How to find the happy ‘work-life’ balance and avoid workplace burnout

We all know that ‘work-life’ balance is an important factor for everyone to keep in mind when ensuring workplace productivity keeps ticking over. ‘Work-life’ balance would have to be one of the most overused phrases in today’s business world, but how do we actually ensure it’s not just a buzzword thrown around the place and is actually put into practice?

It’s no surprise that without balance in life, burnout does affect job performance and overall team satisfaction; two things no organisation can or should afford. Burnout in the workplace is not something to be overlooked as it can lead to exhaustion, lack of motivation, frustration and other negatives such as health problems like stress – and not just for the person directly affected.

Supporting your team to ensure they are equipped with the right information to avoid the pitfalls of workplace burnout is a must for all, no matter what industry you’re in. A few key pointers…

Prioritise your tasks and get organised.

And get your team to do the same! When people are burnt out, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being overwhelmed and stressed, which almost always leads to further anxiety and then more problems.

Being organised by putting systems in place such as lists, calendar reminders, or whatever it might be that helps you, relieves the stress of worrying whether you’ll forget that deadline or important appointment. Prioritising what is important and what can be delegated is a practical way of ensuring your team is being realistic about what they can achieve. Develop a culture of speaking up and get your team to talk! It’s key to ensure certain team members aren’t carrying too big a load while others are underwhelmed.

Communicate with your team.

It’s important to ensure each individual team member is aware of what value they bring to your business. Communicating where they are going well and how their work fits into the overall mission of the organisation assists your team in understanding the importance of their role. Even Maslow understood that feeling appreciated is one of the human race’s key needs.

Whether it’s a quick five minute catch-up over a coffee or an email to show you know how they’re going, take time out with your people. I personally like to get out of the office space for ‘walking meetings’, out and about for some fresh air to talk about things in general…. Not just work project related. This understanding from a senior level also helps to motivate your key players and ensure they know where the company is going and how they are part of helping this growth!
It’s very likely that without a solid team you have no organisation, so put in the time and effort necessary to build it and watch it flourish!

Create a positive work environment.

Having a workplace culture that takes time to invest in its team culture and social events is the best way of ensuring everyone remains happy and engaged at work! As they say, happy wife, happy life… the same goes for happy team, makes you beam! And equals a more productive workplace.

Schedule in time to have group lunches or a morning tea – it also helps to foster inter-staff relations and allows your people to connect in less formal settings. All-in-all this allows time to improve existing relations and offers the opportunity for new connections to be made and making everyone involved in your organisation or department/area feel more connected to their place of work. After all, a fair bit of your time is likely spent here.

Leave work at work.

Easier said than done. It feels even harder these days to walk out of work and completely switch off…. indeed rather impossible. The ability for work to stay in our minds with the onslaught of emails and digital communication to our smart phones can make it even more difficult to fully unwind after hours, but you must try and be disciplined!

While we can always be accessible it’s important to remember to set limits and boundaries, and encourage your team to do the same. Checking one or two emails after hours isn’t going to lead to extreme burn out, however, switching off from work to enjoy other activities is important for our overall wellbeing. We also need a bit of rest. If you can’t help yourself, leave your phone in another room or commit to turning your iPad off for an hour – maybe as a start when eating dinner. Rostering days off and taking time to enjoy company with friends and family on the weekend is another way to ensure work isn’t taking over your mind all the time.  I personally never work on a Saturday. This is Stan’s time no matter what!

Encourage exercise, good sleep and downtime.

Looking after all areas of our health can sometimes feel like a job in itself, however forgetting or putting off looking after ourselves can lead to stress, moodiness, frustration at work and illness! Exercise, even just a few times a week can relieve stress and clear the mind, so make time! Even if you loath it (like I do), just do it!

Commit yourself to activities that happen outside the office walls, so you ensure you really do take time away for you. Arrange time once a week to sit down with your family for a meal, meet up with a friend for a walk or see a movie, and don’t take enjoy the “down” time.

When you’re busy it can be easy to get complacent, but don’t underestimate the power of a solid eight hours under the sheets. Sleep really is the only way to ensure you start the day refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.


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