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How would you rate your work-life balance? Do you find it easy to turn off at the end of the working day or do you find that your work life blends into your personal life most of the time? How has the global pandemic and evolving working conditions impacted on your ability to find balance in your life?
Pre-COVID, working from home was often frowned upon by many employers on the suspicion that it would disengage workers and result in a significant reduction in productivity and business output. Research has suggested that during the pandemic, workers were still productive working from home. In the United Kingdom, many employees have reportedly put in an extra two hours a day and in the United States it is said to be even longer whilst working from home.
A paper written by Rudnicka et al. indicates that those fortunate to still be working, the collapse of work-life boundaries and fear of being under surveillance from employers have all led to people working harder, for longer. This has led to a blurring of lines between work and personal life; reportedly, workers struggle to transition out of work at the end of the day which has increased fatigue and decreased motivation.
Seek developed an insightful tool called Laws of Attraction, which explores what Australian candidates want out of 12 factors. The tool is based on a large, ongoing survey of more than 11,000 candidates and provides access to uniquely local, current intel from 2022. The research uncovers the drivers that attract candidates to a role.
In reviewing the key drivers:
Most industries ranked work-life balance as the first or second driver
Work-life balance is most important to women, and second to salary & compensation for men.
Entry level/Junior - work-life balance is more important.
Mid-level - work-life balance is more important.
Senior – work-life balance is second to salary & compensation
Gen Z - work-life balance is more important.
Gen Y - work-life balance is second to salary & compensation
Gen X - work-life balance is second to salary & compensation
Baby Boomers - work-life balance is more important.
Adelaide, Perth, Regional NSW, Regional QLD, Regional Melbourne, - work-life balance is more important.
Brisbane – Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney work-life balance is second to salary & compensation
6. Work type
Full-time - work-life balance is second to salary & compensation
Part-time - work-life balance is more important.
It is evident that despite workers picking up bad habits through the pandemic and blurring the lines between home life and work life, Australians deem work-life balance important, and it has become one of the most important factors through job search on SEEK. Organisations must take this onboard if they wish to remain competitive, sustainable and attract talent.
Key strategies to create work-life balance:
1. Have a dedicated workspace
Create a workspace in your house that you can dedicate solely to work. At the end of the day, leave the room and close the door behind you!
2. Set boundaries
Digital boundaries - Have a dedicated work computer or mobile device that you turn off at the end of each day. You may wish to create other digital boundaries around social media usage, sending of emails etc.
General boundaries - Commit to a number of working hours each day and set aside time for other activities. It is important that you learn to say “no”. Ensure that you have clearly communicated these boundaries to your supervisor, coworkers, partner and family.
3. Enjoy your work
As the saying goes “do what you love and never work a day in your life”. It is important to love what you do whilst at the same time accepting that every job can be tedious and at times stressful. If you don’t love what you do and it rather becomes a chore, perhaps it is time to consider a job or career change.
4. Determine your priorities
Spend some time considering what is important to you. Write a list of what is important to you both at home and at work and prioritise them.
5. Take care of your health
If you’re not in good physical and mental shape, your work life and your personal life will be impacted. Your health should always be your number one priority. A good place to start is ensuring you’re eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, moving your body and perhaps engaging in regular mindfulness practice.
6. Leave work at work
It's important to mentally switch off at the end of the working day and try not to think about work until the next working day begins. You may ‘transition’ by listening to music, going to the gym or running an errand, which will also prevent you from working overtime.
7. Know when to ask for help
If you’re overwhelmed at work or at home and it is causing you undue stress or impacting your life, perhaps it is time to ask for help from a professional. Most problems or areas of concern can be alleviated with the right guidance and support. We aren’t always equipped with the knowledge and insight to work through problems alone – remember Drake WorkWise is here for you and just a phone call away on 1300 135 600.
Achieve work-life balance is like becoming a professional athlete – it takes hard work, dedication and continued efforts. However, those who commit to the process will reap tremendous health and wellbeing rewards!
Contact Drake WorkWise if you would like support in better managing your health and wellbeing, whether in relation to achieving work-life balance, better managing stress, or something else you may be working through - Contact Us (drakeworkwise.com.au)