How To Improve Your Work/Life Balance
The art of juggling your career and personal time with friends and family, whilst staying in good health, can be challenging. Ironically, technology, flexible schedules and the ability to work from any location has blurred the line between “work” and “life”, making it harder for people to really switch off from their work, even when it’s in their best interest to do so.
This is evidenced by a survey Richard Lloyd conducted around Stress and the Sydney Accountant, where over half the respondents suggested that they didn’t have a good work/life balance. In fact, work/life balance has actually worsened for Australian professionals over the past five years, with 46% of employees believing that an expectation to work longer hours is the culprit.
In the Accounting industry it can be easy to become a workaholic, either by choice or out of habit. If this is you, then it may be a good time to re-evaluate your priorities and put your well-being first. Read on to discover how you can achieve a healthier and improved balance where your work and life can co-exist in harmony.
PRIORITISE AND PLAN AHEAD
Gone are the days where staying at your desk from 7am to 7pm just to be seen was the ‘norm’. Moving to more of an ‘outcome and deliverable’ model, provides employees the ability to work in their own way.
Generally, achieving the perfect balance, irrespective of the work model, will not always be realistic and it will certainly look different to each business, and individual. It will also change throughout the years, depending on the role and your personal situation. However, if you’re looking to nail down a routine to help you both in and out of the office, start by putting self-care at the forefront of your priorities. Each week, try to organise your diary to just spend time with your family and friends, or do a hobby that you enjoy. Savouring and enjoying the time you spend away from the office can help you to come back to work healthier, happier and even more engaged.
Other forms of self-care can include getting enough rest, eating a good diet and exercising. You can even put this into action at work. Going for a walk on your lunch break, getting some fresh air and treating yourself to a healthy meal to give your body fuel, can help re-energise you for the rest of the day. On your days off, try to completely disconnect from your work phone and emails, and spend this time with people that work might have kept you from. By doing this you’ll have time free from distraction, where you can re-connect with important people that you haven’t seen in a while.
At the other end of the spectrum, your personal life can also interfere with your performance at work. A wellbeing survey shows that 45% of employees admit to feeling stressed about family issues whilst in the office. If this is the case, give yourself a break and take a day’s annual leave to unwind. Save yourself from stress so that you don’t jeopardise both your personal well-being and your work.
GO HOME ON TIME
Research shows that the more hours you put in at the office, the less productive you’ll be. Get into the habit by setting yourself one or two days where you aim to go home on time. Try to avoid unnecessary meetings and prioritise your tasks. Making the most of your time means you’ll get more done in an hour than you usually would when flitting between multiple tasks.
These steps might sound good on paper, but accounting professionals are all too familiar with heavy piles of work where overtime slowly creeps in, especially at those peak times around month end and annual budgeting etc. Although your Manager will be aiming to ensure deadlines are met, your well-being should also be one of their priorities. Rather than tiring yourself out by always working late, leaving the office at a reasonable hour can counteract stress, and thus have a positive impact on your overall work performance. Stick to your personal policy and set a few days aside to leave on time. This way your body and mind will be in sync and in the right state to steer ahead, accomplish goals and meet deadlines.
Working long hours can sometimes interfere with your personal downtime and time spent with family. When work becomes too much, looking into cutting back or moving hours around can be a good option, giving you the ability to start at a better time or finish earlier in the day. This greater flexibility has already started to become an option for Australian employees, with two of the country’s big-hitters, ANZ Bank and the Australian Stock Exchange, offering flexible hours. However, obviously this can come at a cost to your remuneration, so work with your Manager to determine the changes that may be possible to avoid any further impact to your stress levels. Changes can include the length of hours worked, location and the pattern of work. For more information on Flexible Working arrangements, consult the National Employment Standards.
Working from home or doing less hours can help you if you’re a parent or guardian, or if you’re just struggling to keep up. If flexibility is not an option with your employer, then you might want to look at other alternatives. At Richard Lloyd we’re committed to finding the role that best fits the needs of all of our candidates, and work on a range of great opportunities including part time, contract or temporary roles that cater to your situation and work/life balance.
Work is an important part of life, but it should be meaningful and enjoyable, and it shouldn’t interfere with your personal life. Take steps to break away from the “workaholic” mindset and you’ll soon see improvements to both your personal well-being and work performance. If you need any assistance or if you’re concerned about your work/life balance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our specialist Recruiters for more advice.
Geoff Balmer, Founding Director at Richard Lloyd Accounting Recruitment