Work life balance: tips for bosses (and their workers)

7 min read
Digvijay Singh

A recent study conducted by Monster India concluded that more than 60% of Indian professionals find their work life balance to be between ‘average to terrible.’

The matter is more serious than it seems — 67% of them say they either ‘sometimes, often or always think about their work even if not at work.’

The gravity of the situation becomes evident from the resulting work-induced ailments. High stress levels lead to health issues like:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Back pain
  • Obesity
  • Headaches

The problems don’t end at health issues. They extend to issues relating to maintaining relationships and family time.

Work life balance for women has become an oxymoron.

Every day they are juggling their job work with household chores and taking care of their children.

In such a scenario, it becomes imperative on the part of the employer to promote a conducive environment for work life balance.

4 ways business owners can improve work life balance

Here are four ways small business owners can improve work life balance for themselves and their employees.

  1. Adopt ‘flextime.’
  2. Bring their hearts back to the office.
  3. Time off should be time off.
  4. Encourage holidays and vacations.

Once you’ve read our list, keep reading for 5 ways employees can improve their own work life balance.

1. Adopt ‘flextime’

Work Life Balance Person with Laptop
Photo: Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Flextime is a work policy that allows employees to choose the hours they want to work in.

Their employer sets the number of work hours to be completed and allows them to choose a reasonable timing for themselves.

Other work arrangements that you could try are:

  • The remote working facility for easy commute
  • Telecommuting, where an employee comes to the office only twice or thrice a week and the rest of the days works from home
  • Part-time jobs for some profiles that do not demand full-time work

Such arrangements can be a boon for work life balance for women who want to be in the work force and take care of their children at the same time.

2. Bring their hearts back to the office

It’s extremely difficult for working parents to concentrate on their work when they have someone to take care of at home.

Their attention gets divided between their responsibilities at work and at home.

Having a small crèche or play area can bring employees’ focus back to work. Not just that, they will be more loyal to your company for this competitive advantage and also grateful to you for being so considerate.

Read more about how to choose a crèche partner here (includes less-expensive options for very small businesses).

3. Time off should be time off

Staying back till late hours in the office is often regarded as hard work and praised and encouraged by seniors.

This short video got popular on social media for highlighting this issue.

Employees are often expected to work on the weekends and do overtime. It is very common to make frequent calls to the employee even if he/ she has left the office or is on leave.

Business owners should evaluate the employee’s performance on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and not on the extra hours that he/she has stayed back in the office.

4. Encourage holidays and vacations

Vacations are a necessity, not a luxury.

In a study conducted by a researcher at Alertness Solutions, it was found that the respite effect of a vacation can increase performance by 80%.

A weekend is only a short relief, and most often the employee is not able to completely unplug himself from the work.

As an employer, you should take the command to spot any burnout in your office. Burnouts are often visible in the form of:

  • Frequent absences
  • Sudden fall in efficiency
  • Physical exhaustion

If you can catch employees early and encourage them to take paid vacation leave, you will keep them working for you longer and better.

5 ways employees can improve their work life balance

While complaining about the employer and the work culture of our companies, we forget that there’s a lot we can do at the individual level.

1. Spot your productive hours

Are you a morning person or a night person? Everyone has a time of day when his or her energy level is at a peak and is most productive.

Have a look at the list of your day’s tasks and mark all the important parts of your work that require the most focus to be completed at that time.

Doing so will help you deliver quality work on the tasks that matter most and finish your day sooner.

2. Social detox

On average, employees spends more than 2.3 hours on social media during work time.

  • Spending time on social media is a waste of time unless you’re a social media manager
  • If you’re switching between work and personal social notifications, then you’re spending more energy doing multitasking

That means you’re soon going to feel fatigued, which will hamper your productivity at work.

If you want a small break during work hours, go for a walk, close your eyes and relax or even have a quick chat with colleagues. Any of these are more relaxing than the eye-straining addiction of social media browsing.

3. Unplug

Not bringing office work home will not suffice.

It is important to mentally train yourself that you’re not supposed to work post-work hours unless it is critical and urgent. A few tips:

  • Stop responding to unimportant emails and calls after work hours.
  • When on leave or vacation, use out-of-office auto-replies.

Another option is to enrol yourself for your favourite hobby class. This will start a wave of new excitement in your life.

4. Do what you love the most

Starting a new venture alongside your day job may sound a bit impractical, but if done in the right way this can reap major benefits for you in the long run.

83% of India workers aspire to become entrepreneurs as against the global average of 53%.

It is always a good idea to start a business in the niche that interests you the most.

Since you would be burning the midnight oil, it will soon become difficult if it isn’t something that interests you enough. Here’s a list of 7 business ideas that you can start from home now.

Once you start making enough cash to equal your current salary, you can quit the stressful corporate job and enjoy the work life balance of doing what you love.

5. Take care of mind, body and soul

Work Life Balance Woman Outside Meditating
Regular meditation is a proven tonic for stress.

Another important thing that we often forget is increasing our tolerance to stress. Yes, this is possible!

Yoga and meditation have been clinically proven to help combat psychological stress like anxiety, depression and pain.

Different asanas, postures, movements and breathing exercises increase blood circulation, revitalizing every cell of your body.

Meditation enhances awareness, physical stamina and the capacity to focus.

It’s all about balance

Life is about enjoying every moment that you live, either at work or at home.

Are you enjoying every moment?

If not, then working towards work life balance in your life is one of the best things you can do for yourself and every person you touch.

Remember, don’t expect immediate results. It’s a mindset shift and therefore is a gradual process that takes time.