some common pieces of advice you should keep in mind. Now that you know what work-life balance is and why it’s important, you can start to implement these tips into your daily routine. Remember that this is about finding what works for you. Once you have sorted out your work-life balance you may want to start to build your career. So check out our guide on how to build a career as a young professional to get started.