Work-family balance

Work-family balance: 3 ways to improve it

When we talk about work-family balance or, in other words, about the challenge of reconciling different aspects of our life with our family routine, we tend to get disappointed. Is it so difficult? Is it impossible? Why can’t I achieve it? 

In this article, we want to talk to you about the importance of work-family balance and the fundamental factors that influence it. 

Work-family balance: is it impossible?

Unfortunately, for some people it is, and not always because of an inability to organize themselves, but because, aside from personal issues, they sometimes work in companies that have not yet understood the importance of work-family balance for the company’s well-being

The good news is that more and more companies are taking on board the legitimate need of their staff members to achieve a work-family balance. This is a corporate movement that goes hand in hand with individual responsibility: more and more people are giving work-family balance the value it deserves and are concerned about acquiring better tools to achieve it. 

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Work-family balance: 3 ways to improve it

Reconciling: a process rather than a result

Finding a middle ground so that our personal and professional lives coexist well is an ongoing process. In other words, perfecting the art of work-family balance is a challenge that is never fully met, and this has to do with the fact that our lives are dynamic because the aspects that make up our lives are dynamic. Our leisure time changes, our family structures change, our interests change, just as the tasks and responsibilities we have to face in our jobs change.

That is why we must always pay attention to maintaining good work-family balance habits that we have managed to establish in our routine. We must also train enough assertiveness to set limits to the factors that destabilize this reconciliation. They may be external demands (others want more), internal fears (if I do not get more involved in my work I will never be able to progress), or old inertias (I can do anything, between work and personal I can always sacrifice the personal). 

All this noise is there, it reappears when we stop being firm in our new priorities and jeopardizes the progress we manage to make in our work-family balance, generating harmful imbalances for our psychological well-being. 

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What is work-family balance?

The concept of conciliation refers to the existence of a conflict pending resolution. We workers experience two vital interests that clash, that do not harmonize with each other spontaneously but need the relationship between them to be deliberately shaped so that one does not absorb the other. 

On the one hand, there is the desire – and the need – to perform to the best of our abilities in our work, with the greatest possible well-being and without unnecessarily closing doors to any possible promotion or improvement of our job opportunities. 

On the other hand, we cannot forget the other conflicting force: in order to have mental health, we need to take care of other matters, rest, to dedicate time to our leisure. We must also, of course, take care of all those people who are part of our life outside the office: our friends and family, particularly if we have children or other dependents who also need and deserve all our energy. 

Benefits of work-family balance

Work-family balance has significant benefits both for individual employees and for the company as a whole. Here are two examples of benefits experienced by individuals and two other benefits experienced by companies that implement effective family reconciliation strategies.

1. Reduces stress and anxiety

Employees do not have the constant feeling of being in over their heads, unable to deal with the different aspects of their lives smoothly. On the contrary, they feel that there is a balance between different areas and that they do not need to be overwhelmed because their company provides enough flexibility so that they do not have to be divided or feel frustrated, but can attend to their affairs in a satisfactory manner.

2. Increases employee commitment

There are few things that strengthen the employee’s bond with their company as much as the fact that the employee feels cared for and supported by their company, rather than exploited or trapped. If the employee senses that, just as they conform to the needs of the organization, the organization is also concerned with conforming to the needs of the individual, then they are motivated to stay and give more of their talents and ideas, even their time, for as long as they are a part of that company.

3. Improves the work environment

When people are calmer they are also more likely to be happier, with a more open attitude towards others, both for minor interaction and for cooperation on tasks. This, therefore, has a positive impact on team cohesion.

4. Strengthens talent attraction, development and retention processes

This, in turn, has a positive impact on the company’s productivity and saves significant resources that would have to be mobilized if the retention rate were worse.

3 key points to improve your work-family balance

1. Causes of insufficient reconciliation

We cannot solve a problem if we do not find out what is causing it. That is why we must ask ourselves: what is generating this imbalance between the different aspects of our life? 

Within the causes, we must also observe what reinforces the problem, that is to say, the factors that maintain the absence of conciliation. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish them from the first causes, but establishing this nuance between what originates the problem and what maintains it over time helps some people to observe it in greater depth. 

Among the causes and maintainers of the lack of conciliation, we can observe a great number of examples: the lack of assertiveness to say no to certain tasks, the incapacity of some families to organize themselves in an equitable way, the need to earn a lot of money to take care of the many acquired expenses, the real and imaginary demands of the job, the ambition to reach everything and to shine even at the cost of our well-being.

2. The scope of action as workers

If we want to improve our work-family balance, we must set ourselves objectives and, above all, assume that reconciling different conflicting needs implies internal and external changes in ourselves (modifying thoughts, enduring the tension of not following our inertia, changing behaviors, habits, and routines) but also in the systems to which we belong: family and work, fundamentally. 

In order to observe our margin of action as workers when it comes to improving our family reconciliation, we must count on the other party: perhaps my boss has to open up to the idea of modifying our work methodology, or my partner has to give up some of their time so that I can reorganize my priorities. 

3. Corporate responsibility

It is important for the company to understand the various needs of its employees if it is to function optimally. One of these needs is to live well, in an orderly manner, without the feeling that “achieving everything” only means achieving exhaustion. Arriving at everything exhausted may be arriving, but it is not arriving well. 

It is true that there are people who do not see a problem in the lack of conciliation or that they do not perceive that they cannot reconcile even if they devote most of their energy to their work. However, many other people do see that their psychological well-being is impaired because they perceive that the demands of their profession are not compatible with the demands of their personal, family, or social life. 

In this sense, the work-family balance must be considered from a starting point: work-family balance is not a fad or a whim, nor is it an end in itself, but a means to achieve a different kind of balance: one that allows a good dialogue between the physical and psychological well-being of workers and their level of productivity or performance

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Supporting companies that value family reconciliation

Ifeel has developed an emotional well-being program for companies, designed by its team of expert psychologists with one main objective: to help companies put employee health at the heart of their strategy to boost sustainable productivity.  

Thanks to this partnership, the people in charge of HR departments can receive personalized, data-driven advice on how to make good decisions in a company to get the most out of the teams they are in charge of and take better care of the psychological well-being of the people in them. 

On the other hand, this program offers employees a holistic mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs. This service includes, if required, online psychological therapy with a psychologist specialized in cases like theirs. Try our program now so you can see how it could help you.

We hope you found this post about work-family balance interesting. If you would like more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, just request it and we will contact your team as soon as possible. You may also be interested in this post about mental well-being at work.

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