Work-life balance is the process of finding a happy medium between your work life and your personal life. For many professionals, this is a difficult balance to find due to their demanding work schedules. Focusing on work is seen as being successful in the workplace, but this has been found to be far from the truth. In fact, work-life balance leads to more career success on average.
It all started with Gen Xers, who learned a hard lesson from their parents. Baby Boomers were often swamped with work and had miserable personal lives because of this. It wasn’t like their parents had a choice; making a living meant hard work and recovering from the World War. 80% of Boomers state that they have issues with stress.
Looking at this, it’s no wonder Gen Xers were terrified of falling into this trap, so they spent more time with their families than their mothers and fathers did. This generation sees it as a prerequisite to have enough free time to spend with their loved ones. Millennials, however, took that a little bit further.
There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding Millennials. Seen as lazy, destructive and unappreciative, it’s difficult for this generation to shake it as they see work as a necessary part of life that, well, kind of sucks. They aren’t wrong, but the burden of massive student loan debt and rising costs means they have to work harder than their parents to remain afloat.
It has become an ever-evolving struggle for this generation to find a steady work-life balance, and the fear of finding a career that will stay long enough for them to make enough money is at the back of their minds. Companies have tried to remedy this by adding break rooms, but Millenials would rather more time off and less stressful work environments.
Developing professionally can be daunting, but it can also provide you with more independence if you’re able to build skills that are in-demand. One of the most obvious ways to achieve this is by taking online courses that interest you to improve your knowledge, or gaining a professional qualification that has a respected reputation.
If we consider the accountancy profession for example, you can earn a CPA license which potentially gives you more time, money and a more active social life once you become a recognised professional. It does take hard work however, from completing CPA review course study materials to passing the exams themselves, so you must be committed. Another example is pursuing an MBA degree if you have ambitions to become a business consultant. The opportunities are there if you’re willing to sacrifice your time in the short-term.
Creating Flexible Environments for Successful Careers.
With all of that said, how can a company promote this lifestyle but also your development? Why is it essential in the first place? How can this be done without sacrificing productivity?
Flexible work environments will improve work-life balance in a company. The ability to work at home, unlimited PTO and more time off will actually improve productivity in your company. A Nordic study found that reducing work hours while keeping pay the same actually improves productivity and happiness in their employees. Basically, the more time people stay with their friends and family, the happier we are.
You also learn better when you’re not tired, and you remain focused for longer the more breaks you take. Killing yourself over a career isn’t worth it, and it actually hurts your progress. Employers need to understand that the better they treat their employees, the more their profits will rise.