An average workweek in Denmark is 39.7 hours. In Norway, it's 42.9 hours.
While western countries are moving closer to reducing long working hours and making the workspace less stressful for employees, Indians are drowning under the burden of work-related stress and fatigue. According to a 2016 survey by the ManpowerGroup, Indian millennials put in more hours at work than their peers from the rest of the world. Of the 19,000 millennials that were surveyed in 25 countries, Indians clocked a massive 52 hours per week on average. According to another report, India has been ranked as the fourth most vacation deprived country in the world. The root of these problems? A lack of a work-life balance.
Most employees in the Indian workforce tend to prioritise their career owing to factors such as fear of losing one’s job, working extra hard for a promotion, or simply because companies place little to no importance on employee satisfaction.
A work-life balance is a term that is usually used to describe a lifestyle where an individual is effectively able to utilise their time in a way where both their personal as well as professional life thrive. This means an equal or ‘balanced’ allocation of hours separately dedicated to work and pleasure. Maintaining an ‘ideal’ work-life balance in the modern world has become a topic of great debate, because it has become impossible to achieve. With the advanced technology of today’s times, employers expect their employees to be available round the clock, and many people find themselves answering emails and taking calls much after they walk out of their office.
A work-life balance is a good indicator of a healthy working environment. Maintaining a work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace. Moreover, work stress tends to spill over into one’s personal life, straining relationships with people and increasing the chances of developing mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Besides that, stress can lead to physical consequences such as hypertension, digestive troubles, chronic aches and pains and heart problems. Hence, experts believe in the importance of work-life balance, as it is essential to maintain a work-life balance to lead a healthy, relaxed and stress-free life.
If you are naturally able to juggle your personal and professional life like a pro, we salute you! If you’re like us and you struggle every now and then, these work-life balance tips are here to make your life a teensy bit easier!
Before taking up a new job or accepting a promotion, it is important to discuss all aspects of the position with your boss, including any extra expectations. If you feel like the job requires you to put in more than you can give, it might be time to reconsider the offer and explore other opportunities.
Some people dive into the task at hand as soon as they arrive at work so that they can get it out of the way as soon as possible. However, this might lead to a haphazard working schedule. Experts believe that employees should take 15 minutes every day after they come into work to take stock of all the tasks and meetings they have, arrange them according to priority and then jump in.
A lot of people aren’t as productive at work because they spend too much time re-doing and perfecting one single task, which leads to a pile-up of deadlines. Focus on working at each task to the best of your ability, re-work it according to feedback from your peers and boss, and then let it go. Chasing perfection is an impossible feat! This is one of the simplest work-life balance tips that you can easily incorporate in your life.
The problem with diving into work mindlessly is that you end up spending way too much time at your desk, which makes you exhausted, which in turn affects the quality of your work. Look up some productivity hacks online, and try one that suits you best.
Something that always works for me is the 45-minute work/15-minute break hack, where you focus all your energy on a task for 45 minutes and then take a 15-minute break to refresh your mind. I follow this cycle throughout the work day and it works wonders for my productivity levels!
Your lunch hour is meant to be dedicated to only one thing: your lunch. Eating at your desk while being distracted by work is extremely unhealthy for you. Always step away from your desk to eat - join your coworkers at the office canteen or carry your lunch to the park to eat. You need a complete break from work when you consume your food. Try fitting in a short 10-15 minute walk after so you feel energised when you return to your desk!
Sometimes we tend to take on too much work or help a coworker out, putting our own work on hold simply because of our inability to say no. You should prioritise your own work first in the order of importance and focus on finishing those tasks first. If you feel like your workload may be too heavy and impossible for you to achieve, talk to your boss about delegating it to somebody else.
Sure, everyone loves a good gossip sesh with their favourite coworker near the pantry, but it shouldn’t be eating into your actual working hours. Social media is another wasteful, time-consuming activity. Practice self-control and learn to push useless activities that waste your time to during your ‘breaks’.
Unless your job explicitly requires you to be on location, take up the opportunity to work from home whenever it is offered to you. It will save you precious commute time, the time you take to get ready and groomed and time wasted in mindless meetings that could have been an email. Plus, you get to work in your PJs! Win-win!
The textbook definition of an ‘office’ has now completely changed. Working from a co-working space enables you to interact with employees from other organisations, bring your kids and pets to work whenever you want and participate in a lot of networking events and other fun activities. If you’re on a lookout for a fantastic co-working space in your city, CoWrks is a great option, and has office spaces in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai!
Whether it is leaving your home for work, or wrapping up your work at the end of the day, always make sure you leave on time. Delaying either would mean spending longer hours at the office, which would eat into your personal time at home. Nobody likes that, do they?
Everybody’s job is stressful to some level, but worrying about your work when you’re at home is only going to ruin your personal time. No matter how stressful your job may be, if taking that stress home isn’t solving any problems, learn how to let it go the minute you step out of your office.
Just like you would plan out a work-day, it always helps if you have a rough idea about what you want to do with your day in general. Want to spend an hour watching Netflix from 8-9pm? Put it in the plan! This will help you manage your time better and plan activities for yourself.
While the current workforce romanticises being a workaholic, make sure you take out at least an hour to doing something simply because you enjoy it. This could be reading a book, cooking, playing the guitar, swimming or even walking your dog!
When living in a world that is obsessed with productivity and taking stock of every second you spend, doing nothing seems like a luxury. And that is exactly what you need to do if you want to avoid burnout! Take out half an hour from your day to doing nothing and letting your mind wander - this lowers our stress levels and increases our creativity and overall productivity.
In the rush to strike a balance between work and your personal life, don’t forget to catch your breath for a few minutes every day. If meditation doesn’t come easily to you, try mindful meditation apps like Headspace and Calm. If you can’t find time to meditate, doing simple breathing exercises on your daily commute also works wonders!
Still have questions about the elusive work-life balance? We’re here with answers!
A good work/life balance can enable employees to feel more in control of their professional and personal life, which leads to increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, higher enthusiasm and reduced overall stress. This is the said importance of work-life balance.
Considering that their workforce works only for 39.7 hours per week, Denmark is considering the top country in the world with the best work-life balance.
While it is up to employers to provide a safe and reasonable working environment to their employees, it is ultimately up to the employee themselves to seek out and maintain a balance between their private and professional life. Follow the above-mentioned tips to improve your own work-life balance!
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