How do you balance family life and work-life?

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A good work life balance is something many of us strive for – but do we achieve it?

A good work-family or work-life balance is where you have a good, healthy balance between your working and home commitments, and are actively contributing and fulfilled in both areas of your life. A poor work-family or work-life balance is where you don’t have a good balance between work and home life.

What does a good work-life balance look like?

This will be different for everyone.  A good work-life balance could be achieved from flexible working arrangements that make it easier for you to meet your childcare commitments alongside work. It might be where you have time to yourself to look after your mental wellbeing away from work and family commitments. It might be just being able to switch off when you leave work, confident that your weekend/non-working time won’t be disturbed by emails.

Ultimately, it’s about being able to meet all your work and personal commitments and goals without feeling overwhelmed or unduly stressed on either side of your life.

What causes poor work-life balance?

There isn’t really a set list of the causes of a poor work-life balance.

A poor work-life balance occurs where you can’t manage both work and family commitments. It’s where you’re working long hours, and/or working at such a pace that you haven’t any energy left for the kids. It’s where you’re burnt out, haven’t got any headspace for family things, or can’t concentrate at work because you’re in a spiral of stress, panic, guilt, and feeling inadequate.

As to the causes, this can be having too much work to do in the time available.  Perhaps your manager is delegating too much, or staff cuts (or other people being off sick) has led to too much work for you to do.  It could be that you haven’t been properly trained to do the work you’re being asked to do. It could also be caused by being treated unfairly at work – for instance, being bullied by a colleague or your manager, being harassed or discriminated against.

We’ve recently seen a massive upturn in stress caused by the pandemic, and suddenly having to change how we work, not having contact with others, home schooling alongside working, all of which can be expected to leave you with just too much on your plate than you can deal with for long.

taking holidays is an important part of work-life balance for many of us.

How does poor work-life balance feel?

The short answer is it feels pretty horrible.  I’ve been there.

Perhaps you feel guilty for not giving 1000% at work and at home (no that % wasn’t a typo). Perhaps you’re making mistakes, or suddenly lacking confidence. Certainly, you’ll be feeling really stressed. Your confidence might be low, because you’re run down, exhausted mentally, and feel under so much pressure that you’re failing on all fronts. You therefore might not be taking breaks or time for yourself, because you feel that you’re not spending enough time on others’ needs.

I often describe it as a spiral, heading downwards (obviously).  One thing after another hammers you down in some way, and off you go, down a bit further.  Without the energy and motivation that we get from taking time to ourselves, to exercise, to do something we love, or just to breathe, it’s harder and harder to snap out of the funk.

What can you do about it?

Get some help.  This comes in all sorts of forms – I’m not a self help guru or counsellor, so I’m going to stick to what I know and how I can help.  There are other people far more qualified on the psychological side than me.

Let’s assume the cause is something at work – workload or being bullied or otherwise – we’ll consider putting a grievance together, and I’ll tell you to see your GP or speak to your private medical provider or EAP for advice.  Depending on what you want to achieve – restore relations, leave, otherwise – we’ll work out a plan to try to get there.

Employment Law Solicitor

If you need more help with the subjects covered here then do reach out to our expert solicitors.  You can speak to our employment solicitors online via email employment@qlaw.co.uk or call us on 03300 020 863.

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