Effective Work-Life Balance Strategies

Achieving a healthy work-life balance may seem like an impossibility. The good news is that despite how difficult it may have been for you in the past, it is completely achievable! Today, we’ll cover some effective work-life balance tips to implement to ensure you’re finding equality between both your work life and your personal life. We’ve written about why it’s so important to implement work-life balance, and we’ll dive further into the how. With so many more employees working remotely than ever before, the lines can get blurred between work and personal life, leading to higher levels of burnout and a negative impact on an employee's mental well-being.

Strategies for Achieving Work-Life Balance

  1. Prioritize your time.
  2. Choose a job you enjoy (to some extent!)
  3. Only work during working hours - and track your time.
  4. Make time for your family and personal life.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  6. Prioritize FUN.

“Instead of saying, ‘I don’t have time,’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority’ and see how that feels.” –Courtney Carver

Prioritize Your Time

By far, one of the most important strategies for achieving a healthy work-life balance is going to be prioritization of your time. You may assume that we mean to simply prioritize the work tasks throughout your day that is the most important. However, it’s equally important to prioritize your free time as well as time for family as well! Whether you schedule out your day, week, or month, make it a habit to prioritize a few tasks each day that you need to accomplish and a few things in your personal life that you need to take care of - like appointments, family time, exercise, etc.

Choose a Job You Enjoy

We’re fully aware this is easier said than done. Working at a job you actually enjoy can be an excellent way to achieve a work-life balance. Conversely, it can also be an opportunity to spend more time at work than you do with your family. However, if you feel so burnt out from work that you aren’t even finding time to do the things you enjoy when work time is over - it’s time to consider a change! Work-life balance is so important to a happy and fulfilling life. At the very least, it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities and see where you can create some healthy boundaries. It’s important to feel connected to your job, even if you’re navigating a remote career and don’t get the same amount of face-to-face time you would get if you were in the office on a regular basis. If you’re looking for help with that, check out these tips for connecting remote employees!

Track Your Time to Establish a Good Work-Life Balance

Especially with the recent shift to remote work, it can be exceedingly more difficult to set hours specifically for work and personal time and differentiate between the two. This is why it’s so important to separate the two if you're looking to establish a healthy work-life balance. When you’re on work time, that needs to be what you dedicate your time to. If you’re in the office, that means putting your cell phone away in your desk, closing social media tabs on your internet browser, and focusing on your job while you’re there. Not only will this make you more productive, but you’ll also feel much more accomplished and able to “leave work at work” and not worry about what did or didn’t get done for the day after you’ve spent those hours wisely. It's important to separate work time from personal and avoid mixing the two of them to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

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How To Leave Work at Work when Work is at Home

If you are working from home, this may prove to be a little more difficult, but certainly not impossible. Set up a designated workspace: this may be a home office, desk, or even your kitchen table. Don’t sit on your couch and turn on the TV when it’s time to “work,” or you will never be able to focus like you need to. Establish working hours, whatever your schedule requires or allows, and work as if you are at work. This will help you to establish a good work-life balance. Get dressed and out of your pajamas, and treat your workspace as if you were in the office. Again, this will increase your productivity and ensure you don’t feel like you are always torn between working hours and personal hours.

Flexible work schedules are an incredible thing when it works for both employer and employees. So, when it's time to clock out for the day, let that be the end of your work hours. Don't spend personal time checking work emails, and leave your work environment for the day. This will help you make sure your time and energy are spent focused on work at the appropriate time, and you separate your personal and professional life. The lines getting crossed can increase stress levels, and that's not beneficial to anyone!

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Don’t Neglect Yourself, or Your Family

It’s extremely important to schedule appointments, self-care time, regular exercise, date nights, time with your family, etc., as often as you can. It seems like the easiest things to let slip in a busy season of life are things that don’t necessarily feel like priorities but should still be considered as such when it comes to establishing a healthy work-life balance. Your physical health should always be a priority. Considering that time with family and maintaining a regular level of physical activity are both important to your overall mental, physical, and emotional health - it’s safe to say that all of these have a big impact on how you feel on a regular basis! This can help you to strike a positive work-life balance and be an overall happier and healthier person.

Consider this statement from Course Correction Coaching: “A less stressed, mentally and physically healthy employee … is more likely to be motivated to work harder. And that increased motivation means that you’re going to perform at a higher level and be more engaged.” It’s no secret: finding a positive work-life balance may take some practice, but it is of the utmost importance to be more productive and engaged while working.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

This is another one of those strategies that are a lot easier said than done. Asking for help at work can be daunting, and frankly, embarrassing. Most people are reluctant to reach out for help at work for fear of looking stupid, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Most of the time, your fear is unnecessary, and there are people who are willing to help. You can reach out to a coworker, even if you are working remotely. Utilize email or internal communication channels to seek advice or partnership for a task that needs to be completed.

If you’re in need of more clarification on the details of a project, reach out to a supervisor or manager. It doesn’t need to be uncomfortable when you’re an employee asking for help, or similarly, a leader asking for feedback at work. They both require a little bit of vulnerability but ultimately bring about more understanding and benefits than you think!

Prioritize FUN to Achieve Work-Life Balance

We’re just going to say it: having fun is important to doing your job and doing it well! Happy employees are less likely to skip work, more productive while they’re at work, and it creates an overall more positive culture at work. When you feel like you have a positive work-life balance, you’re likely to be happier and more productive while you’re at work since you’re not overwhelmed and stressed by your schedule. Prioritizing fun means making it a point to make work fun (see tip #2), but it also means you have to make room for fun when you’re not at work. You’ll find that this leads to an overall happier and more fulfilled life, not just a strategy for achieving a healthy work-life balance.

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Balance is Key

Of course, it isn’t always easy to achieve a work-life balance. It can take some strategizing and some trial-and-error before you can feel that you have a healthy balance that works for you. It will look different for everyone, depending on your social life, family, activities you enjoy, and what is most important to you both in and out of work. The important thing is striking the best work-life balance that you feel comfortable with, and that works for you and your employer!

Conversely, as an employer, having leaders who understand, support, and model work-life balance can improve retention rates and overall job satisfaction. Even more significantly, leaders who strive for flexibility and work-life balance can improve productivity and help your company achieve higher goals! If you need help establishing the balance in your workplace, we’d love to help. IRI Consultants has the tools to help your organization establish a healthy work-life balance and implement effective strategies today!

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About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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