Better Work-Life Balance – Five Tips

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Better Work-Life Balance – Five Tips</span>

Finding time for family, friends, and exercise while delivering at work, meeting deadlines, and supporting colleagues – but at the same time, beware of the temptation to catch up on work in the evenings and weekends. Creating a balance between work and leisure is challenging, especially for those who work fully or partially remotely. As a manager, how should you act to provide the best conditions for your employees? And what can you, as an individual employee, keep in mind? We'll guide you! Successfully balancing work and leisure – commonly referred to as work-life balance – has become an increasingly discussed topic, particularly as digitalization has made it possible to work practically anytime and anywhere. Work-life balance simply means investing in a sustainable way of working so that our time and energy are sufficient for all aspects of life. A good balance between work and leisure reduces the risk of stress, burnout, and sick leave among employees. At the same time, efforts to achieve a good balance are also seen as a crucial part of an attractive employer brand – so important that it tops the list of what we Swedes value most when choosing employers. That being said, what can you and your colleagues do to achieve balance in this important aspect? Here are our best tips for both managers and employees.

Five Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance

  1. Responsive leadership As a manager, you play a vital role in providing your employees with tools to find a functional balance between work and leisure. Research shows that responsive and communicative leadership – where the manager provides support through structure, frameworks, and priorities – can be crucial for how employees perceive their work situation. Here are some actionable tips for you as a manager: - Foster a culture of openness and dialogue where employees are encouraged to share how they are doing – especially if they are experiencing difficulties at work or if there are circumstances in their family life that affect their work situation.- Be vigilant about how much your employees are working and take action if there is a risk of stress and overload. - Are you working from different locations and rarely have the opportunity to spontaneously meet at the coffee machine or in the corridor? Opt for regular check-ins through chat and audio/video meetings instead, where you can update each other on how you're doing and how things are going. - Ensure that you have shared (and reasonable) expectations regarding tasks to be performed, deadlines, and who is responsible for what. Assist employees in prioritizing tasks if there's a lot on their to-do list. Providing clear guidelines (without micromanaging) reduces the risk of stress and unhealthy workloads.
  2. Flexibility and consideration for employee preferences Research on work environments often emphasizes employees' influence over their work situations as a success factor for well-being and a sustainable work-life balance. It simply means giving employees more freedom to structure their workday in a way that suits them – to the extent the business allows. Flextime, for example, is a way to facilitate the puzzle of everyday life and is a popular benefit in many workplaces. Creating customized solutions regarding where the work should be performed can also be a good solution. Some may prefer working solely at the office, while others find remote work a perfect fit, and some may prefer a combination of both. By being responsive to each employee's preferences and external circumstances, such as housing and family situations, you create the best conditions for a sustainable work-life balance.

    Raise questions about balance and recovery during employee conversations and workplace meetings.

  3. Common ground rules for email and phone calls Making a work call during breakfast, responding to emails while picking up your child from preschool, finishing that report on Sunday evening... Do you often find yourself working on the go when your mobile phone and laptop are always within reach? Flexibility has its pros and cons. On the one hand, it offers the freedom to juggle the demands of daily life. On the other hand, it carries the risk of constantly working, compromising our much-needed recovery time. To achieve a healthy work-life balance, it is essential to set functional boundaries for how and when we are available. Perhaps you and your colleagues have the opportunity to completely shut down your computers, set your phones to silent mode, and turn off email notifications outside of regular office hours. If not, make sure to discuss the norms and expectations (both explicit and implicit) regarding accessibility. In which situations is it acceptable to make work-related calls or send emails in the evenings, mornings, and weekends? What are reasonable response times for different types of matters? How does this apply during vacation periods?
  4. Increase Your Knowledge and Awareness Achieving a clear division between work and personal life is easier said than done – especially now that the workplace has increasingly invaded our homes physically. Moreover, the extent to which we want to separate or integrate these two spheres is largely individual. Researchers have identified as many as seven different ways, or types, in which we choose to manage the boundaries between work and personal life. Are you a time separator or a personal life integrator? You can find out which type aligns best with you here (in Swedish). An essential step in actively working towards a sustainable work-life balance is to become aware of and discuss how you and your team function. What specific strategies and methods work for you? For example, make sure to raise issues of boundary setting, balance, and recovery during employee conversations and workplace meetings.
  5. Strategies for remote workers – walk "to work" and create a work zone at home Are you (partly) working from home? Are you one of those who strive to maintain (at least to some extent) clear boundaries between work and personal life? Here are some strategies that can help you achieve a balance between work and leisure: – Stick to your usual schedule and routines. Many find it easier to "switch on and off work mode" by maintaining similar routines as if they were going to their physical workplace. This could involve waking up at the usual time, dressing in your regular work attire, and adhering to similar start and end times during the day. Also, remember to take your regular lunch breaks and pauses.– Create a designated work zone at home, a specific area where you work, and keep your computer and work materials. Avoid working from the bed or couch if possible, as the brain associates these places with rest and leisure. – Don't forget to stay active! Consider taking a short walk during lunchtime or to and from your home office in the morning and afternoon. Besides providing exercise, it helps you mentally check in and out of work. – Ensure disciplined work habits once you start your workday. By giving yourself the best conditions to tick off today's to-do list, you won't feel the need to compensate with extra work in the evenings or on weekends. For example, try to resist the temptation (however challenging it may be) to tackle laundry or dishes during work hours. Save such chores for your leisure time. – Schedule leisure activities in your calendar that "force" you to step away from your home office. It could be exercise, a walk-and-talk with friends, or a movie night with family – find what gives you the recovery you need!

Achieving a Better Work-Life Balance – Here Are the Tools That Will Help You

A good balance between work and leisure – without unhealthy stress and excessively long workdays – requires long-term efforts, great awareness, and ongoing dialogue in the workplace. In the meantime, it's good to know that there are smart tools available to support you along the way. Our web-based HRM system, for example, offers smart features that provide a perfect overview, minimize complex administration, and facilitate the time puzzle for employees, managers, and administrators. Our time and project reporting tools help you keep a close eye on working hours, including flextime, parental leave, compensatory time off, and overtime, and ensure that your hours are spent on the right things. In addition, HR managers and supervisors have access to a user-friendly dashboardthat makes it easy to monitor sick leave, employee turnover, overtime, and other critical key metrics – enabling timely and appropriate actions. Would you like to learn more about how our comprehensive solution can contribute to a more innovative and sustainable workday? Feel free to contact us!

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