Work/Life Balance? Is there a line?

Man balancing work and life

After a recent LinkedIn post and subsequent questions posed around the blurring of the line of what constitutes ‘work and life’ as two differing fields – I wanted to explore this concept further and create debate around people’s own take on it.

 (For further insight into the work/life balance subject – why not check out the FREE WEBINAR on this very subject!)

According to the government-funded initiative Fit for Work, half of parents say their work-life balance is a source of stress. It also claims many of the UK’s 11 million working parents feel a sense of guilt that they cannot give their work or their home life as much time as energy as they’d like

The above statistics are not surprising, and in a working content, the emergence of the ‘Gig Economy’ and Flexible working in particular mean that many people embrace a working practice that is PART of their life; planning around childcare, school drop off/pick ups, social gathering, part time volunteering and, dare I say it, gym programmes! This type of working needs a lot of discipline, as it fundamentally requires you to be ‘on’ when you need to be, without distraction; to have a clear plan of outcomes and objectives and usually a brilliant working environment…which is what I want to pick up on in this post.

‘Workplace wellbeing’ is specific to being in the place of work, usually thought of as an office block; usually open plan, usually in a built up city or town environment. This need to remove yourself from the place of work to improve your ‘wellbeing’ is the barrier that affects many of the people I speak to, so what are the ways around it?! How can you have Workplace Wellbeing to mean that the aforementioned line with regards to work/life can be blurred, if indeed you want it to be?

The majority of people exercise and increase activity because of an aesthetic desire ‘to lose weight’.  Few state that they do so owing to the improvement in state of mind (which is a shame, but anecdotally what I hear a lot). The logic of increasing activity within a working day has many benefits, and stretches far beyond the body burning fat owing to you being in a calorie deficient state (burn more than you put in!). We run a whole module with a top class neurosurgeon talking through the mind being activated into a different mode when the body is active, likened to an orchestra ramping up to a crescendo.   

By having an active day there will be less pressure for individuals to ‘have to go to the gym’. It should be a welcomed activity to engage in – not a feeling of having to. The science also suggests that there is little avoidance of having the 1-hour gym session if the rest of the day were to remain sedentary, with studies reporting no change in the risk of cardiac diseases.

Many workers feel tied to the desk, and this plays a part in not being able to increase the activity other than designated breaks, of which many workers I see (and some confess to) have lunch at their desk. The work/life factor comes into play as those who feel the guilt for not exercising will eat into their leisure time to tick a box and engage on the static (indoor!) treadmill, rather than look at the ways of incorporating getting home with a degree of activity. This is one example of many that people sometimes need to be asked about – to see IF there may be a way that they can improve their energy management by blurring the line, having activity in and around the workplace.

A real favorite exercise we run at workathlete is to look at what would be deemed an ideal day, but doing so in conjunction with a positive psychology exercise to look at how best to allocate time compared to resources. This is a standard practice in many areas of work, yet people would seldom think about engaging in activities for their own wellbeing.

 Please do share any thoughts you may have about these concepts, and do also get in touch if you think there are aspects of work/life balancing that could benefit you, your team or company.

For further insight into the work/life balance subject – and if you haven’t click the link yet, why not check out the FREE WEBINAR on this very subject!?