Five tips to ensure a great work-life balance in the 24-7 connected world
Working longer hours, on your mobile constantly, feeling the pressure if you don’t reply to the boss’ WhatsApp immediately? You are not alone.
As we become more and more connected, we no longer leave the office and switch off to spend time at the gym or with family. Instead, the line between work and home has become blurred. Here’s what you can do to help you carve out a little bit of calm in the storm…
Identify what ‘balance’ means to you
Before you decide what to do, it’s important to you take some time out to look at what you do with your time. We all get the same 24 hours in a day, it’s what we do with it that counts. So sit down and look at how you’re spending your time at the moment, and what would represent a more ‘balanced’ way of living, whether that’s spending more time with family, studying for a masters or having enough time to train for marathons.
As a working mum, I must make sure I don’t miss out on the important things in life – whether that’s boardroom meetings or sports day. So how do I do that? I have one diary (on my phone) which has all my appointments for both work and life. I know at a glance what I can and cannot attend, and with all my appointments I have an alert 15 minutes before its due – just in case I forget! If I have to attend something which is not work related, I let my boss know and she knows that that flexibility is paid back. Which leads me to point three…
Choose your employer wisely
The best businesses understand that helping employees achieve a good work-life balance isn’t just good for staff morale, it’s good for the business too. When seeking roles, do your best to ensure that you will be working in a company where they understand your priorities and you understand theirs. Honesty from both parties about what is feasible and acceptable within a business will help ensure you can work in the sort of business that supports your aspirations. If you choose the right people to work for/with then you can find a great balance in team work and running an efficient business. If your boss expects you to be on call 24/7 and that’s not what you want, then you need to agree reasonable hours.
Make the most of the benefits of remote and flexible working
Our ultra-connected way of living may have downsides, but a definite upside is the way it has enabled remote and flexible working, both of which are transforming working patterns globally. If you can truly work remotely, as I can, then make sure you work when you are at your most efficient. For some (like me) this means up early, and get cracking. But for others that might mean going for a coffee and starting work a bit later – but then finishing later too.
Love your job
There’s an old saying that if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. However, finding (and keeping) this kind of love for your career isn’t easy. Maybe you think your job is pointless or you just don’t feel the passion any more. Ways in which you can try to learn to love your job can include thinking about why you took the job in the first place and trying to get that ‘buzz’ in you again. Alternatively, speak to your boss and ask them what they think you are great at! You will be surprised at their answers and find your passion for your role returning. Practically, setting personal goals can give you a sense of achievement and something to constantly strive for, which trying to learn new things about your industry can help to keep things fresh. Lastly, if you feel like you need a little help to make your job work better for you, ask for it. Employers would always rather keep talent than lose it.