The numbers should add up: On average, you work eight hours a day. Health experts recommend about the same amount of sleep. That leaves eight glorious hours a day, plus all the hours on the weekend, to do whatever you want.
Just like an inaccurate balance sheet, however, sometimes the numbers don’t add up. A survey by Gitnux revealed that about 66% of full-time employees don’t think they have a healthy balance between their jobs and life. With technology connecting us more than ever, about 60% of respondents felt that work-life boundaries were becoming increasingly blurred. The light at the end of the tunnel is that 72% realize the importance of balancing the two.
What happens when the scale tips too heavily towards work too often? How about when you’re preoccupied with work while at home, and preoccupied with home while at work? Is the idea of balance just an unrealistic pipe dream?
Not at all! Separating personal life from work so that neither infringes on the other is essential for holistic wellness and work efficiency. Below, you’ll find benefits of and tips to help you reach a healthy balance and for yourself and your firm.
The Benefits of Work-Life Balance
It’s essential that employees, managers, and executives all support the concept. Getting everyone on board is more easily achieved once they understand the benefits.
Mental Health – Little to no escape from work pressures can lead to burnout. Accountants can start to dread work. The brain will attempt to compensate with the overload by focusing on something else, leading to decreased productivity. A vicious cycle develops when projects and deadlines pile up, leading to even more stressed accountants. Accountants become worn out and irritable.
Physical Health – Stress isn’t all in your head. It has far-reaching physical impacts, too. It can lead to physical ailments, such as tension headaches or backaches from poor posture and inadequate movement. It can result in repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel or vision problems from staring at a computer screen. Undue pressures at the office increase the likelihood of high blood pressure and heart problems.
Mental and physical stress can also cost a company in the form of employee sick days, medical expenses, and turnover.
Creativity – Accounting and tax duties present unique situations requiring creative thinking. Ever rack your brain for a solution to a problem for what feels like ages only to come up with an answer the moment you stop trying so hard? It’s a common phenomenon, and it happens because relaxation breeds creativity.
Productivity and Success – Balance makes for more efficient work. When employees feel in control of their lives, including their jobs, they are happier. They experience improved focus and concentration. Presence of mind leads to more meaningful work. Employees are more engaged and dedicated to their work, co-workers, and employers.
Special Skills – Time spent pursuing interests outside work makes you better at your job. Your well-roundedness helps you more easily relate to client and employer needs. For example, with your love of flea market shopping, you’re the go-to accountant for spotting a good deal for your employer or saving extra money for your clients.
Bonus Benefits – Interests and hobbies lead to networking opportunities, resulting in more business. Socializing with co-workers increases workplace connections and fosters smoother teamwork.
Strive for balance and have regular conversations about ways to create it. As a result of these efforts, you’ll rise to the top as one of the best accounting firms to work forbest accounting firms to work for.
How to Create Work-Life Balance
Creating balance is about using time wisely, prioritizing what’s most important, and having the right mindset.
We can coach you on finding more time in your day: Go to bed at a decent time. Wake up early. Avoid time-wasters, like mindlessly scrolling through social media or checking your email. Schedule breaks to refresh and refocus your mind for work. Eat healthy. Move more. Find ways to delegate or use technology to cut back on menial tasks. Leave work at work.
Such information is easy to come by. So why the need for more work-life balance hacks?
It could be that the root of the issue isn’t actually about equalizing time, increasing productivity, multitasking, or spending more time at home. Typically, the heart of the matter is about a positive mindset (a shift in perspective) and feeling content.
Many describe a work-life balance in terms of outcomes, like:
- Being present with loved ones
- Having a positive impact on society or the environment
- Being a good role model and leader to future generations
- Establishing important priorities
- Setting boundaries
- “Having it all” as realistically as possible
- Simplifying life
- Defining a careerpath
Employers and employees can work together to create a stellar company culture that fosters work-life balance and helps everyone achieve outcomes like the ones listed above. But with so many unique needs and motivations, how can a firm best meet the diverse desires of its workers?
- Start by simply communicating the importance of work-life balance—an uncomplicated yet impactful step.
- Next, ask employees what they think will help. Collaboration with employees will keep you from guessing, improve employee engagement, and show that management is receptive.
- Lead by example. For instance, when employees see you take small walking breaks at work, they’ll follow.
- Offer flexible work environments and schedules. Allow employees to determine their work hours and location when possible, provided no one abuses the privilege and everyone continues to meet deadlines.
Enjoying a Balanced Life
We can’t eliminate work stress entirely. There will be times when the work is overabundant, extremely challenging, and the answers unclear. However, the pressure doesn’t have to be (shouldn’t be) permanent. Employers and employees can work together to make their institution the best it can be.