In the hustle and bustle of our fast-paced lives, striking and maintaining a balance between work and personal life has become more crucial than ever.
October, marked by the observance of National Work Life Week and World Mental Health Day on the 10th, serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of fostering a healthy work-life balance and prioritising mental well-being.
As flexible and temporary work models continue to emerge, they open doors and opportunities for people in the workforce, enabling them to better balance career and individual pursuits. Let’s dive into these topics a little further below.
The Significance of Work-Life Balance
Achieving a stable work-life balance is not merely a personal achievement but a necessity that has profound impacts on our mental and physical health.
As 2022 drew to a close, HSE reported that almost 2 million workers in Great Britain faced job-related illnesses. Stress, depression, and anxiety were particularly prevalent, representing close to 50% of these cases. These conditions were responsible for over half of all the working days lost due to occupational health problems.
In light of these statistics, striking that balance ensures that work does not encroach upon our personal lives, thereby safeguarding our mental health and enhancing overall productivity and satisfaction.
Embracing Flexibility through Temp Working
Temporary (or ‘temp’) working has blossomed into a practical alternative for individuals aspiring to mould their work schedules around their personal lives. The UK currently has over 4.4 million people on flexi-time employment contracts, which empowers them to selectively choose roles that resonate with their lifestyle, values, and personal commitments.
Deciding when, where, and how to work not only fosters a healthier work-life balance but also opens doors to explore diverse industries and roles. It provides a platform to gain exposure to various projects and sectors, enhancing your skill set, expanding your professional network, and enriching your experience.
Temp work also offers a safety net for those in transitional phases of their career, such as recent graduates, individuals re-entering the workforce, or those exploring a career pivot. It’s a lifestyle choice that enables individuals to design a career path that harmoniously coexists with their personal pursuits, ensuring that one domain does not overshadow the other.
Integrating Mental Health into Work-Life Balance Strategies
Work environments and schedules also play a pivotal role in shaping our mental health. Stressful work conditions, tight deadlines, and lack of work-life balance can have adverse repercussions if not tended to or approached in the right way.
Promoting mental health in the workplace and through work-life balance strategies involves creating supportive environments, facilitating mental health awareness training, and providing access to occupational health services.
Employers and organisations can play a pivotal role by adopting policies that promote healthy work-life balance and provide support to employees dealing with mental health issues.
Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance and Promoting Mental Well-being:
Set Boundaries: Ensure that work does not spill into personal time and vice versa.
Embrace Flexibility: Where possible, opt for working arrangements that accommodate your personal life and responsibilities. For those who may not have access to flexible working hours, make a deliberate effort to wrap up work on time a few days a week - your tasks can definitely wait.
Prioritise Mental Health: Engage in activities that promote mental well-being, such as meditation, exercise, and pursuing hobbies. Whether that be solo or with friends and family, give your brain a break!
Seek Support: Utilise available resources, such as counselling and mental health services, to navigate through challenging times. For instance, Mind could be a good place to start!
Advocate for Healthy Work Environments: Encourage and participate in initiatives that promote mental health and work-life balance within your workplace.
Making Work-Life Balance a Reality
In summary, achieving a balanced life, especially in the context of work and personal pursuits, is important. It's important to create a reality where our professional endeavours and personal life not only coexist but thrive simultaneously.
Here’s to making mental health and work-life balance not just concepts but active practices, ensuring a healthier, satisfying future for all this October and beyond.