11 tips for a better work-life balance

July 1, 2024

A good balance between work and private life is the basis for stable (mental) health and happiness in both areas of life. The following article describes 11 helpful tips for a better work-life balance and best practices for employers to support employees.

Likeminded Editorial Team

Table of Content

For many of us, working from home and remotely has thrown the work-life balance out of kilter in recent years – increased stress due to constant availability and the resulting overwork can lead to burnout over time. For many, increasing demands quickly mean that work becomes the focus of their lives. Experts call this phenomenon “dissolution of boundaries”.

Frequent overtime, calls on the weekend and the associated lack of mental distance from the stressful working day all contribute to this. This is precisely why it is so important to educate employees about the possible consequences of suck a lack of boundaries and to provide them with tools that they can use to restore balance.

What is meant by work-life balance?

Defining a work-life balance has become increasingly difficult in recent years, as work and private life are no longer strictly separated – the transitions with flexitime working hours, home office and remote work are often fluid.

Instead of work-life balance, many therefore speak of work-life integration, which offers space for different, overlapping areas of life such as family and home, community, career and health and well-being.>

Both work-life balance and work-life integration do not provide for a precise time division of the balance. This is because people “switch off” directly and some take more time, others take less time, to leave the workplace behind. Both the employees’ well-being and productivity at work are strengthened by a healthy work-life balance.

In contrast to work-life balance, the concept of integration allows for several variables that can be used as a positive counterbalance to work, including sports, hobbies, community work and mindfulness exercises such as meditation. All components influence each other and, in the best case, balance each other out in such a way that neither underload not overwork occur.

Why is work-life balance important?

The digital age has vastly improved productivity and communication for companies. For employees, however, constant accessibility can result in work stress in their private lives, which creeps into weekends and vacations beyond the office.

For companies, clear agreements, good communication and adherence to deadlines can help to ensure employees have the time off they need to be motivated and productive at work again.

A healthy work-life balance can therefore not only have a positive impact on employees and their well-being, but also on productivity, morale and employee retention. This can promote mental health, reduce stress and thus lower absenteeism and employee turnover.

Why work-life balance is also important for companies

Even before burnout occurs, an imbalance between work and leisure time can affect the mental and physical health of employees, leading to absenteeism, inefficient working practices, and thus concrete monetary losses for companies.

Current risks for the world of work

As the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth writes, a lack of work-life balance not only has a negative impact on employees, but companies also suffer from the consequences: Reduced productivity, a negative working environment and increased sickness-related absences are just some of the problems that arise.

This can set a domino effect in motion, with external effects also becoming noticeable: A deterioration in customer relations as well as the employer brand, triggered by a lack of motivation and willingness to learn on the part of employees.

What characterizes a good work-life balance?

For a healthy work-life balance, it is particularly important that there are no feelings of excessive demands, lack of appreciation and constant stress. Because these negative feelings can make you ill in the long term.

A good work-life balance is therefore characterized by a balance to daily working life, through which new energy can be recharged and the stress of work fades into the background for a while.

However, as private life can also be stressful, it makes sense to take a closer look at work-life integration, which comprises four pillars: Work and performance, family and social contacts, sport and well-being, meaning and values. A good work-life balance can therefore consist of regularly asking yourself about these points:

  • How fulfilling is my job?

  • How fulfilling and reliable are my friendships/family?

  • Do I feel safe and understood?

  • How healthy is my lifestyle (diet, exercise, sleep)?

  • How do I feel and what do I feel?

  • What values do I hold and are these reflected in my everyday and professional life?

How to create a good work-life balance

Simply integrating a few helpful exercises and tips can help you to maintain a better balance between your private and professional life:

  1. Evaluate your time

If you often find that tasks cannot be completed in the available time, it is worth evaluating the tasks on your to-do list: Which things and tasks do I spend the most time on? And: Which things fulfill me and which drain my energy? How urgent are the tasks and can I possibly complete some of them at a later date? This helps you to avoid procrastinating on important tasks.

  1. Reduce tasks

The next step is to scan the list of tasks that you can cross off. Number one: Unnecessary energy guzzlers. Is it really necessary for you to bake a cake for an upcoming birthday after work or can you buy one instead? Or: Can the meeting that normally lasts an hour possibly be shortened to 30 minutes?

  1. Set priorities

Prioritize your to-do list so that the most important tasks can be ticked off as early as possible. This way, you learn to use your time more efficiently and know what the most important things are already done, even if not all items are ticked off at the end of the day.

  1. Delegate

Don’t be afraid to hand things over and delegate tasks to either employees or family members. You don’t have to do everything on your own! If it is not possible to hand over some of your tasks and you are overwhelmed with your workload, you should talk to your manager to get support with some of these tasks if necessary.

  1. Set clear boundaries

Practice saying no and setting clear boundaries – both in your professional and private life. This will ensure that you have enough time for the things that fulfill you and allow you to switch off. If you are unsure about how to communicate your boundaries, try seeking a dialog: “Thank you for requesting the project. Unfortunately, I don’t have the capacity for more tasks at the moment – but I look forward to working on it next time.” Compromise and open communication are key here.

  1. Communication between employer and employee

Especially if the balance in favor of work is out of balance, you should communicate this with your employer to ensure that this does not have a negative impact. Are there alternatives to work arrangements, such as flexible working hours or support for work-intensive projects? If no compromises and solutions can be found in the long term, a job change could also be the right thing to do.

  1. Time management

Do you tend to take a long time to complete tasks that don’t have a high priority? Practice time management to better manage your workload. Setting milestones and targets, creating a daily schedule or using a prioritized to-do lsit are good exercises to improve your time management.

  1. Time for friends, family and community

Your social network is your safety net – especially when things aren’t going so well. Studies have shown that happy, authentic relationships contribute significantly to a happy life. So especially when you notice that your work-life balance is a little out of kilter, friends and family can make a crucial difference. Hobbies and leisure activities in your community can also strengthen your sense of belonging and your values. Block out time in advance so that it doesn’t get lost at the end of the day or week and your social contacts feel like a burden on your work.

  1. Mindfulness

Breaks are important so that your energy levels don’t plummet throughout the day or week. Incorporate short walks before and during work or meditation exercises into your routine to consciously switch off your thoughts in between. This prevents stress and burnout and gives you energy.

  1. Exercise and sports

Your physical and mental health are essential for your work-life balance. Make sure you get enough sleep, have a balanced diet and get enough exercise.

  1. Pursuing your own goals

Seeing meaning in your life is one of the cornerstones of happiness. This is because tasks that give life meaning and purpose give us a positive purpose in life that goes beyond financial acquisition or simply ticking off lists: meaningfulness fills us with positive feelings that have a positive impact on our perceived work-life balance.

How can companies support a good work-life balance?

To help employees maintain a good work-life balance, companies should formulate clear guidelines on overtime, task distribution and flexible working hours from the outset. Responding to the individual needs of employees, for example after the birth of a child, in the event of illness in the family or a divorce, can not only promote loyalty, but also increase productivity!

Further training programs such as employee or manager training can help to strengthen communication and mutual support within a company. Managers learn to respond to the needs of their employees and recognize warning signs of stress and burnout. In this way, employees can be encouraged to take a concrete approach to their personal and professional development.

Many companies also benefit from employee surveys, which can act as an early warning system to help identify whether further measures are necessary. Management teams and HR managers often also receive valuable input on which (further) measures are possible or will have the best possible effect.

A healthy working environment in which employees can communicate openly when they need help or are overloaded is essential. Managers should therefore seek out conversations to encourage open communication with employees – especially when the first signs of stress or burnout are recognized.

With an ROI of 1:4, mental health promotion in particular can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and retention. HR enhancement programs such as Likeminded can improve employee satisfaction by promoting health and well-being.

11 tips for a better work-life-balance

A good balance between work and private life is the basis for stable (mental) health and happiness in both areas of life. The following article describes 11 helpful tips for a better work-life balance and best practices for employers to support employees.

Tips for employees:

  1. Evaluate your own time

  2. Delete unnecessary tasks

  3. Set priorities

  4. Delegate

  5. Set clear boundaries

  6. Communication between employer and employee

  7. Time management

  8. Time for friends, family and community

  9. Mindfulness

  10. Exercise and sports

  11. Pursuing your own goals

Employers should:

  • Establish clear guidelines

  • Create a flexible working environment

  • Respond to individual needs

  • Promote the work-life balance of employees

  • Offer mental health promotion (ROI 1:4)

  • Support employees in their personal and professional development

  • Learn to recognize early signs of overload and burnout

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