Put yourself first: achieving a healthy work-life balance in your career

We live in a time where the line between work and private life is becoming more blurred by the day. While a rising number of workers manage to do their job from home and working overtime often becomes the rule instead of the exception, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Moreover, the pressure to succeed within society is mounting and sometimes it seems almost impossible to fight the norm. Fortunately, there are ways to restore balance in your life. Josie will show you how.

Finding the right work-life balance has everything to do with how you prioritize your personal and professional activities in life, and to what extent you keep your job-related activities away from your home environment. The ideal division is different for every individual, and it’s definitely not a simple matter of solving a math problem. Some families, for example, might live by the unwritten rule of not bringing their work-related issues to the dinner table. In other families, it may be common to not make it in time for dinner at all. However, with the development of technology on the rise, the boundaries between our workplace and home are fading. Now that most of us have access to our workstation from basically anywhere there’s a solid Wi-Fi connection, the challenge of being able to ‘switch off’ occasionally is greater than ever. It’s a shift that provides more flexibility and undeniably has its advantages, but unfortunately, it’s also a trend that’s causing more victims by the day.

Rising stress levels

Employees who suffer from a poor work-life balance are often under constant pressure to perform, causing a lot of stress in the process. In this day and age, mental stress can be seen as a big economic and health problem, and it’s mostly caused by employees being expected to do more work in less time. A lot of workplaces have a company culture where it’s expected of you to structurally work more than the fixed hours on your contract. It’s a culture that leads to ‘presenteeism’, where employees collectively create a sense of obligation to stay in the office longer as a requirement to succeed and make sure to be seen in the process. Whether your manager forces you or it’s optional, eventually a system like this sustains itself. A research study shows that Americans on average put in a staggering 23 hours of extra work per month, just to be visible. At the same time, even before the pandemic, about 53% of millennials claimed to have experienced symptoms of burnout, according to Indeed. And to what purpose? The numbers show that doing overtime does not lead to more productivity at all. So, if you recognize this scenario, it might be time to put yourself first.

A healthy work-life balance

One of the most difficult factors in creating the right work-life balance is how to change your current situation, especially when it’s deeply rooted within the company culture. It’s when employees are being forced – by managers or the norms of company culture – to go the extra mile against their will when it gets morally questionable. Managers should always have a sense of responsibility for the well-being of their employees, and you could say that the inability to signal a problem and do something about it creates a toxic work environment. Besides, it’s also harmful to the organization: it’s proven that stressed-out employees are less productive and tend to make more errors. Now back to you. Whenever you feel like the efforts you’re currently making are taking their toll on your own personal life and well-being, it’s time to raise your voice and address the problem. It takes a lot of courage, but eventually, it’s the only way to improve your current situation. This can lead to two potential outcomes. Either your employer turns out to have a heart after all and will reach out to help you, or you will find proof that you are in fact working within a toxic company culture. As confronting as the latter can be, it might be the red flag you needed to take the plunge and seek your happiness elsewhere. It’s a big step and you can’t just give up your current job like that, but there are tools to help you. On the demand insights page of Josie for example, you can find equal opportunities within your area, or even plenty of new opportunities elsewhere. Whatever you do, if you value a healthy balance in life and prefer not losing it, you’re always better off leaving a workplace that drains the life out of you.

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