The importance of having a healthy work-life balance lies in the idea that spending time on your personal life will enhance your performance at your job. When one is able to not just manage, but optimize both areas of their life, they are able to have greater success in their career. The benefits that can be attained from utilizing this balance are varied, including increased productivity and satisfaction with one’s job.
Employees at America’s biggest corporations have seen great improvements in both these areas since the 1970s when scientists first started advocating for an ideal work-life balance in organizations. As a result, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the amount of time that Americans spend on their jobs and commuting has dropped by nearly 20% since 1975. This decreased time commitment at the workplace is not only increasing employee’s job satisfaction and productivity, but also has added $10.5 trillion to U.S.’s GDP.
Additionally, several studies since this time have suggested that workers who maintain a healthy work-life balance are more likely to be productive and satisfied with their jobs than those who do not maintain such balance. The benefits of having a healthy work-life balance are derived from numerous potential sources, including the ability to work-out at the office, taking care of personal matters from home, and focusing on one’s career.
In addition to the aforementioned factors, another benefit of a healthy work-life balance is this: it improves job satisfaction and productivity because employees are able to spend more time achieving their goals outside of their jobs. These are two separate areas of their life, and when one is able to utilize both in a balanced manner, they can become more successful in their lives. This benefit is compounded by the fact that in most cases, having a work-life balance requires sacrificing one or both of these areas. While many people might be excited to know that they will eventually get to spend more time on their personal goals, this sacrifice during the early stages of their careers (which is commonly referred to as “burnout”) can cause them to be less motivated when it comes to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Along with the compensation of more time on their personal goals, employees also experience a form of “wisdom” from balancing their lives. In today’s society, cell phones and computers have replaced most personal communication and interaction, with the result being that we feel isolated from others. The lack of face-to-face communication and relationships can be detrimental to our overall well-being, with research showing that people who suffer from loneliness or social alienation are more likely to experience detrimental health outcomes such as heart attacks and strokes. However, the same research has shown that people who maintain a healthy work-life balance can reduce this risk through increased communication and relationships with those around them. This is a result of a well-balanced life because people are able to better understand and work with the people they spend their time with. This benefit stems from the idea that if one can better understand those around them, they can be more effective in life.
Having a healthy work-life balance also improves job satisfaction and productivity because it allows employees to take care of personal issues that need tending to during the day. For example, an employee might stay at work longer than normal one night because it is the only time he has to solve a family issue, such as helping his child with their schoolwork or picking them up from their school function. The lack of adequate time spent with these matters at their job will decrease the employees’ satisfaction with their position.
The idea that humans spend half of their day on work and half on rest is a fairly new concept within the United States, meaning most employees are unaware of this previous research. Many may have heard the phrase “work-life balance” in an office setting, or know about all the stress it causes employees. However, most may not realize that countless studies have shown this balance is important for achieving success in both one’s career and personal life.
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