What is work-life balance?
In straightforward terms, a person achieves work-life balance when he or she enjoys both their professional life and their home life, without either aspect resulting in consequences upon the other. Conversely, a work-life unbalance results when either a person’s personal life is beginning to negatively impact their working life, or when the office is infringing on their domestic affairs.
As the line between housework and job work only continues to blur, people worldwide are struggling with the challenge of juggling crossover responsibilities and ensuring that no entity involved is neglected. In order to maintain a proper work-life balance, there are a few important aspects to keep in mind.
Separation between work life and home life is a healthy, essential ingredient. The motivations, incentives, goals, and eventual rewards of each setting are extremely different, thus making it a somewhat incongruent proposition to continue in both as though they are the same.
Perhaps the simplest guide to keep in mind is that work should not be taken home, and home should not be taken to work. This means that, unless it is absolutely necessary, an employee should not be bringing his or her projects to the dinner table, nor should they often be making personal phone calls at their desk. This tactic also allows for a more effectively focused frame of mind when changing settings.
This may seem contradictory to the first item of Separation, but the key is moderation: Flexibility means that your home life should not be so rigid that a few hours of overtime would cause massive havoc, nor should your working world be so stiff that if you needed to leave early, it would create catastrophe.
Mixing work and home should not be a habit, but a possibility if needed. The true foundational value of flexibility is exemplifying that, despite many people adhering to the buzzword of “priority” in their life, in reality it is better to live with a more balanced outlook than a perspective that truly treats one as markedly more important than the other. As anyone with bills to pay knows, the work life exists to support the home life, and ideally should be nearly as enjoyable.
Developing appropriate relationships with co-workers can be an enjoyable, healthy, beneficial act. Likewise, many people know that having a great group of friends is among the richest assets one can have in their lifetime.
However, things get complicated when “work friends” are the exact same set of people as other friends. Some overlap is okay; for example, perhaps you have one or two co-workers out of many that you happen to be good friends with, and those are not your only friends. But when the only friends you have are also those you work with, perhaps as a start-up you all began or a company you all were able to get into, things can get messy and complicated.
Although the possibilities for relational complications in this scenario are fairly easy to imagine, one common example is simply that, in two different environments, different relationship dynamics occur. In a workplace environments, employees may be competing with each other, or may hold each other accountable for decisions, projects, and deadlines that affect the bottom-line. As we all know, sometimes things happen where deadlines are missed and mistakes are made, but usually these should be relatively taken in stride and not taken personally. But in a situation where all involved are old friends, this possibility becomes much more difficult.
These are a few of the primary components to keep in mind when forming a work-life balance. Behind the question of “What is work-life balance?” is the answer of a holistically healthy human being thriving in a variety of environments to the best of his or her personal ability.