Today’s busy working women are increasingly required to work long hours, whilst often caring for young children or elderly parents at the same time. They may work hard to develop their careers or to keep up with their male colleagues and time management can be an issue. Finding the perfect work-life balance in these circumstances can be a real challenge. However women who ignore these issues can find themselves vulnerable to workplace stress or more serious long term health conditions.
A recent survey discovered that 1 in 7 British employees now works more than 48 hours a week, leaving them with very little opportunity for relaxing at home with families, enjoying leisure pursuits. personal development opportunities or simply chilling out at home. Women working long hours in a pressurised environment need to take a step back to evaluate lifestyle choices before it is too late.
To ensure a healthy work-life balance it is essential to build in regular opportunities for rest and relaxation into a busy schedule. Relaxing activities could include joining a choir, signing up for a yoga class, or visiting a spa at the local gym. These are all low-cost activities which enable women to recharge their batteries and wind down. Alternatively just taking an hour out of a busy schedule to sit down and read a book over a cup of coffee or meeting up with friends for a cinema trip can make a real difference and help to diffuse stress levels. It’s never been easier to meet up with like minded people in your area, through online groups such as MeetUp, which are ideal for women who may not have a local support network.
If workplace stress is a regular issue then employees need to highlight this with line managers, rather than brushing the problem “under the carpet”. Women may feel reluctant to raise this issue, but open discussion will help a company to discover the size of the problem and put in place measures to counteract it. For example staff may benefit from opportunities to improve time management skills. Employers should also ensure that staff have a proper lunch break away from their desks, including the chance to get out in the fresh air.
If you are one of the many people who need to take work home regularly, then it’s a good idea to set up a home office so that you can work in comfort and shut the door on home-based overtime at the end of the day. It’s also essential to turn off work mobiles and computers so that they do not impinge on precious leisure time at weekends or during the evenings.
A healthy work-life balance improves relationships within the family and prevents chronic illness, stress and family breakup. With increased opportunities for part-time work, job-sharing, flexible hours and remote working using technology, this balance is achievable but staff and managers need to collaborate and communicate to make this ideal reality.