Traditional ideas of 9-5 office workers heading home and putting all thoughts of work aside until the following day no longer apply for many of today’s employees. According to Randstad Canada, the country’s leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services, in order to achieve work life balance, it’s important for workers to set boundaries between their work and personal lives as the line between work and home continues to blur.
According to Leandra Harris, Executive Vice President of Human Resources for Randstad Canada, smartphones, Wi-Fi, laptops and other advances in technology are making it easier and easier to blur the line between work and home. “The blurring boundary between work and home life is creating a new office environment that has innumerable benefits to business, however, in order for employees to avoid burnout and stress, measures must be taken to achieve a balance between the two so it remains a benefit, rather than a liability,” she says.
Harris outlines the following tips to help you define your work/life boundaries:
- Be clear about your availability. People will respect your boundaries when you lay them out clearly. Doing this will lessen interruptions from family and friends and will also help you focus on getting things done within the timeframe you create for yourself.
- Create routines that will help you transition to and from your work day. Develop a routine that marks the beginning of your work day and another that marks its end. It could be as simple as a work out, or eating breakfast before getting to work and then a leisurely walk or listening to your favourite song on your way home. Do whatever works for you.
- Set up “no work” times. Set aside a time and space where you will not do work. For example, take a day, or a few hours, each week to rejuvenate and reconnect with the people and things that are most important to you.
Harris says that when you give your personal and leisure time 100% of your attention; it recharges you and allows you to give 100% to your work when you return to it. “Realistically, most people need a break from their work. Even the most dedicated worker needs a life outside of work, no matter how much they enjoy it,” she says.
Your own happiness and success can be directly affected by the boundaries that you establish to keep your home life separate from your work environment, says Harris. “Don’t consider the act of boundary setting to be a selfish one,” she says. “There’s nothing wrong with defining the environment that will allow you perform to your very best.”