We know it's important: The age-old need to slow down, put your feet up and relax, worries filed neatly away at your desk along with the laptop.
But in our technology-fuelled world, the days of the cookie-cutter 9 to 5 are steadily becoming the stuff of history. And while we might be leaping for joy at the opportunity to kick off our shoes and enjoy a work day from home, we're also starting to suffer the consequences that come with bringing the workday into our days off. Checking your work emails at dinner, fighting the urge to peek at the team Basecamp while you're on holiday. We all do it once and a while, but if you leave it unchecked, your team might be up against some serious burnout: Reduced productivity, low morale, and high turnover.
But all isn't lost! There are ways to tackle the encroaching threat to work-life-balance - and we're going to take you through our top 10 to help you get the most out of 2018, both at work and at home.
If you’re available 24/7 to your boss’s demands, and you’re the kind of person who as a result gets overloaded, try harnessing the power of no. It doesn’t need to be a sign of weakness and in some cases, your manager will respect you more for declining a task and protecting your own time. In fact, the Mental Health Foundation recommends that when work demands are too high, we must speak up otherwise you feel overwhelmed and productivity will decline.
Most of us who work full time are guilty of checking emails in the dead of the night when we are particularly busy, reading documents at a weekend which could quite frankly wait until Monday and check the server for new file uploads which will affect our workload. It is this kind of checking and never switching off which will fuel an imbalance between your personal life and your work life. We recommend you go cold turkey, whether you’re working at a job in Liverpool or London there is no excuse… switch the emails off for one evening and see how much more relaxed you feel as a result.
The rise of technology has altered the way we manage our professional and personal lives forever, often to the detriment of the much-needed holiday, weekend, or restorative evening binging on the Great British Bake off and the umpteenth Star Wars movie. One of the best things a company can do to support work-life-balance is letting their employees enjoy it. There should be no holiday phone calls, or after hour reminders.
On the flip side, as an employee, you should resist the urge to leave your notifications on while on holiday and commit your weekends to personal time! This one only really works well if everyone makes a concerted effort to follow the rule so why not instigate it where you’re working? Your colleagues will thank you for it in the long run.
We have all had days when it doesn’t feel appropriate or possible to leave the office for a lunch hour but allowing yourself to get out of the workplace for an hour, or even less if needs be can make your afternoon run much smoother. The fresh air can help your brain oxygenate and get the blood pumping while a change of scenery can help you realise how you can tackle the to-do list in return. Make time to take a lunch break, after all, you are not being paid for the hour that you are working extra so make it your goal to escape for a minimum of 15 minutes a day throughout January, and this pattern can then continue throughout 2018.
We are more productive and happier in our lives when we have a strong support system around us. So reach out to your network. Vent to a friend or a spouse if you need to. Ask a co-worker to help you pick up some slack on an overdue project. Learn to accept that sometimes the demands upon you are greater than what you can shoulder, and humbly ask those around for you help. But always make sure that when the tide turns you’re willing to pick up the slack for those in your support system when they need it, too.