The Importance of Work-Life Balance & Ways to Improve It

Author Muhammad Qusyairi, Director of Academic Research & Advocacy

Introduction of Work-Life Balance :

Clark SC (2000) in Work/Family border theory defined work-life balance as a ‘satisfaction and good functioning at work and at home with a minimum of role conflict’. This means, work-life balance is about separating personal and professional lives in order to maintain a good working environment and personal life. Both personal and professional lives are essential and therefore, neither should be deserted.

The Importance of Work-Life Balance:

importance of work-life balance

● Maintain mental and physical health

As the old adage says “healthy body, healthy mind”. It is quite important to maintain your mental health in order to make sure that you are physically healthy too. According to healthline, stress can affect your mental health such as depression and anxiety. It might as well affect your physical health. This is because long-term stress weakens your immune system’s defenses and leaves you more vulnerable to infections. When you are sick, you will be unable to go to work and even if you go to work, you may not be able to focus on your work. This will give a negative impact to the productivity of the company. By having a proper work-life balance, it would help you to prevent from having chronic stress and subsequently improve your health and wellbeing

● Reduce “Burnouts”

American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger used the term “Burnout” to describe the consequences of severe stress. According to the helpguide, ‘Burnouts occur when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands’. “Burnout” may cause negative effects on your personal and social life. This is because when you are “Burnout” you may not be able to control your anger and end up exploding it to people surrounding you such as your spouse or children. As a result, you might bring those problems to the workplace which would disturb your concentration and impairing your work performance. Therefore, work-life balance is important in order to reduce the chances of “Burnout” and maintain the quality of your personal and social life.

● Increase productivity

Healthy work-life balance will improve your focus and concentration in carrying out tasks and responsibility. Besides, healthy work-life balance will maintain mental and physical health in a good condition which could prevent high levels of absenteeism. Absenteeism means an employee intentionally or unintentionally absent from work without good reason. Based on the studies conducted by IZA Institute of Labour Economics in their report stated that absenteeism of workers will influence the productivity of the company. The lesser the levels of absenteeism, the higher the productivity of the company. Not only that, applying a healthy work-life balance will prevent unnecessary problems outside of the workplace. This will enable you to concentrate and increase your efficiency.

Ways to Improve Work-Life Balance :

ways to improve work-life balance

I. Individual

● Encourage short breaks

The amount of work to be done has got you feeling the pressure and stress. If you continually work without taking a short break, it may impair the quality of your performance. According to 2011 University of Illinois study found that the human brain would lose the ability to focus and hinder performance after a long period of focusing on a single task. Therefore, it is important to encourage a short break in daily working life.Things that you can do during the short break is doing light exercise, drinking some coffee while talking to workmates etc. Applying a short break in your working life is going to help you to be more efficient and creative while maintaining your physical and mental health.

● Spend time with family

The busyness in the workplace would lead to an adverse effect on the family health, happiness and harmony. Some parents failed to control their anger and exploded it on their spouse and children. As a result, the problems that arise at home distort your working performance as you lose your concentration. This problem can be resolved by spending time with family and not bringing problems at home. You can plan vacations with your family members. Based on the American Sociological Association, a larger number of vacations lead to a decline in the psychological distress of people. But if it is a short holiday, then you can plan simple activities such as picnics, sports activities etc. By doing all these activities, it would help to build a good relationship between the family members and when there is no conflict at home, you can concentrate more on doing your work.

II. Head Honcho

● Avoid from giving work during time off

The employer is also required to encourage work-life balance among the employees. The employer must set regulations which could reduce their burden. For instance, working hours are not more than 8hrs, off day during the weekend etc. The employer should avoid giving work to the employees during these periods. This is due to the principle of work-life balance which is to separate personal and professional lives. By giving the employees during these periods, in actuality, you are putting more pressure on them and stop them from enjoying their personal life. In countries such as France, there is a law called “Right to disconnect” which ensures that there are limits on the amount of work undertaken outside of office hours. Therefore, it is vital for every employer to respect the personal life of their employees as this would allow them to release from everyday work stresses.

● Provide “chill out zone” at the workplace

The majority of the people in this world are spending a considerable amount of time at the workplace staring at a computer screen, preparing a document etc. Therefore, it is important to have a place where the employees can chill and release their stress during the short break. The employer may consider installing a games room, mini library or mini bar which allows the employees to socialise and take their minds off work. The purpose of this idea is to refresh the employees so that they can continue their task efficiently. Besides, according to the research made by Neuroscience, relaxing makes you more creative. By providing this “chill out zone” at the workplace, it will give a more relaxed environment to the employees which will increase their creativity and productivity.