Many professionals in the world today believe in “having it all”, meaning they want the spouse, the family, the great career, the white picket fence, and lots of interesting hobbies. The problem with “having it all” is that there are only so many hours in the day to do it all. This is where the idea of work-life balance comes into play. Business Dictionary defines this term as “A comfortable state of equilibrium achieved between an employee’s primary priorities of their employment position and their private lifestyle.” But let’s dig into this concept a little deeper and review why the idea of work-life balance is so critical.
In the past few decades, two-parent households have seen a climb in the number of homes with both parents working full-time. As both parents have entered into careers, more time is taken away from household chores during the day. This means more housework is being done during family time in the evenings than may have been the case in 1970. In addition, there is a new generation rising to the family stage in life, and Millenials believe in experiences and taking full advantage of the world around them. In essence, there has been a shift in thinking over time that work should not control people, and people should be able to enjoy the things they love most like their family and chosen extracurricular activities. This change in thinking was given the name work-life balance.
This concept is not just a phrase to throw around when feeling lazy at the office, though. There is some research on the importance of maintaining a work-life balance. For instance, studies show that one in four Americans describes themselves as super stressed, and when stress levels increase, productivity decreases. Stress can also negatively impact the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack, and cause mental instability in the form of depression and anxiety. Being super stressed is not healthy or in balance.
By striving to find the proper balance between work and life, employees are improving their health, their happiness, and their productivity on the job. Everyone truly wins when the concept of work-life balance is believed in and pushed for because every entity involved is receiving the best performance and care from the employee at the center.