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Striving for a better balance?

Friday, 25 January 2019

Whatever happened to a stable Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 working week? So many of us work ever longer and harder hours to get our jobs done. But is it strictly necessary? It certainly isn’t healthy and doesn’t make for the good work/life balance that we all crave.

In theory, typical office hours are from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. In practice, this can vary quite considerably and shift work is of course common in the manufacturing and service industries. Most professionals and office workers will have a required or expected start time anywhere from 7am through to 10am and are contracted to work an 8-hour day. However, many employees work considerably longer hours and many office workers will be at their desks by 8.30 am. Executives and salaried professionals often work even longer hours in order to get the job done and technology means that many of us carry on working remotely once we get home and are always on call – we find it hard to put down our mobile devices and stop checking our emails! And don’t even mention lunch breaks!

However, we are becoming increasingly aware of the issue of work-life balance and many companies are implementing policies intended to reduce the pressure of work on private life with a shift in thinking that an improved work/life balance can help all parties – the organisation, the individual and the customer. Hooray to that.

As the first month of the new year comes to a close, maybe it’s time to reflect on how you could achieve a better work-life balance this year?

Set priorities
As mere humans, we can’t do it all – either at work or at home. As the new really gets going, pledge to do a better job of setting priorities for yourself so that you’re spending your time meaningfully and don’t end up feeling bad about the things you ultimately have to say ‘no’ to.

Set aside some work-free hours each week
In today’s technologically driven world, many of us are pressured to always be ‘on’ when it comes to work. While there’s nothing wrong with checking job-related emails after hours or sometimes logging on during weekends to keep up with deadlines, if you’re looking for balance, there comes a point at which you have to force yourself not to work. This year, help yourself by establishing preset ‘non-work hours’ during the week to spend time with family or friends or concentrate on your hobbies.

Plan for the busy times
Many of us have times in the week, month or year when our jobs are extra busy, when we know we have deadlines to meet. Help yourself by planning for those times so that you don’t get totally stressed out when they arrive – make sure that you keep the rest of your commitments to a minimum during these periods and then take your down time when they’re over.

Work from home sometimes
We realise that not all jobs are suitable to home working, however many companies are becoming more receptive to employees spending more time working from home or in other remote office spaces nearer to their homes, thus cutting down on commute time and stress and making people more productive during working hours.

Use all of your holiday time
Holidays are important for our sanity and give us all a chance to recharge and therefore be more productive when we get back to work. So make sure that you plan and take all of your allocated time. If you can’t afford to fly to exotic places, just taking time off to chill out at home and catch up with friends and family and sleep will do you the power of good.

If you’re looking for a new challenge to help you find your own better work/life balance, then check out our current vacancies and start applying today.