When you’re part of a high-pressure industry like legal, banking or finance, striking any sort of balance can feel challenging to say the least. But we know unequivocally that balancing our personal and professional lives is nothing short of essential for our wellbeing, mental health, and quality of life.
Work-life balance is far easier to achieve in some sectors than others. Pressurised industries haven’t always lent themselves particularly well to flexible working, personal commitments, or a life beyond the office.
But things are starting to change, and that change can start with you.
Setting Your Own Boundaries, In and Out of Work
We talk about the effects of the pandemic in a lot of our work, but that’s because its impact on working culture and the business environment is monumental, and largely unprecedented.
Lockdown brought mental health into the spotlight, because so many people struggled. And ultimately, it was people’s families and support networks that got them through – rather than careers that were often put on ice. But furloughed or not, the events of those 18 months made people realise something: work isn’t everything.
With the dawn of a new age of working, employees – including those in highly pressurised industries – want work to work for them. They don’t want to be burnt out and stressed out; they want to be able to give their all to their careers, and their lives outside of work.
So what steps can you take to achieve a better work-life balance?
5 Steps to a Better Work-Life Balance
1. Set Boundaries
How many hours are you willing to work in a week? When do you want to sign off of an evening? Do you want your weekends free from emails? When you’re part of an industry that won’t set limits for you, you have got to set them for yourself. Do an audit of your current working practices, and draw up a plan for regaining your balance.
If you’ve decided to stop checking your emails late into the night, make sure your team is aware. You’ll be setting a great example, and managing expectations. It’s also really important to communicate when you need support (with work or your wellbeing), and to speak out if your workload is becoming too much. Don’t run yourself into the ground.
3. Take Regular Breaks
When your workload is high it can feel counterintuitive to take time off, but as the old adage goes, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’. Make sure you’re using up all of your holiday allowance, and taking time to recharge each and every week. Your performance at work will be a whole lot better for it.
4. Get Help at Home
Having a high-pressured job and juggling everything that needs to be taken care of at home can leave you without any time for yourself. Hiring a cleaner, paying for someone to take your ironing off your hands, or using a meal delivery service can all help to free up valuable time by taking care of those essential ‘life admin’ tasks.
5. Map Out Your Week
Make a table with the days of the week split into two-hour time slots. With one colour, block out the hours you’re going to work; with another colour, set aside time for any life admin you’ve not been able to outsource. It may seem overly regimented, but you should also schedule relaxation time, family time, and time for any hobbies.
Reconnect With Your Why
Our careers can be extremely rewarding; they bring us purpose and give us the buzz of achievement – so long as they’re not a constant drain on our wellbeing.
Most people in high-pressure industries are ambitious, driven, and love the thrill of hard work. But for the good of your health, this has to balance with rest, relaxation, and a life beyond your day job. It also has to be something you’re passionate about.
So ask yourself: do you still love what you do?
Think about what motivated you to become part of your industry in the first place. Is that motivation still strong? You should also think about what matters to you, as our values and priorities change over time. Does your job still align with those priorities?
Next up, think about your strengths and what you most enjoy about your job. If one part of your role is detracting from the rest and causing excess stress, is it something you can delegate – or perhaps an area you can get more training in?
Job satisfaction is actually a really big part of achieving work-life balance, as it makes our time in work far more enjoyable. So revisit your why, start setting yourself some healthy boundaries, and strike a balance that works for you.
BetterSpace is the employee wellbeing platform putting control where it belongs: in the hands of the individual employee. Our groundbreaking solution has been developed with medical and domain expertise and is aligned to our Six Pillars of Wellbeing. BetterSpace empowers your workforce to understand and fulfill their mental health needs.
This approach has achieved engagement rates of 94%, compared to the average usage rate of 2-18% for Employee Assistance Programmes and 10-40% for points solutions.
Want to know more? Schedule a product demonstration with us today.
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