Almost a third of UK workers feel that they have a poor work-life balance, so it’s becoming an important issue to address. In addition to affecting our relationships and home life happiness, it can also affect our mental health. Suit trousers and formal wear retailers CT Shirts investigated the best way to manage a good work-life balance, drawing some tips from other countries who report better work-life balances
The current situation is not ideal for UK workers, but there are some small changes that can be made, even though we cannot change the regulations of our workplace.
Ask your employer about the possibility of splitting the break you take. Research has proven that breaks that are taken regularly can increase productivity, which will therefore make it something that they’d be willing to support. An hour break split up into half an hour and two 15-minute breaks will decrease the amount of time you otherwise continuously spend at your desk. Go out and get some valuable fresh air or perhaps spend time talking to some friends and family on the phone, each time taking a small action like this with the aim of aiding in the reduction of your stress levels.
Commuting for long periods can lead to stress and depression, this according to one study. This therefore makes for a strong reason to propose flexi-time at your official workplace, which would allow you to skip the traffic to rather do something more productive – both in the morning and during the post work-day peak-traffic rush. Obviously though this isn’t an option available to everybody. Your commute could be made to feel more productive though, this by engaging in something constructive such as listening to a podcast or audio book that can reduce the stress of rush-hour traffic. As an alternative, you could go to a gym class near to your work as this can mean that you miss the bulk of the busy traffic, allowing you to fit some exercise into your day as well!
As difficult as this can be, restrict yourself from checking emails when you’ve finished your workday. Consider the long-term issues that can be created by mixing home and work life, aiming to check your emails only for ten minutes every evening instead of an hour. The same goes for working overtime. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, make sure to stick to the number of hours that you’re contracted to and no more. Otherwise this can not only affect your mental health, but it can also lead to employers being “spoilt” and expecting this self-abrasive behaviour of you all the time.
Make sure you’re making full use of your annual holidays to recharge and spend time with friends and family. We’re perhaps all a little guilty of using our holidays to run errands or to do something that we’ve been meaning to get around to, but this isn’t always helpful for our work-life balance. Although we will need to do this now and then, annual leave should be primarily used to recuperate, relax and enjoy time away from the office, so try and make this your focus.