Contact us here
Tech & trend

Is it possible to find the right work-life balance?

How do you make sure you leave your work at the office, so you can be 100% present with the family? And is that even an option anymore, as more and more people discover the benefits of working from home? Work-life balance is one of the biggest buzzwords of today, and in this article, LINAK gives our take on the trend.

Woman at home office

First, it is important to acknowledge that the right work-life balance is very individual – the right balance for you, may leave your closest co-worker imbalanced. When speaking of a traditional definition of work-life balance, it refers to the level of prioritisation between personal and professional activities in an individual’s life and how much work-related activities are present in the home.

Recent years have seen an increased focus on work-life balance. Modern technology has made it much easier for employees to constantly be at work, blurring the distinction between professional and personal life. Working from home has become more common, which has proven to have a positive impact on the work-life balance of many employees.

 

Is the work-life balance just an illusion?

In 2018, the Danish philosopher and businessman, Morten Albæk, published a book, which highlighted the growing challenge of finding a balance. According to Morten Albæk, it is an illusion when we look for the so-called work-life balance and think we can split ourselves into the work person, the leisure person, and the family person. He states that we are only one human being with one life, and the time we have available is the same no matter how it is managed. So, according to him, work-life balance is really a matter of merging all “our persons” into one – and accepting that factors from each of them will affect the others.

Human personalities merging
 

He may have a point, however a survey by Gartner shows that US employees in general now value a good work-life balance more than the health benefits offered by their employer. In fact, 72% of employees consider a work-life balance to be very important when looking for a new job. This should be a wake-up call for companies that believe a good healthcare package alone is enough to retain their workers.

 

The impact of a work-life balance

When talking about the work-life balance, several factors come into play. Firstly, the flexibility of a hybrid workplace is essential. 73% of US employees, who work from home, say they enjoy a better work-life balance compared to when they worked onsite. The top reason cited was more time to spend with their families. Furthermore, they also said that working from home enables them to better balance their personal and professional lives. They are more productive thanks to, for instance fewer interruptions, more focused time, and a quieter work environment.

Another important factor for a successful work-life balance is the matter of staying healthy while working. A poor work-life balance and long hours at the office can impact your health negatively. Ergonomics while working must also be taken into consideration. If you experience pain caused by your working posture, this discomfort will most likely also affect your personal life. Make sure that you do not put stress on your body by using it incorrectly – or not using it at all. For office workers, a height-adjustable desk makes a big difference – whether working from home or at the office.

Home office sit-stand desk
 

Work-life balance across borders

When looking around the world, there is a huge difference in our satisfaction with our daily work-life balance. The Dutch workers are the true masters of work-life balance, scoring an impressive 9.5 out of 10 in the OECD Better Life Index. Italy is the second runner-up, and Denmark is in third place with a score of 9 out of 10, whereas 60% of Americans say they have a poor work-life balance mostly due to a lack of boundaries between work and home life. This leaves US workers with the 12th worst work-life balance out of the countries in the study.

 

How to achieve a good work-life balance

As stated in the beginning, it may be difficult – and even impossible – to split yourself into the working person and the family person and there is no doubt that the level of complexity required to achieve this depends very much on your type of work. However, there are some things you can do to create a balance in your life, whateveer your line of work.

  • Initially, you will need to acknowledge that you cannot do it all at once. You will have to make some choices to create balance in your everyday life. 
  • Have a chat with your manager and colleagues to align expectations. Set some boundaries for when you work and when you do not work. This could be around answering emails and phone calls outside business hours or when you are off work due to holiday or illness. 
  • If you have a partner, it is important that you talk to him/her about how you organise yourselves with respect of each other's jobs and resources. It is a good idea to find a common ground that you are both comfortable with. It will help you develop some good routines to solve all the practicalities of everyday life together. 
  • Make time for yourself and your own hobbies.
  • Make sure you get a good night's sleep. 
  • If you have a home office, make sure to keep it secluded from the rest of the house, so it is possible for you to "walk out of the office" even when you are at home. 
  • Also make sure that the office is organised in a way that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed – and so you can change your working positions during the day. Read more here on the importance of a healthy working day. 
Increase your productivity at work play-icon

Increase your productivity at work

Moving Is Living play-icon

Moving is living

6 tips for an ergonomically improved workday by LINAK play-icon

6 tips for an ergonomically improved workday by LINAK

Regular exercise is not enough play-icon

Regular exercise is not enough

Files

MOVE – Why sit-stand desks increase work performance

Reduce sick days and create a modern office environment with electric sit-stand desks. An attractive investment for employers and their employees.