How’s your work life balance?

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It’s National Work-Life week. What better time to assess the work-life balance in your business?

Working Families is the UK’s leading charity promoting work-life balance. This week they are championing National Work-Life Week, which encourages employers and employees alike to address the work-life balance in their business. While a more favourable work-life balance is seen by many as a luxury, National Work-Life Week aims to show that a better balance between our work lives and home lives is beneficial throughout every level of society, both in terms of productivity, and the overall health and happiness of the workforce.

Improve your health

When it comes to the reality of an improved work life balance, the facts and figures will likely come as a big surprise to most people. One of the most important benefits of spending less time at work is the effect it has on our health. Data taken from more than 600,000 people showed that working over 55 hours a week increased the risk of developing a stroke by a third, and increased the risk of heart disease by 13%. On top of that there is the increased risk of stress and all the health related issues that go along with it.

Improve productivity

One of the most enduring myths about work is that the busy people working 18 hour days are the most productive workers. The data however shows this isn’t the case. Studies have shown that managers couldn’t tell if someone was actually putting in longer hours or just staying late doing other things, and that overall longer hours had no impact on the levels of work that were done.

It won’t make you richer

People think that working more hours means they’ll be getting more money. This isn’t always the case though. In the UK there is a culture developing that makes people feel they should always be present at work. However, the majority of these people will be salaried staff so they won’t be benefitting financially from working late. And, as far as making money for the business owner goes, we’ve already covered the fact long hours don’t improve productivity. As long hours lower morale through stress and poor staff satisfaction, they could do more damage to your business than good.

How to find the work-life balance

While there’s considerable evidence that working fewer hours has a number of benefits, it still doesn’t mean it’s easy to put into practice. For people like freelancers and entrepreneurs in particular, working fewer hours a week doesn’t seem possible when there is such a direct correlation between work and earnings. However, restoring the work life balance is possible in any industry and in businesses of any size. The way to achieve this is through outsourcing.

Outsourcing provides support to businesses in a number of ways. It can be used to support a business during office hours by outsourcing unskilled tasks, and it can support a business out of hours through services like telephone answering so people don’t have to answer work calls over the evening and weekends. During the day this means people can concentrate on essential tasks, reducing their workload and the amount of hours they need to work in the day. At night it means people can completely switch off from work safe in the knowledge that their calls are dealt with professionally and no business is lost.

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