These days, you hear a lot of people discussing work-life balance. Of all the cultural phenomena that were started by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest and longest-lasting is a shift in how the American public views their work.
Work-life balance is a broad umbrella term that refers to the level to which an employee can engage with their personal and community commitments and still fulfill the duties required by their job.
Work-Life Balance Statistics
Statistics about work-life balance from 2021 show there is much to be desired in employees’ work-life balance. For example, 26% of employees reported they take work home with them, eating into their personal commitments.
Another shocking statistic found that employees who work 55 hours a week or more are 1.3 times more likely to have a stroke than someone who works a standard 40-hour workweek.
Though a company’s culture has a big impact on the work-life balance of employees, individual employees do have a role in managing their work-life balance.
Ways to Create a Better Work-Life Balance
Overwork, exhaustion, and burnout all have palpable negative effects on health, both mental and physical.
Individual employees can take steps to control their work-life balance and free themselves from over-committing to work-related tasks.
Some great steps employees can take to work toward a better work-life balance are:
- Put physical distance between work and personal time. If you commute to a physical office, this is easy to do. If you work from home, this can be tough. You shouldn’t make it a habit of working from your bed or couch. Instead, carve out a separate space, whether it’s a room or corner with a desk, where only work happens.
- Disconnect. Technology has made it too easy for employees to respond to emails or calls after hours or on days off. It’s recommended to put firm boundaries on when you will be available and stick to them.
- Take your vacation time. Many employees choose not to utilize allotted PTO because they fear they will miss too much by taking a break. In truth, time off is integral to a healthy work-life balance. Vacation time should be used as often as is feasible.
- Set boundaries. Let colleagues and managers know what you are comfortable with as far as responsibilities and communication hours. Good communication is key to feeling seen and heard in your role.
Work-life balance is hard to achieve, but it is a priority in ensuring your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Plus, well-rested and happy employees perform better, so prioritizing your work-life balance could also lead to more professional success.