The Myth of Work/Life Balance

Time and time again freelancers and small business owners who have ventured into the business world on their own have been told to mind their ‘work/life balance’.

Headlines such as ‘Tips for a better work/life balance’ or ‘How to achieve a better work/life balance’ plague our small business headlines and are churned out time after time on the content mills, but does is have any meaning, or is it an overused buzzword?

Work/life balance is no longer relevant

Generally, when referring to work/life balance most mean how an employee or entrepreneur splits their time between home life and work life. However for many there isn’t a difference between the two.

In 2015 it was reported that 54% of office workers were able to work remotely, with 30% believing that their productivity was increased compared to when working from the office.

As well as employees working from home, the number of individuals leaving jobs to become freelancers and work from home is also on the rise. Between April and June 2015 there were 1.91m freelancers in the UK – an increase of 16% since 2011.

When such a large number of the population works from home it can be difficult to separate work and home life so definitively.

Another reason why work/life balance is outdated is that people shouldn’t be reprimanded for working outside the nine to five structure. If you’re passionate about a project should working late into the evening and getting up later be frowned upon if that’s how you work best?

Focusing on health

Instead of counting the number of hours you spend in the office and comparing them with the number you spend at home or with the family, there should be a new focus for employers and entrepreneurs; health.

When talking about work/life balance many articles focus on the importance of rest from work, which is why making sure health and self-care are a priority is paramount for every worker.

If you’re the owner of a small business you should teach employees the importance of self-care and putting health above all else. This can be difficult for freelancers who don’t receive the luxury of sick pay, but without a little self-care in times of need, both your health and business could be at risk.

Life coach practitioner, Brittany Turner, reiterated the importance of this balance when she spoke to Freshbooks: “I would change work / life balance with finding a balance between self-care / health and life.

“I feel like your personal life can get as hectic as your job because if you’re not making time for intentional self-care in your mental and physical health, there’s really no balance at all.”

Do you think that work/life balance is an outdated phrase? Or are you all for the nine to five office structure? Leave your comments in the section below!

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