Should we sacrifice family responsibilities to become a strong-willed, independent achiever? Should I forget my dream to become a career woman and focus my energy to nurture a family? Can we have both, a successful career and close family relationships? These are difficult questions indeed! The time spent at work is an important indicator of work-life balance. More time at work reduces time for leisure, personal activities, and family relationships. A survey shows that: 11 % employees work over 50 hours a week while full-time workers spend over 14 hours daily for leisure and personal care, slightly less than the OECD norm of 15 hours.
Achieving Work-Life Balance
Many employees fail to recognize that they suffer from work-life imbalance or endure it for sake of salaries. To maintain a healthy body and rewarding family relationships, identifying the problem at an early stage is critical. Consider the following questions:
Are you burdened by work and family responsibilities daily?
Do you feel that work is something to be endured every week?
Are you totally exhausted every time you return home from work?
Do you think your life is out of control?
Do you wish for a clone to tackle all your responsibilities?
If you answered “YES” to any questions above, you are deprived of a proper work-life balance and may be affected by mental, health, and social issues.
Work-Life Balance Health Risks
An improper work-life balance results in stress which could lead to health concerns like: weak immune system, intimate health problems, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, substance addiction, forgetfulness, depression, lack of focus, lack of control, and physical / mental fatigue. Manage both Career and Family time.
Symptoms of Work-Life Imbalance
- Physical and Mental Exhaustion
Physical and mental exhaustion occurs when working long hours with failure to establish boundaries between work and personal life. Consequently, you are less productive and ability for clear thinking diminishes. Exhaustion taints your professional career impairing your ability to think effectively.
How many birthdays and anniversaries, soccer games, and recitals, have you missed recently? Failing to achieve the right work-life balance leads to absenteeism and hurts your friends and familial relationships, leaving your near and dear ones feeling unloved and unappreciated.
- Poor Friendships
Friends are essential for your social and emotional support system. Focussing efforts only on your career will damage your relationships with old and new friends. Friendships must be nurtured as they are your source of unending positive energy when things go south for you.
- Increased Workload
Bosses love hardworking employees. Work hard and consistently to be rewarded with more projects and responsibilities. And also more stress! While recognitions and promotions lead to career advancement and bigger salaries but make sure that everything is in harmony.
Work-Life Imbalance Plagues the World
Lack of work-life balance is a problem for all workers and employers. A UK survey reveals: 35% respondents are unhappy about time spent at work, while 40% neglect aspects of their life, due to work. When working longer hours, 58% feel irritable, 34% feel anxious and 27% feel depressed while unhappiness increases with increase in work hours. 42 % women and 29 % men are unhappy due to conflicting life roles, while 70 % employees suffer poor family relationships, limited personal development, and physical/ mental health problems. Finding a balance between work and life affects all workers, especially parents.