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The majority of the candidates we speak to are in search of a job that gives them the perfect balance between their work and home life. But what can candidates do to help achieve the perfect work-life balance? This article will look at some handy tips, as well as offer our advice for achieving a happy and healthy balance in your job.
Not what you are looking for? We have lots of advice in our Candidate Resources section, or you can get in touch with us to discuss your career.
Combine a competitive jobs market with the rise of technology and it is hardly surprising some people find it difficult to find a suitable work-life balance. However challenging it may be, it is something we all seem to want. The desire for large salaries and bonus schemes is declining, and increased annual leave allowance and the opportunity for flexible working are fast becoming two of the most sought after benefits of job seekers across most industries and sectors.
If you are struggling to find a balance that works for you, or simply want to improve on what you already have, you should consider the following points.
Switch off and leave work at work
Our mobile phones and laptops are often to blame for keeping us working outside of our contracted hours, so make sure you set yourself a period of time away from these devices. Whether it is for two hours a night or the entirety of a weekend, this will not only help you to wind down and relax mentally, but will remind your friends and family that you are committed to life away from your desk.
To make this easier, turn notifications off on your phone when you are not in work or on annual leave and try to resist having a look at your emails during this time. In doing so you will give yourself more time to spend at home, and less time worrying about work and what needs to be done.
Never take on more work than you can handle
There are only 24 hours in each day, so do not worry if you are not able to complete everything on your to do list. It is a great sign to your employer that you are willing to go the extra mile to meet your deadlines, but it is sometimes better to walk away and return to the task the following day with a clear mind.
It is also important to learn how to say no in the right circumstances, and if you feel you are under too much pressure at work, ask for help.
Always avoid taking too much work home
Taking huge amounts of work home will undoubtedly have an impact on your work-life balance, so it should be avoided where possible. If you feel like you have too much on, speak to your manager or someone that may be able to help relieve some of the pressure. You should be able to leave work at work – the majority of the time.
Choose the right workplace and sector for you
No two employers are the same, so make sure that when you are looking for a position that you take into account the vision and values of the company. Do they promote flexible working or is overtime and weekend working the norm? You may want to do some background research of the organisation before applying to find this out.
Make sure you are comfortable with what a company expects of you before accepting a role. Some sectors will be better than others, so make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself in for, and choose a sector that works for you and your home life.
Stop wasting your time
It is crucially important to identify what is most important both in work and at home. Create a list of tasks that you need to complete and rank them in order of importance. This list will differ for everyone, so make sure it truly reflects you and your business’ priorities. Make sure you do these tasks in order of priority and try not to procrastinate on things that you do not need to do, or are not that important at that moment in time.
Make time for yourself
Even when you are busy it is important to make time for yourself. Utilise your free time to do something productive like exercise or meditation. Exercise is a proven and effective stress reducer as it pumps feel-good endorphins through your body, and helps lift your mood.
We would also always advise taking some time away from your desk each day. Whether that be an hour over lunch, or a ten minute tea break. This time away will allow you to gather your thoughts, and come back fresh and eager to get on.
Learn how to say no
If you make yourself available 24/7 you will likely be overloaded with work so it is important to harness the power of saying no. There is no need to be rude, but if you manage people’s expectations and offer advice and alternative solutions you should be able to say no to work that may otherwise sit outside of your remit. This will help you reduce your workload, and the stress you are under overall.
Most of all, know what you want!
Work-life balance means different things to different people, and only you can decide what the perfect balance is for you and your family. It is only once you decide this that you will be able to achieve a healthy balance and something that works for you. Have a long hard think about what works for you, your family and your home life and then make sure you make as many realistic changes as possible.
If you are still struggling to find the right work/life balance for you, why not talk to one of our experienced Consultants? They will be able to take your personal requirements and circumstances into mind and search for jobs within companies that match your aims and needs.
Alternatively, you can find more help on securing your next dream job in our Candidate Resources section.