Work-life balance has become a buzzword. It has become the sort of thing that high earning professionals on TV shows talk about with their families before they decide to move to the country and live off the land or some such plot device.
In short, it has become a fantasy about having this perfect balance where you come home smiling ready for a perfect family life. This is, of course, complete nonsense. Work-life balance is not some new age fantasy – it is an important part of your working life and here at 24-7 Staffing, we realise this.
The idea that a person needs a mixture of both work and leisure in their life is not a new one. It was originally proposed as far back as the 1800s and became prominent in the UK in the 1970s; it’s common sense. You need rest – any professional driver will tell you that. Drivers are subject to a requirement for maximum driving hours, and the law enforces that because driving tired is not a good idea. The same is true of air traffic controllers and a number of other jobs. Tired people make mistakes, so rest is a sensible requirement to stop accidents occurring. So all sorted, right? As long as you don’t overwork everything is fine.
No. This is not creating a work-life balance because it isn’t just about your working hours. The balance is more about the way you juggle the things you do in life rather than just the minutes you allocate to rest.
The generally accepted theory is that we need a mixture of events in our life. Work is one of these events because without it we wouldn’t be able to have a lot of the other things we need. Where the ‘balance’ bit comes in is not in simply reducing working hours, because everyone has a different level of comfortable working. The balance comes from making sure that the time you spend away from work meets your other needs. You need time to relax, not just rest. You need time to enjoy with friends and family – not just ‘be’ with them – and you need time to yourself for your own pursuits and interests.
This means that you need to make sure you set aside time to play football with the kids, take your partner to the cinema or go for a curry and a beer with your mates. Spend some time doing some things just because you want to – whether it’s making models or learning to play the harmonica.
The point is, you need to make rest happen because just ‘not being at work’ is not enough for most people. Nothing gets rid of a stressful day at work like an hour playing LEGO with the kids, or a relaxing evening at the cinema with a loved one.
So go for it. Do you job, do your hours, do the work thing, then go home and spend your time doing what you want to do. As your recruitment advisors, we highly recommend it.