Early Career

Creating Balance Between Work and Family Life

We live in a busy world. It can be challenging to keep up with work, family activities, friends, and even ourselves. But if there is one thing that’s important, it’s balance. Everything in moderation is the key to happiness.

October is National Work and Family Month. Established by the U.S. Senate in 2003, the initiative focuses on raising awareness of the challenges that working families face with work-life balance.

Many smart companies are using perks that go above and beyond the typical benefit package to attract and retain top employees. If you want to work hard, feel fulfilled, and make a difference while maintaining a comfortable personal and family life, it’s a good idea to identify companies that promote work-life balance and see if there is a career opportunity there waiting for you.

Benefits that support a healthy work-life balance

Paid time off – PTO is a big deal when it comes to balancing work and family. The opportunity to take time off for your vacations, attend your family activities, or stay home when you (or your little ones) aren’t feeling well is something we hope all working families benefit from.

Healthcare and insurance – Health is wealth. Many benefit plans include medical, dental, or vision. If you can’t raise your wages, ask your employer to start a health savings account (HSA) or add life or disability insurance to your benefits package.

Maternity and paternity leave – New parent? Ask your employer to recognize that both moms and dads enjoy being home with a new baby.

Professional development programs – A win-win for you and your employer. Communicate to your team that you want to learn and master new skills. Don’t be afraid to ask for the opportunity to grow within your organization.

Additional employer perks

Flexible schedules – Recognize whether you can truly work from anywhere and maintain your productivity. Ask your employer to let you test drive working from your home office, even if that may be the nearest coffee shop near your apartment. If it works for you both, negotiate a flexible work schedule. Many companies allow employees to work on Fridays from their home office.

Wellness and fitness programs – How do you keep yourself healthy? Many innovative companies offer gym memberships, healthy lunch options, or wellness programs. Do your co-workers have hidden talents, such as teaching yoga, guiding meditation, or other stress-reducing talents like massage skills? See if you can entice them to guide an occasional lunch-time workshop to increase everyone’s ability to take better care of themselves.

Free food – Free lunches, snacks, and a well-stocked beverage fridge helps you and your team avoid going hangry. Ask your company to pitch in for donut runs, coconut water, or whatever makes your team smile on Monday morning.

Paid volunteer time off – Is it important for you to have a sense of purpose beyond work and family? Many people do want to give back to their community, but don’t have enough PTO to do it. Ask your organization to sponsor some paid volunteer time off. It’s good for PR and good for your community.

Tips for creating work-life balance

Exercise – Yes, exercise takes time. But, it also gives you energy, reduces stress, and is good for longevity. Instead of hitting that snooze button and allowing yourself an extra hour of sleep, get up and work out. You don’t need an hour. Set the timer for 20 minutes and dance. Go ride bikes with your kids. Jog with your spouse. Or, pull the kiddos in the wagon to get your heart pumping.

Use your calendar – Schedule a little time for your family as you would your business appointments. Take a family trip to the pumpkin patch or apple orchard. You will never regret spending time with your loved ones. Time can easily slip away. If you schedule time for your beloveds, you won’t have regrets later on.

Say no – Are you in charge of your priorities? The answer is yes. Work is important and we can’t always say no to work, but we can turn down other engagements that arise. It’s okay to say no once in a while. When you say no to something, you are saying yes to yourself or your family.

Put the phone and tablet down – Do you lay in bed scrolling through the latest updates on social media or football highlights? Do you bring your phone to the dinner table and pretend it doesn’t count because the screen is turned down? Have real conversations instead. Take a look next time you go out to dinner and see how many people are staring at their phones instead of engaging in real life. Talk, learn, laugh, love…it’s good for the soul.

Everyone has their own version of work-life balance. The great part is that it’s easily adjustable. If you are feeling burnt out, negative, tired, or get sick often, you probably need to adjust the dial. Step back and think about what you could be missing. Chances are you need time with your loved ones or just a little time for yourself. Be part of the cultural shift of honoring work-life balance. The more you do it, the more others will have the courage to speak up for a healthy home and work life in our society.

 

Jeanna Simonson is a writer and the Ambassador of Buzz at Quotacy. She has been researching and writing educational articles on the importance of life insurance since 2015. When not writing for Quotacy, you can find her scoping out the newest fitness and beauty trends for her own blog, Fiercely Fetching, or traveling and spending time with her husband and fur babies. Connect with her on LinkedIn.