Tips For Identifying Gaps In Balance by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

In today’s fast-paced business world, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial yet increasingly challenging. Both leaders and employees often find themselves caught in expectations of boosting productivity, which can lead to a work-life imbalance. This imbalance not only affects personal well-being but also the overall health and wellness of the organization. Recognizing the signs of this imbalance helps employers and employees to take the steps necessary to bring the situation back into balance.

Work Creep

One of the most apparent signs of work-life imbalance is the creep of work time into personal time. When evenings or weekends consistently involve catching up on work emails or completing projects, it indicates that work is becoming a priority over personal time and pursuits. Occasionally, this may be required, but it should not be a regular occurrence.

Spending excessive time “on the job” erodes leisure time and impacts relationships and personal well-being. Leaders and employees must be proactive about setting and respecting boundaries between work and personal time. This can become difficult in hybrid and remote work situations where home and work are in the same environment.

Increasing Levels of Stress

Increasing levels of feeling exhausted and stressed are telltale signs of work-life imbalance. While some stress is a normal part of any job, excessive stress can lead to burnout, health issues, and increased dissatisfaction with the job. Evaluating how stressed you feel is critical to determining if you need to adjust your boundaries between work and leisure time.

Another tip is to look carefully at your schedule and work calendar. Are you able to stop and start work on a regular schedule? Do you find yourself working late, on the weekend, or putting off things with the family to get in more work time?

Job Satisfaction Levels

A significant indicator of a lack of work/life balance is a decline in job satisfaction and personal happiness. If work no longer brings the satisfaction it once did, or if you find yourself ‘going through the motions,’ it could be a symptom of imbalance. This dissatisfaction can often spill over into your personal life, affecting overall happiness and fulfillment. Taking a vacation or changing task assignments can help you balance your day and have time to do the things that you enjoy. This, conversely, can positively impact how you feel about your job.

Leaders in the organization play a crucial role in setting the tone for work-life balance within their teams. By modeling healthy boundaries and being receptive to feedback, leaders can foster an environment where employees feel empowered to speak up about their work-life needs without fear of repercussion. Leaders should also avoid reaching out to the team after work hours and discuss and recognize the importance of work/life balance as part of employee support programs and incentives.