What is Work-Life Balance?
This term first came about in the US in the eighties, originating from the fact that people were working terribly long hours and sacrificing their home and family life.
Previously this might have meant staying at the office until late at night, or arriving pre-breakfast, but now everything is largely based in the digital realm. Phones always seem to be switched on, and emails can be checked with a few quick taps before we've even made it out of bed.
With our Director Steve recently going on his first holiday for 7 years without his laptop and properly switching off from business, I got to thinking about Work-Life Balance and what that means for me here at Sprechen.
Several of us here at Sprechen work remotely from home or our favourite coffee shop. When you're not physically entering the office at a certain time each day, it's easy to not have set start and finish times.
The upside to that is we can work at the times of day that is most convenient to us and our clients, and when we can be most productive for them.
Some people who work from home do stick to the standard 9-5 day, whereas others tend to work in blocks. I am definitely a block worker, mostly because I work part time and also because my working day is factored around my 2 boys - School runs, feeding times, bath and bedtimes. I am at my most productive and creative when my eldest is off at school and my youngest is napping.
This means I have a block of time in the middle of the day when I've already been active (doing the school run), eaten well (breakfast and lunchtime done) and I'm energised and fuelled for a concentrated couple of hours of working.
The rest of my afternoon is devoted to my boys, and once they're safely tucked up in bed I can log back on and finish off anything else that needs to be done for an hour or so. And then I switch off!
Only a few short years ago, http://gohomeontimeday.com/ found the following was true for working parents:
Almost a quarter felt that work and family life were in constant conflict, while 35% of parents state that their work affects their home life in a negative way.
Fewer than half of parents leave work on time every day, while 44% say that they can get away only half of the time or less, with 9% never leaving on time.
Almost a third report that there is no flexible working on offer where they work. While over half (66%) of parents do work flexibly.
Reading statistics like that just highlight the importance of finding a Work-Life Balance that works for your home life, and that's true whether you are a parent or not. It's so important to make time for your life outside work - Relationships, friends, family and yourself aswell. Finding time for self-care, exercise, eating well and resting enough are only going to benefit your motivation, productivity, focus and creativity at work.
This boost in employee happiness can be seen directly reflected in the success of the business, with huge benefits including:
Working with more energy and focus.
Improving health by reducing the stress and pressure from having to juggle work and home-life.
Better staff retention which in turn reduces the time spent training new staff, increases the amount of in-house expertise and boosts loyalty from staff.
Increasing productivity through enjoyment of role and having less stress.
I'm utterly grateful that I have such a great Work-Life Balance. I feel very lucky that I can feel so productive, motivated, helpful and valued in my work life, whilst still being able to take my eldest to and from school and spend the first precious years at home with my youngest. This for me is the epitome of Work-Life Balance.