How to Strike a Good Work Life Balance

And in this age of emails, mobile phones and laptops, it’s more difficult than ever to not feel preoccupied with work when you should be enjoying time with family and friends. A study carried out by insurance company Pru Health, for example, suggests one in 10 workers check their emails every single day, with 5% claiming they log on to their email even on Christmas Day.

But when not being able to switch off from the office becomes the norm, rather than something that just comes around now and again, you may feel as if your life outside work is passing you by. In other words, your work/life balance is out of kilter.

When this happens, your health – both emotional and physical – can suffer. Here’s how to find out whether or not your work/life balance is in good shape, plus some tips on how to improve it.

Recognise the signs

Learn to spot when your work/life balance isn’t as good as it should be by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you find it difficult to relax when you’re not working?
  • Have you been neglecting your hobbies and interests because of work commitments?
  • Is your health suffering because you work long hours?
  • Do your friends and family complain they hardly ever see you these days?
  • Do you struggle to finish work at the correct time and hardly ever use up all your annual holiday entitlement?

Answering ‘yes’ to one or more means your work/life balance needs some improvement.

Take more time off

According to the Office for National Statistics, full-time employees in the UK currently work an average of 43 hours a week, compared with the EU average of 37. That makes us among the hardest-working people in Europe. A YouGov report also suggests that one in five British employees makes a habit of working through their holidays. Don’t make the same mistake. Though it may be unavoidable at times, don’t make a habit of working in the evenings and at weekends, and always use up all your holiday entitlement.

Get active

Instead of working through your lunch hour, get outdoors and do some exercise. Many studies suggest exercise helps relieve stress by releasing feel-good hormones called endorphins. And if you’re less stressed, you may have more energy for fun activities outside work.

Learn how to say no

It may not make you popular initially, but being assertive and learning to say no when you’re already pushed to the max could help save your family and social life – and your job – in the long run.

Lay down rules

If your colleagues know you can’t be contacted outside work – even if it’s only at certain times – they may be less likely to email or phone you when you’re trying to relax. Make a point of letting them know that you’re out of bounds at specific times, and – most importantly – stick to your word.

Delegate If you have an impossible workload that’s keeping you at work beyond normal office hours, pass some of your tasks on to a colleague. Then when you go on holiday put someone else fully in charge of your work. You may feel more inclined to switch off if a capable colleague is covering for you.

Our event on the 27th April is all about achieving a Work Life Balance.

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Source: © CABA 2012 (