The world of the workplace is changing. This year has seen a monumental shift in where, how and why we work the way we do. And, as increasing pressures and demands at work can be one of the biggest worries to the mental health of people nationwide, this is becoming even more of a concern during the pandemic. The effect of increased working hours and high pressure jobs are having a huge impact on lifestyle, which can be detrimental to the sustainability of good mental health.
There is no set system on how to create a healthy work life balance, mainly as it is susceptible to change with the varying demands of life, like having children or changing career paths. What is important though, is understanding what works for you, at a certain time and having the knowledge to control the balance between work and life.
The Mental Health Foundation have researched that more than 40% of employees have neglected parts of their home life due to workplace stress. In turn, this can increase a person’s vulnerability to mental health problems.
Juggling Pressure and Wellbeing
Whether you are a CEO of your own business or working part time, it can be overwhelming trying to juggle the daily pressures of life and keeping up to speed at work. Having a successful career is more significant to some people and raising a family is the most important job to others – that is why there is no right or wrong answer. But what you can do is try to prioritise for where you are currently at.
“As a person’s weekly hours increase, so can their feelings of unhappiness” – Mental Health Foundation.
Preventing Burnouts and having a healthy wellbeing, no matter how you manage it, will help all other aspects of your life fall into place. Having time to relax and unwind will re-charge your body and mind ready for the next day, no matter what it has to bring.
How Employers Can Help
A happy workforce is a productive workforce. Employees that have a positive work-life balance do a better job at work and promoting this can be beneficial to employers and employees alike. Far too often companies are pushing their staff to work harder and for longer hours, which tends to be for the benefit of themselves. By driving the balance of work and life into your company’s core values, you are instantly setting a standard that you have the wellbeing of your employees at the heart of the business.
Openly having discussions with employees at work and assessing what is and isn’t working within the company is a great start and will instantly show areas that can be worked on as a team. From encouraging annual leave, the odd early finish on a Friday and discussing personal life with staff is a sure way to start open conversations and hopefully spot burn out before it’s too late.
Maintaining Work-life Balance
Work life balance is not intended to be equal on both parts. Thinking about the current demands of your professional life and personal life can be the first step into analysing what fits where.
You may find that sometimes work priorities are 70% and life is reduced to 30%, but when a family event is on the horizon it switches to 20% work and 80% life. The right balance for you today might be different from yesterday and will change again tomorrow. But that is Ok. What is important is that you are in control and being realistic to your own needs.
Stress is often linked to a lack of work-life balance.
Stress is one of the most common causes of short-term and long-term absence (CIPD, 2012). The HSE estimate that 2,000,000 people in the UK are currently suffering from an illness caused by, or made worse by, their work environment and if allowed to pile up, can lead to deeper mental health problems and personal distress.
At Acorn Occupational Health we can provide an anonymous Stress/Wellbeing Audits which help provide an insight to any stress issues that your company may have, alongside management referral appointments with a nurse to help employees open up about any stresses at home or work. For more information regarding services that may be of benefit to your workplace, please contact us on 01260 277797 or firstname.lastname@example.org.