Managing Your Work-Life Balance

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Currently the truth about work-life balance in America is grim. Not only are Americans working more hours per week than any other period in recorded history, but they are also collectively working longer than any other industrialized country in the world. While other countries (like France) have implemented legislation to protect the workforce, forcing all employees to take at least 30 days of vacation a year, no such legislation has passed in the United States. In fact, nearly the opposite has happened. Following the recession, some companies have actually confessed to expecting more from their employees for less compensation.

Business Insiders released the following set of statistics showing the true impact of the increased diligence of our workforce:

– American worker productivity has increased 60% in the past 20 years, although wages have stagnated.

– 39% of people work more than a typical 40-hour workweek.

– The average American sleeps 90 minutes less per night than they should.

– 69% of employees report that work is a significant source of stress.

– 39% of employees feel rage towards their coworkers. 

– 52% of U.S. workers report that they have changed jobs in hopes of finding a less stressful one.

– 83% of employees report going to work sick because they’re afraid they’ll be punished for missing.

– 36 % of Americans don’t plan to use all of their vacation days. 

– 44% of workers have gained weight from their jobs.

– 24% of employees work six or more extra hours per week without pay. That figure doubles for management. 

Rather than being a statistic, we would like to offer you a set of tools to help ensure you have a strong work-life balance. Below we have gathered tips and tricks from top CEOs, working parents, startup employees, and more so that you can learn how to manage your work-life balance the right way.

Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast and What Successful People Do On the Weekends, suggests that weekends are really the key to a proper work-life balance, so use them mindfully. “Weekends [need] to rejuvenate you rather than exhaust or disappoint you” she said for in an article for Forbes Magazine. That means that scheduling lazy weekends where you catch up on sleep or reading, or seeing friends are just as important as heavily active, overly planned weekends.

Similarly to Ms. Vanderkam, CEO of Zillow, Spencer Rascoff never takes his weekends for granted. Instead he uses them as time to unplug and be with family. His new year’s resolution was to refrain from checking email all day on Saturday. He claims that time away from the office is just as important to your work as it offers you time “to reflect and be more introspective about bigger issues.”

The most important advice we can offer when it comes to your job is to trust your team, delegate responsibly and understand that your company, if constructed properly, should be able to run smoothly without you there. It can be difficult to relinquish control, so train yourself to recognize when you are feeling stressed or overworked and take the initiative to step away or use a vacation day. It is quite uncommon for an American worker to use all of their vacation days, but those days are set aside for a reason. The mind is fickle and needs to recharge, rest and reflect after constant stimulation.

If you’re a planner, build rest time into your day. If you have the will power to turn your phone off during the weekend, do so. Prioritize and recognize what it is you value most in life: is it your friends? Family? Hobbies? Try not to neglect your passions and your loved ones for the sake of a job.

How do you manage a work-life balance? Comment below or on our facebook and stay tuned for the continuation of our Employee Communication series. Up next: Generation X and Baby Boomers.