66% of full-time employees don’t believe in work-life balance because they’re often asked to work more than eight hours per day, skip breaks, and clock in over weekends and holidays. This can often lead to high employee turnover, poor performance, and decreased levels of well-being, which is why learning how to find work-life balance is so important!
Check out these 20 effective tips for employees and employers who want to restore their faith in achieving this necessary balance.
What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance is the ability to maintain healthy boundaries between your professional and personal life. This includes limiting overtime hours, learning better time management skills, and having strict boundaries for when your workday begins and ends.
Why work-life balance is important
Work-life balance is important because it is directly related to health and wellbeing. A well-curated daily schedule of work and play can help increase productivity and performance while also decreasing stress and burnout at the same time.
How do you find work-life balance?
Learning how to maintain work-life balance is all about observing your habits and finding new ones. Here are the steps to accomplish exactly that:
- Take stock of what is and isn't working. Keep a time journal for one full week. Write down what time you clock in for work, what you do every hour, and when you clock out. Tally up the hours you put into your job that day. Then see how many hours you used for recreation afterward.
- Come up with a game plan. Choose one major pain point from your time journal to focus on. For example, you may find that you often leave the office or clock out of your virtual workspace well after everyone else does. Next, figure out what time you usually leave, then aim to leave 30 minutes earlier the following day, regardless of whether or not you feel done with work. Repeat this process until you consistently leave the office around the same time as your coworkers — or at 5:00 pm, whichever comes first.
- Experiment with time budgeting. Proactively choose how you spend your time at work so you can get more done in fewer hours simply by creating a half-hour or hourly schedule every day. Writing it all down helps you see what is or is not realistic in a given time period. Just be honest with yourself about how long it takes you to do certain tasks, then add 10 to 15 minutes worth of wiggle room. And keep in mind that your energy levels may deplete towards the end of the week, so plan accordingly.
- Perfect your system. Once you know how you spend your time, you’ve come up with a game plan, and you’re using time budgeting to make it all happen, all that’s left to do is monitor your progress. This step is really important because work-life balance is an ever-evolving practice. Your responsibilities in and outside of your job will change over time, as will your priorities. Explore different options to find what works best for you.
- Keep it going long-term. Commit to a monthly work-life balance check-in. Spend five to 30 minutes going over your system and looking for ways to improve it. Find new ways to reduce or eliminate unnecessary tasks and free up even more time. And consider having a work-life balance accountability buddy to remind you that there’s more to life than spreadsheets and meetings.
Work-life balance tips for employees
Ever wondered why you’re so stressed at work and what you can do about it? Here are some practical ways to be productive without going overboard.
- Use all available PTO and vacation days.
- Take a ten-minute break once per hour.
- Utilize your lunch hour for rest and relaxation, not emails and phone calls.
- Choose a time to power down work-related electronics every day — then stick to it!
- Incorporate light exercise into your routine with quick walks or desk stretches.
- Auto-schedule your emails to send during business hours to subtly establish your availability with coworkers.
- Bring personal decor items such as photos and candles into your office space to lighten the mood.
- Time your tasks and see if you can beat your own high score while maintaining a high level of quality.
- Ask for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid to reassign tasks or partner up on a big project.
- Keep a schedule journal and make note of anything that threw off your day so you can prevent it in the future. Look at tomorrow’s schedule and see if you anticipate the same or similar obstacles, then plan around it.
Work-life balance tips for employers
- Actively work to create a workplace culture that promotes health and wellbeing over bottom lines.
- Let your employees choose their working hours (within reason).
- Define what is and is not an emergency so employees know what is expected of them.
- Use an enterprise project management solution to assign priorities and timelines to individual tasks.
- Outsource busywork to free up staff schedules.
- Give employees the option to work from home at least one day a week. Or, if your team is entirely virtual, give them the option to clock out two or three hours early on Fridays.
- Eliminate strict lunchtimes and let people eat when they want to.
- Host fun social events such as holiday parties, happy hours, and birthday celebrations.
- Try team building activities that help employees get to know each other on a more personal level.
- Offer high-value perks such as onsite childcare, pet-friendly policies, and outdoor meeting spaces for warmer seasons.
Now you know how to find work-life balance
As you can see, clear communication and thorough planning are essential for both employees and employers who want to support a healthy work-life balance. This is why we highly recommend trying a free trial of Wrike's remote project management tools to create streamlined project timelines, accurate task durations, and productive scheduling that can help your team get more done in less time.