With workplaces becoming increasingly more competitive, and hours becoming longer each year, it can be easy to see how family life can fall to one side in exchange for more time in the office. In a range of careers, from contractors to permanent staff in the technology industry, that balance is hard to come by – and even harder to maintain. So as an employee, as well as someone with a life outside of work, how can you strike that balance and keep it on an even keel in the long-term?
Here are just some of the ways you can better balance the amount of time spent in the office and the hours spent at home:
Get handy with a schedule
If you’re the type that prefers to go with the flow, you might find you’re losing precious hours in your day by not being more effective in your work. Having a clear timeline of what needs to be done, by when, and what your responsibilities are, can give you a clear overview of when you need to work, or when you’re getting things done at the last minute. Enhance your productivity, and you’ll soon be spending less time at your desk after-hours.
Create clear boundaries
While strict boundaries won’t work in all cases – for example, in on-call roles – it’s still possible to set clear expectations for your time outside of work. If you’re clear about what requires urgent attention and what can wait until working hours, sticking to those rules will become far more comfortable. Being firm about your time outside the office can pay off, provided you do it in the right way.
Get rid of the guilt
No-one needs to be at the beck and call of their workplace 24/7. Emails, texts and even phone calls can wait if you genuinely aren’t available, whether you’re on holiday or simply spending a day out with family. If possible, consider leaving any work-related communications devices at home. Whether it’s a phone, tablet or laptop, having no-tech times can be invaluable to keeping that delicate balance. For true emergencies, your workplace will likely have your personal phone number handy.
A work-life balance doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing for everyone. But as a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t be spending twice as long at work as with your family each week. Once you know how to make the balance work, you’ll be in a far better position for a better home life – and less chance of burnout as well.