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The Importance of Work-Life Balance and Its Impact on Mental Health

October 12, 2021 / Employee Wellbeing Best Practices

Balancing our personal and professional lives can be challenging — especially in the digital age, when we’re all constantly connected. Seven in 10 workers experienced burnout in 2020, and the number of employees working late rose to nearly 9 in 10.

However, employees not taking time to unplug can certainly have its consequences, both on a personal level and for your organization as a whole. Learn more about the importance of work-life balance and its impact on wellbeing, plus tips for helping employees achieve better work-life balance at your organization.

The Importance of Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a positive work-life balance is one of the keys to living a well-rounded, meaningful life. According to the Happiness Index, work-life balance leads to fewer health problems, increased engagement, fewer incidents burnouts and more mindfulness. When employees maintain a healthy work-life balance, they’re able to dedicate time and energy to other aspects of their life, like pursuing hobbies or having fun with loved ones.

How Poor Work-Life Balance Impacts Employees

On the other hand, poor work-life balance can take a serious toll on your employees’ physical and mental health. When employees feel burned out or overwhelmed on the job, they’re more likely to experience increased stress and anxiety, poor sleep quality, physical and mental fatigue, and poor health overall.

In addition to impacting employees’ health, poor work-life balance also typically has a negative impact on performance, temperament, engagement and productivity. Lacking balance in life can also lead to increased absenteeism and presenteeism. For example, research by Gallup revealed that burned out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day, 23% more likely to visit the emergency room, and even 2.6 times as likely to actively seek a different job.

Empowering Employees to Maintain a Healthy Balance 

Don’t worry—with the right strategy, you can help your employees achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Here’s how.

1. Share Ways to Transition From Work Mode to Family Mode

Employees can wind down after work by engaging in a mindfulness exercise or a relaxing activity. For example, exercising, meditating, reading and listening to music or a podcast are all great examples of relaxing activities that can help your employees unwind and disconnect following a busy day of work.

2. Encourage Employees to Ask For Help When They Need It

If your employees are feeling burned out and overwhelmed, you need to know about it to minimize the impact and prevent avoidable turnover. If employees feel comfortable approaching their manager when they’re feeling overworked and overwhelmed, they’re more likely to stick with your organization for the long haul.

3. Train Managers to Balance Each Employee’s Workload

Speaking of which, positive work-life balance often starts with managers. Make sure anyone with a direct report is trained to properly manage each individual’s workload, or to empower their employees to do so on their own.

4. Advertise the Importance of Work-Life Balance

Create a culture of wellbeing that celebrates a healthy work-life balance and encourages employees to disconnect at the end of each work day. Leaders should do just that: lead by example by maintaining a positive work-life balance themselves.

5. Facilitate Open Conversations About Mental Health

You can also help to improve work-life balance by being transparent about mental health and facilitating open conversations in the workplace. This will likely have a cultural impact on your workforce, encouraging employees to take action when they’re feeling mentally burned out on the job.

6. Offer Enough Vacation Time, and Make Sure Employees Use It

Everyone needs a break sometimes, your employees included. Taking time away from work is essential to remaining focused, satisfied and productive. That’s why it’s important to offer enough vacation time and empower your employees to use it.

Improving Work-Life Balance With Homebase for Health®

Work-life balance and employee wellbeing go hand in hand. By arming your employees with the right wellbeing solutions, you can facilitate the development of healthier habits that go a long way toward finding work-life balance.

Virgin Pulse’s Homebase for Health® digital wellbeing ecosystem enables organizations to help employees achieve work-life balance by offering:

  • Access to personal health coaches and live services
  • Tips and exercises to help with stress management
  • Assistance navigating personalized health journeys
  • Opportunities to build social connections with coworkers
  • Seamlessly integrated and adaptive partner resources
  • Fun and engaging team-based challenges to boost collaboration and enhance wellbeing

Sound like a good fit? Request a demo to see for yourself how Virgin Pulse’s Homebase for Health® can help improve work-life balance at your organization.

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