More Than Half Of Employees Across The World Struggle With Work-Life Balance
This is a guest post by Jacob Shriar of OfficeVibe. Take it away, Jacob!
There is a serious issue going on in the workplace.
Employees all over the world are overworked, tired, stressed, unhealthy, and unhappy.
We recently conducted one of the biggest research reports on employee engagement called the “State of Employee Engagement” where we looked at different engagement metrics from thousands of employees in 150+ countries.
In the Wellness metric, we noticed some pretty shocking statistics, like:
- 60% of employees notice that their job is taking a toll on their personal life.
- 42% of employees are either constantly sleep-deprived or tend to lack some sleep.
- 48% of people consider themselves stressed at work.
- 70% of employees take work home with them to complete.
But in my opinion, the most shocking statistic from the report was that 20% of employees are worried that they might lose their job in the next 3-6 months.
The amount of stress that that must be causing employees all around the world is unhealthy and unproductive.
Think about how much money is wasted each day by companies due to completely fixable issues.
Companies are missing out on a huge opportunity to calm those fears of employees.
What Companies Should Do About It
Companies have a responsibility to help their employees manage their stress and manage their workload.
It’s possible that companies are setting unusually high expectations from their employees.
As an example, according a poll from Gallup, one third of us feel like we are expected to check email outside of work.
This is just wrong.
There are two things that companies need to do right away to fix this issue.
- Remove the fear
- Set a good example
Companies can remove the fear by communicating more. Remember, there’s no such thing as too much communication.
Tell employees that they should enjoy their time, that ‘s okay to take time off, and that working too hard isn’t healthy.
The way that companies can set a good example is by having the leadership practice good work-life habits.
You might not realize it, but employees are looking to the leadership team as an example, and might feel bad about taking time off if they see that none of the leaders are doing so.
If leaders are overworking themselves, then it must be expected for employees to overwork themselves too.
An important lesson for leaders is that even though you work hard to create a culture in your company, leadership behaviors are just as important.
What You Should Do About It
Work-life integration is the key.
You need to be able to manage your work around your life, not your life around your work. If you can blend the two successfully, you’ll be much happier and more productive.
Much of the reason why we have so much trouble balancing work and life is rooted in fear.
If you can learn to let go of that fear, you’ll have a much easier time blending the two together in a smooth, stress-free way.
According to a survey released by WorkplaceTrends.com, there is a serious disconnect between what managers think and what employees think.
They found that 67% of employers feel workers have work-life balance, but 45% of employees disagree. Employees in the survey felt like they didn’t have enough time during the week for personal time.
“One in five employees surveyed spent over 20 hours working outside of the office on their personal time per week”
The key is to enjoy what you do and work hard to remove stress from your life. The stress caused from your job is likely the reason for that imbalance.
Here are a few simple, actionable tips you can use to reduce stress from your life.
1. Practice Relaxation Techniques
This is an obvious tip, but a powerful one that’s easier said than done.
Taking time during the day to relax or meditate can help you lower your stress levels and make your work more enjoyable.
There are a few good ideas for you to do, like:
- Deep breathing exercises
And none of these things require a lot of time. All that matters is that you do them for a few minutes during your day consistently. Over time, you’ll be able to handle stress much better.
The benefits of exercise are just unbelievable.
It benefits almost every aspect of your life, and is what’s known as a “keystone habit”, meaning that it leads to other good habits in your life. When you exercise, you’re more likely to eat better, and more likely to have more energy, and it leads to an all around better life.
In terms of stress, regular exercise has been shown to lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in your body.
3. Eat Well And Drink Lots Of Water
Studies have shown that limiting your caloric intake, or not eating enough, raises cortisol levels in your body.
Staying hydrated is also important for managing your stress levels, and is also good for your general health and productivity.
Most people don’t eat enough during the day because they’re too busy (rushing out the door without breakfast), but it’s important to fuel your body.
4. Chat With Your Coworkers
Having friends at work, or more importantly, social support, is important for lowering your stress levels.
Studies show that the more social support a person has, the lower their stress hormone will be.
Take some time during the day to chat with your coworkers and build friendships with them. Those friendships will help you enjoy your work more.
What Do You Do To Manage Stress And Work-Life Balance?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!