The era of the 9-5 workdays is a thing of a past. Smart technology has given workers access to their work 24/7 and blurred the boundaries between work and home, leading Australians to donating $128 billion in unpaid overtime annually and failing to take their entitled annual leave.

Some workplaces expect their workers to work long hours without pay and to take their work home with them. More than half of all workers stated that they are expected to, or not discouraged from, working unpaid hours or working at home outside of normal hours. It is clear that tackling work life balance is not the sole responsibility of employees. Employers have a large influence on work life balance and it is imperative that steps are taken to improve work place culture.

Measures that could improve work life balance for all Australian workers and their families include:

  1. Starting a conversation about work life balance with your employer. It is important that workers have an understanding of their employer’s expectations and vice versa. Go Home on Time Day is a good opportunity to start these conservations
  2. Deciding what time you are going home before you go to work and identifying early any tasks that might prevent you from going home on time
  3. If you’re an overachiever, consider cutting back to realistic goals so you feel you’ve succeeded
  4. Scheduling activities after work e.g. meet a friend after work or plan something with your family. Draw a clear line between your personal and work time. Spend some time thinking about what is important to you in life. How much time do you actually spend on the most important priorities? Consider your passions and interests and make time for the things that make you feel alive.
  5. Improving workplace practices around recognising and responding to work related stress. This will enable employees to address their workload issues before they become a serious problem. Diaries, calendars, to-do lists and apps are all helpful strategies. Keep track of where the time goes and cut down on unnecessary time wastage.
  6. ‘Do what you love, love what you do’ has become a popular catch-phrase. While all work can be tedious or stressful at times, if you really hate your job or if it is making your life impossible, consider changing jobs or even careers.
  7. Regular exercise has proven benefits for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Get enough sleep at regular times, eat healthy food, drink in moderation and avoid illegal drugs.

References

Johnson.M. (2015) Workin’ 9 to 5.30 Retrieved from https://www.gohomeontimeday.org.au/img/materials/GHOTD_Working_9_To_530.pdf

Mind Health Connect (2013) Work Life Balance Retrieved from https://www.mindhealthconnect.org.au/work-life-balance