Never stop working…on your work life balance
Everyone has competing demands on their time. Work, family, home, responsibilities. For many of us, daily life is a juggling act as we attempt to meet the challenge of doing it all. Talk of finding balance between work and life has been around for a long time. But it seems somehow, elusive.
But work is part of life. Life and work don’t have to be two competing concepts. They are not binary. For some work is also a personal passion. A fundamental part of who we are and how we define themselves.
Technology has both enabled and challenged the idea of work life balance. It has allowed work to be done more flexibly in terms of time and location, but at the same time it brings with it the challenge of being constancy contactable. The pressure of the immediate response. Ever more ways of contacting and notifying us of something to look at Right Now. If there are lines between home and work, they are ever more blurred.
I have seen mention of a new term lately: work life integration. An acknowledgement perhaps that it is not balance that we should strive for but something else. A way in which we can integrate these two dimensions, these two fundamental parts of ourselves, and seek a way that that they can come together that is conducive to both good work and personal wellbeing. Or maybe, it is just old wine in new bottles. A new terms to blog about.
Many organisations are thinking about the work life balance of their employees, in some form or another. From family friendly policies to flexible working to wellbeing programmes, mindfulness and fitness stuff, there is no shortage of initiatives.
Whatever an organisation does, however enabling and supportive it may be, work life balance starts with us. The individual. All too often we don’t do enough for ourselves. We don’t make us a priority. Instead our work, our never ending ‘to-do’ list and the stuff and the stuff….. it all takes priority over our own health and wellbeing. Perhaps it feels a little selfish sometimes, to put yourself first. But self-care isn’t selfish.
What amounts to good work life balance is different for everyone. There is no simple, one size fits all formula. It isn’t, as the term suggests, about finding an equality between the two, but something that works for us and sustains our physical and mental health. What that looks like, changes from time to time too.
I once read that if you love something, if it nourishes you and gives you energy and helps you to thrive, whatever it is, make it non-negotiable. Fight for it if you have to. Create the space. Say no to something else to make it happen.
If you need to make changes in your life for your wellbeing, speak up. Your organiation might help you and provide activity, but they can’t own it.
Protect what is good for you. And finally, feel free to say no to the things that are not.
The best work life balance is the one we have created for ourselves. Only we can make it happen. Every day.
Policy, Wellbeing, Engagement