Leading a healthy work-life balance can be a daunting prospect. With the overwhelming COVID-19 crisis, work-life balance has yet to lose its equilibrium. But how do we maintain normalcy despite the external challenges?
The simple realities of human existence consume a chunk of our time. Many employees have become too busy making a living they forget to make a life. The legal profession is not an exemption to this.
Lawyers are notorious for having intense and long work hours. The first trial any lawyer could go through would be balancing life and their careers. But what exactly disrupts this balance?
Often, work precedes everything in our lives. Even during the Great Recession, workforces have long been struggling to maintain balance. They worked for long hours to keep up with economic crises.
With the advancement of technology, work, and life balance has completely taken a new turn. The two have become hard to distinguish even more. Making them distinct in terms but competing demands says otherwise.
In 2006, more than 53% of employees were satisfied with their work-life balance. By the end of 2009, this 53% had dropped to 30%, the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) reported. While technology may have played a part in this decline, it is not always that way.
On the flip side, many companies leverage technology to enhance work-life balance. More and more firms are developing a culture to motivate their employees. Studies suggest that well-rounded employees are the most productive at home and work.
Similarly, companies that enhance healthy work-life balance are the most successful. The process of achieving this healthy balance despite external challenges lies in incorporation. Yes, that is, incorporating principles without getting passed up.
We must navigate our professional and personal lives sustainably. That is, taking a breather and encouraging new sets of realistic goals to go about our daily lives. That said, let us dive into some of the ways on how we can successfully incorporate balance in our daily lives.
Maintaining a Work-Life Balance as a Lawyer
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Working long hours and being more productive are two different things. In countries such as Britain, working hours are longer than in neighboring European countries. But this did not help increase productivity nor entail effectiveness at work.
High overtime levels can be a health hazard. Indeed, Mental Health Foundation research shows that 27% of overworked employees have depression. While 34% have anxiety, and 58% are irritable.
This research suggests that working longer hours backfires. As an employee or an employer, it is best to advocate efficiency rather than the long-hour culture. Not only will it foster a culture of efficiency, but it will also enhance morale at work.
Promote Mental Health Initiatives
Most employees who work long hours lack time to dedicate to their health and fitness. It takes effort to get in shape while managing a demanding profession. The workplace is a great place to start setting up a healthier work culture.
More employers should promote mental health for a better work-life balance. Start with policies, programs, and incentives that reinforce healthy mental well-being. Social support is an opportunity to recognize and help suffering employees.
Another great option would be conducting seminars and wellness campaigns to reduce stigma. Work does not always mean physical exhaustion. Mental health is as important as finding that work-life balance.
Promoting a work-life balance always starts in a supportive and happy environment. Take a breather and reclaim control. Remember to hold space for the things that give hope, joy, and purpose despite the long hours at work.
Encouraging mental well-being is important but so does creativity. Employees have to love the process of working itself. Stimulating creativity at work will set the stage for a happier work-life culture.
Dedicating time to promote creativity will not only help craft great ideas. It will foster a collaborative environment. Incorporating artistic work in projects will also boost our passion for work.
Creativity only fosters when organizations and businesses allow it. Having a sense of creative connection to any output makes work feel less like work. Regardless of the industry, there are many ways to promote this.
An example of a company implementing this kind of culture would be Google. They offer at least 20% of the time to its developers to collaborate and spawn creative ideas. It gives the employees downtime while adding creativity to the work process.
No amount of work can bring about creativity. But a creative environment can prompt countless ideas and possibilities.
Plot Some Time Off Work
As much as work and career are priorities in life, it is important to leave work at work. Scheduling some alone time will help lessen pressures from our daily lives. We always look forward to weekends because they give us some sense of detachment from work.
Carving out a little time to ourselves will help us find peace no matter how busy life gets. It will help draw that clear line between work and life. There are a lot of simple ways we can find more time for ourselves.
Having time to connect with our loved ones or meditating can be very beneficial. Attending activities we love is also one great way to recharge and unwind. When we reconnect this way, it helps enhance our work-life balance.
Planning should be your ace in the Hole
Let us face it: planning ahead of time can have a significant impact on our work-life balance. Not planning ahead or at all is like taking our headshot. Making an effort in setting up schedules will help save a lot of time at work.
A timetable should include a balance between career and individual activities. Making ourselves accountable to the plans that we do (or don’t do) is a step ahead in this work-life balance. Having a set schedule from the beginning, will save us time at work and give us more time for ourselves.
Ask for Help whenever there is a Need
We understand how overwhelming work can be. Keeping things to ourselves can make it worse. Talking to someone will often ease any situation, no matter how big it seems.
Struggles about work are always best addressed when talking to our supervisors. We must get our problems across and have them addressed immediately. It will help settle any issues keeping us from delivering an output.
If this does not seem to work, seeking professional help is the best decision. Some companies help in finding counselors as well. Try as much as possible to make your life balanced.
Do not assume that you can make significant changes overnight. We must have a definite but realistic goal and remember, no efforts end in vain. Having and maintaining a work-life balance takes constant conscious effort.
Communicating Needs is not Selfish
We all have needs that can affect our lives in many different ways. All too often, we fail to communicate and assert what our needs are, especially at work. We should not let the pressures of work hinder us from fulfilling these needs.
We cannot always expect people to read our minds. That is why we must communicate honestly and openly. Be intentional, clear, and concise in expressing these needs.
Seeking help or asserting our needs is not always as easy as it sounds. But know that it is never selfish to speak up and share what you think is best for you.
Eat well, Sleep well
Eating and sleeping might sound normal, but still, most people take these for granted. What people seem to forget is that leading a healthy life lies in forming a healthy habit. Work-life balance is nothing when you are paying no attention to your health.
Pick a strategy that works for your goals and optimal performance in and out of the office. Doing the same thing will always get you the same results. Try something new; you might find the key to your work-life balance!
Most of us struggle to recharge from such a fast-paced world. And dealing with burnout can be frustrating. Even more so when work and life struggles come crashing down at once.
We must move up in time to maintain flexibility between work and other aspects of life. Incorporating the above principles in our daily lives will allow us to find our own Zen. That is how work-life balance truly works; that is how you get the best of both worlds.