These days, finding a healthy work-life balance may seem like an impossibly difficult task.
As work piles up and so does the stress and overwhelming thought of how it’ll all get done - leaving many employees feeling psychologically and physically burned out.
According to Harvard Business Review, the psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees can cost business owners an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the United States.
Work-life balance is defined as the state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes the demands of one’s career and one’s personal life. And even though we strive for balance, we’ve all been there.
We find ourselves thinking about what needs to get done at the office while we’re out with friends or family or even while we’re just watching television. We feel guilt and the need to make up for “lost time”, by putting in a few extra hours that evening once the kids are asleep, or heading in a few hours early.
From working overtime hours, feeling moody and irritable, and the constant dread of that to-do list never getting any smaller, how do business owners prevent workplace burnout? Here are a few ways that you can create a better work-life balance as a supportive business owner starting with yourself.
1. Don’t Strive for Perfection
Finding a good balance between your work prioritizes and your personal life isn’t easy. If it was, we’d all be doing it well, yet here you are reading this article. One of the first ways to achieve work-life balance, is to let go of perfectionism. Continually aiming to over achieve will only lead to disappointment. Be realistic - some days, everything on your to-do list might get finished, but other days, there might be tasks thrown your way that aren’t even under your job description. As long as you are putting in the effort, the hard work will show up eventually.
2. Learn to Unplug and Encourage Your Employees to do the Same
In today’s world, technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected to your work. From having your group chat notifications on to answering emails on the weekend, it’s often hard to truly disconnect. Set an example for your employees by prioritizing your personal time once the work day is over. The less reactive you are with work updates the more likely you are able to build control over your personal time. Don’t answer emails (unless absolutely necessary) and acknowledge to the team that you are done for the day. This is the start of setting healthy boundaries between your work and home life.
3. Find A Physical Outlet
It’s no secret that exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress and increase your mood. Dedicating time each week for yourself to get active will have major payoffs. Whether it’s a high intensity bootcamp class, laps at the pool, or shooting some hoops in the driveway, exercise is the greatest form of stress reduction. Prioritizing your mental and physical health first will inspire your employees to also take the time for themselves.
4. Respect You Team’s Personal Time
Remember when we said that reacting to work updates during your personal time was a no-go? So is sending those updates. As a leader, it’s so important to respect your employee’s personal time. While you may be putting in extra time over the long weekend, receiving emails may only cause your employees more stress. They may feel the need to answer, or find a solution, but the truth is the ones who respond right away are typically the ones who really need the break. If you do feel the need to send a note, save it as a draft and schedule it to go out first thing Monday morning.
5. Start Small and Build Your Way Up
Balance doesn’t start by biting off more than you can chew. Start with small individual changes and build your way up bigger steps. You don’t want to take on too much too quickly, as you may be setting yourself up for failure. For starters, if you are looking to stop working as much in the evenings, begin by cutting down to working only 3 evenings a week instead of every evening.
Striking a balance between the demand of work and the buzz of your personal life can seem daunting, but implementing boundaries and setting an example for your employees is a great way to foster a healthy work environment.