For years, work-life balance has been one of the workers' main demands. To achieve a balance, it is essential that one of these aspects does not prevent the other from developing properly and that both the worker and the company are happy and healthy (both physically and mentally).
It is estimated that approximately two-thirds of people with a poor work-life balance have low morale, and one in three have poorer productivity. That's just in the short term. In the long term, people who work more than 55 hours a week (yes, although 40 hours is the maximum allowed, many works more than that) are at greater risk of coronary heart disease and are more prone to depression and anxiety. This is not only a problem (and a serious one) for them, but also costs the company and social security thousands of euros a year.
With the advent of the pandemic, teleworking has become popular and flexible working. One of the models advancing in this direction is no longer news to anyone. However, striking a balance is still complicated because working at home, let's face it, is not always a panacea. Many of you have experienced this during the pandemic, where despite being much closer to home and family, it has sometimes been even more difficult to maintain that balance. Those video calls ordering custom college papers with a screaming baby on the background, the noise of the washing machine, or a messenger knocking on the door.
Here are some tips on how to cope with the pace imposed on us by Western societies and be a little happier at work:
- Learn to say 'no': We often say 'yes' because it is easier, we are afraid of losing our job, or because it might mean harming our colleagues. But always saying 'yes' will not help the work-life balance, and without it, we will not perform well.
- Multitasking: Being able to multitask may seem like an advantage, but it is not efficient in most cases. The brain collapses when trying to accomplish more than one thing at a time, and in total, we will spend more time finishing all projects and failing in our attempts to write truly wow essays.
- Fixed schedules and routine: Plan tasks as much as possible. Do the same with breaks, and don't skip any. Literally and metaphorically speaking, fresh air is always good for concentration, so put them on your schedule.
- Limit time: We may think that more hours at the workplace means more productivity, but the truth is, more often than not, it doesn't. The more time we have to get a task done, the more time we have to do it. The more time we have to do a task, the more we procrastinate, it's called Parkinson's Law, and it says that work expands to fill all the time available to complete it. However, when you have less time, the brain knows this and focuses on the task quickly.
- Flexibility to increase motivation: According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (and many other social experiments conducted over the last few years), flexible working increases employee loyalty and motivation. The 'fixed' nine-to-six timetable is outdated. On the contrary, giving workers a choice is investing in their commitment and ensuring that the work will get done.
- Not just for when you have children: Although this idea is starting to be banished, many still think that if you don't have a family, you have more time to work and therefore have to take on the worst hours or overtime when necessary. All workers have the right to a full personal life, whether it is to look after a family, take judo lessons, or go for a walk in the countryside.
- Educate 'hoover' bosses or colleagues: Don't answer work calls or emails outside your working hours. There will always be bosses or colleagues who, for some reason, are working longer and will try to absorb the rest to justify their excessive dedication or simply to feel less lonely.
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