Work-life balance is the equilibrium between professional work and personal life - and is one of the prime buzzwords of our time. The aim is to strike a balance between one's personal life with the demands of the working world - often easier said than done.
"the ideal balance
Even though we all strive for a healthy balance between work and leisure, sometimes it's hard to set boundaries and switch off mentally. We’ll explain here why this balance is so important, what employers should bear in mind and how employees can work to achieve a good work-life balance.
The importance and relevance of work-life balance
The ideal work-life balance is different from person to person. There is no one-size fits-all formula that you can follow to find your own happiness between work and personal life.
Rather, the ideal balance depends on individual needs and desires. For example, some prioritize a job that fulfills them and reflects their values, while others desire a pleasant working environment without letting themselves be defined by their job. Either way, work-life balance is all about achieving personal satisfaction so as to maintain one's physical and mental health. After all, an imbalance often leads to lower productivity, emotional instability and increased stress, all of which carried with it both psychological and psychosomatic risks.
What employers can do to improve work-life balance
Employers set the basic framework for a healthy work-life balance by taking steps to support employees' well-being, for instance, by creating a pleasant work environment, allowing for flexible working hours and locations and promoting flat hierarchies. But respectful interaction and compliance with agreed working hours (i.e., no e-mails or work-related responsibilities after hours, on weekends or on vacation) are also crucial to a healthy work-life balance. Various studies have long confirmed this: Employees provided a healthy work-life balance work more efficiently, productively and with greater motivation. Employers, in turn, reap the benefits of their efforts. After all, happy employees are less likely to be dissatisfied, become overstressed or get sick, which then leads to lower staff turnover, among other things.
How employees can prioritize their work-lifebalance
While it is the responsibility of employers to set the framework for a healthy work-life balance, it is also up to the employee to be aware of their own values, stand up for them and communicate this, and set clear boundaries. Our expectations and needs are so personal and different that we must first become aware of them before entering into a dialogue in the event of differences. It is also important to manage our time realistically and to know what we can really accomplish in a day. Only in this way can unrealistic expectations be avoided and times properly allocated. The best way to structure your working life is with the help of a schedule defined at the beginning of the day: What takes priority today? What needs to be done by the end of the day? And what time do I schedule my lunch break? Because by taking breaks and feeling satiated and quenched, these things induce (if only subconsciously) a beneficial effect on one's well-being. So make sure you plan your day realistically, take enough time-outs and switch off your laptop on time.
For a balanced workday, it is also vital to offset the many hours spent at the office with exercise. Schedule regular exercise sessions after work (or before work if you’re a morning lark). And, equally important, take regular vacations and fill them with activities that are good for your mind and body.