How important is work-life-balance to you? For me, it is at the top of my list.
Thirteen years ago, I was living the life of my dreams. I had a job that I loved and a 20-minute commute. I was in the best shape of my life. I traveled and did all the things I wanted to do until a life-changing event happened. I got pregnant, and suddenly, all my time and energy was dedicated to my job, taking care of my baby, attending to my household responsibilities, and trying to remain current professionally through training classes. I was blessed with a beautiful daughter, but it wasn’t until I was six months shy of my fortieth birthday that I realized that the last four years of my life was a blur. I was sleep deprived, I wasn’t motivated, and my health was failing. In trying to juggle all of my responsibilities, I neglected myself and my needs, so I realized that I had to prioritize better. I had to make significant changes to recover a well-balanced life, which is now my personal mission.
Wikipedia defines work–life balance as “the concept of properly prioritizing between “work” (your career and professional ambitions) and “lifestyle” (your health, pleasure, leisure, family, and spiritual development and meditation)”. It is a “lifestyle choice” to balance your personal life with your professional career. You can experience joy, satisfaction, and self-love when the tension between work and life is contained, resulting in an increased sense of well-being.
Employees who feel a greater sense of control and ownership over their own lives tend to feel more balance in their lives. They have better relationships with their management and a better sense of life enjoyment. Well-balanced employees also tend to feel more motivated and less “stressed out” at work, which increases company productivity and reduces the number of interpersonal conflicts. Based on the 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study conducted by CareerArc (http://www.careerarc.com/in-the-news/survey-finds-disconnect-between-employers-and-employees-on-work-life-balance), the top benefits that responding organizations saw in their work flex programs were improved employee satisfaction (87%), increased productivity (71%), and retained current talent (65%). 54% of responding organizations also said that their programs positively impacted their recruiting. Other benefits of work-life balance include healthier employees who won’t burn out easily.
Managing your stress level, having a sense of joy, and control of your life are contributors of work-life balance. Personally, I always consider the impact that the work location will have on my commute, the opportunity for schedule flexibility, and the employer’s training program as deciding factors for helping me to maintain a work-life balance. A short commute and a flexible work schedule allow me to have more time to spend with my daughter and attend important functions at her school, which are my two most important objectives. Training assistance is also important to me because I value continued education to enhance my knowledge and skills.
As we start a new year, I encourage everyone to embrace a well-balanced life that will benefit you, your family, and the workplace. More companies are encouraging their employees to seek a better work-life balance by allowing flexible work schedules, offering onsite gyms or discounts to health gyms, and having company outings. However, the factors that drive balance are different for each person. I encourage you to visit the website, Great Place to Work®, and take the quiz “What would make work great for you?” (http://reviews.greatplacetowork.com/quiz).
What kind of company would meet your work-life balance needs? What do you consider when you choose a new job? We’d love to hear from you!
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