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26 Tips to Achieve a Work-Life Balance

“In an analysis of 37 affluent countries, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found which countries are working the longest hours, and what percent of the population is working very long hours at 50 or more a week. The country which was found to work the most hours was South Africa at 2,209 hours a year, which was also the fourth highest country for employees working 50 hours or more at 18.1%”, this is according to an article on fanews.co.za.

Our lives are out of balance. Why? Well, we sleep with our phones next to us and whether we are at home, the office or on vacation, we are always “turned on”, always “available” and always “reachable”. The digital era we live in has made it possible for us to be anywhere in the world, and still be able to communicate, work and be easily accessible to whomever needs us. Technology is here to stay. The pandemic also got the lines blurred between our home and office lives and all this at no extra cost for our time. What has led us to this imbalance is not the issue, the “how we get our balance back” is what matters because if we don’t restore balance, our mental and emotional wellness will suffer. We will burnout, stress constantly, get more chronic illnesses and basically be very unhappy people. 

Because we work so hard, the hot topic of Mental and Emotional Wellness will not easily die down soon. The focus remains on achieving work-life balance, and some people are even willing to give up their jobs and move to a different state or country to achieve this. However, there are a few tips for restoring the balance in both your professional and personal lives. 

13 Tips to Create Work-Life Balance at the Office:

  • Create a workplace environment that is relaxed and peaceful to work in.
  • Give employees flexibility.
  • Enable hybrid (remote and office integration) workplaces.
  • Restrict employee hours and set boundaries.
  • Be reasonable with deadlines.
  • Make communication easy.
  • Give constructive feedback.
  • Resolve conflict quickly and efficiently.
  • Create wellness programmes – help your employees get physical exercise and encourage healthy eating habits. 
  • Check in regularly on the wellness of your employees.
  • Encourage employees to take personal days and vacation time.
  • Establish psychological safety and trust within teams.
  • Be empathetic, especially towards family matters.

13 Tips to Create Work-Life Balance from your side:

  • Set your own boundaries with your family and boss or clients. Learn to say no.
  • Plan your time to make sure you have equal time for both your professional as well as personal things.
  • Take the time off that is due to you. Take lunch and tea breaks. 
  • Don’t answer work calls in your off-the-clock times. 
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat healthy and exercise.
  • Do something you like. Get a hobby.
  • Use your technology to help you live more efficiently even in your personal life so you can free up more me-time. 
  • Practice mindfulnessTake care of your mind
  • Ask your boss/work for flexibility and to work remotely some days.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself and practice positive self-talk.
  • Commit to continuous improvement by developing positive habits daily.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. Expand and use your support system. 

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network did a World Happiness Report for The United Nations where “The World Happiness Index” ranks the national happiness based on responses from each country’s residents. “In 2020, South Africa was the 76th most happy country globally. Meaning, we are 15 countries more miserable than we were last year at this time” reports Howard Feldman in a News 24 article on these findings published in the World Happiness Report.

If nothing else, this is a clear indication that we don’t take care of our own happiness. We don’t see the dangers and sometimes only realise the importance once it is too late. Happiness is a choice. Living a balanced life is a choice. Mental and Emotional Wellness is a Choice. Choose right. “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” – Dolly Parton.