As with most things in life, moderation is the key. People who are constantly tied to their jobs deal with the symptoms of stress and burnout. Overworked employees are more likely to suffer health problems, more likely to be absent and/or sick, less efficient, less sociable, and overall more difficult to work with. It is in the best interest of both the employee and employer to avoid these pitfalls through smart human resource management.
Now that we’re clear around what work life balance is and who it’s for, let’s go through the top 9 reasons why work life balance is important.
Reason #1: Work Life Balance Means Less Stress
Work place stress causes about 7 million Nigerians to suffer from stress and depression annually, which usually leads to death. Most Nigerians identify their jobs as their main source of stress.
The biggest problem is that most people think they have no choice, but that’s not really true.
Remember that work life balance is ultimately created through your choices, that is also what is causing most of your stress. By agreeing to take on more work when you don’t have the capacity or not delegating work that could be delegated, you’re creating more stress for yourself.
Here are the choices you could start making for yourself to relieve a lot of your stress and anxiety:
· Saying NO to things that aren’t priorities.
· Delegating as much as can be delegated.
· Choosing to do things that are priorities (and letting go of non-priorities).
· Prioritizing your own well-being.
The end result is a more manageable workload and more time doing the things that are important to you. That’s going to greatly decrease your stress and anxiety levels.
Reason #2: Work Life Balance will improve your mental health
One of the biggest reasons why work life balance is important is because it relates to your mental health. When you feel balanced you’re more capable of dealing with negative emotions and thoughts.
The human brain isn’t meant to feel stressed-out and under pressure all the time.
Creating more balance in your life gives you breathing space to think, which allows your subconscious thoughts to bubble up to the surface.
Reason #3: Work Life Balance Means Better Physical Health
Part of creating a balance for yourself includes taking care of your physical health. And yes, that includes things like:
· Eating healthy meals.
· Reducing sugar and alcohol intake.
· Healthy sleep habits.
· Regular exercise.
Most professionals are chained to a desk most of the day and glued to your couch at night because of how exhausted and stressed they are.
That means that most professionals are often found sitting and never outside.
The simple fact is that human beings aren’t meant to sit so much, nor are they meant to be cooped up indoors. You’re meant to stand, move and get outdoors. That means that achieving balance includes more movement and outdoor activity.
Reason #4: A Balance Lifestyle Enhances Your Ability to Be Present
One of the biggest complaints from most people is the inability to be present (both at home and at work). What that looks like is this:
· Your mind feels like it’s always “on”, racing and cluttered with thoughts that can sometimes be difficult to interpret.
· Always thinking about work when with family and friends (which the leads you to constantly check email).
· Worrying about what’s going on in your personal life when trying to work (such as your overflowing laundry, family etc.)
The good new is that your brain can be trained to be more present and calmer through consistent practice of specific mindfulness practices. Doing that is part of how you create a balanced life.
Reason #5: Work Life Balance Improves Your Relationships
Working too much means less time with those you love, but it also means less quality time with them too. It’s pretty difficult to be present and give others your full attention when exhausted and overwhelmed.
A balanced lifestyle means more time with family and friends that’s high quality
Having a balanced lifestyle means developing deep connections with other people (and not just family, but colleagues and friends too).
Reason #6: A Balanced Lifestyle Increases Engagement at Work
When employees are happy and feel motivated by their job, they’re more likely to be loyal and engaged. Being engaged is about feeling committed to something so that your do your best.
Many employers falsely believe that engagement is created through pressure or incentives. Although this might work (a little) in the short-term, it ultimately creates stress, anxiety and resentment. That’s not exactly a recipe for long term engagement or morale
Reason #7: Work Life Balance Increases Creative Thinking
The brain needs space to think, it is not meant to be constantly bombarded by people, social media, email, phone calls and texts.
When you’re stressed, overwhelmed and/or anxious, you have no capacity to think creatively, but with balance comes clear, creative thinking, and that means better work product too.
Reason #8: Real Balance Brings Happiness and Fulfillment
One of the biggest reasons why work life balance is important is for your own happiness and fulfillment. Balance is about feeling good about yourself and being in control of your life and career path.
Reason #9: Work Life Balance Brings Higher Levels of Success
There’s a misconception that balance doesn’t work for those who want to be successful but that is just not true, it is based on a common misconception that work life is about settling for less. Work life balance is about creating a life of success on your terms by:
· Prioritizing and focusing on what’s most important to you;
· Ensuring your own well-being (thereby enabling you to serve others to the best of your ability); and
· Being in control of your life.
A balanced lifestyle makes you more well-rounded, a more creative thinker and more productive, that means, you’ll have more ability for success in both your personal and professional life.
Credit: Heather Moulder, J.D, ACC(2021)