Imagine a life where your professional and personal worlds coexist perfectly — you get off at 5 PM sharp, enjoy your night, and don’t check your work email every Sunday night with dread. Sounds ideal, right? That’s the magic of a healthy work-life balance. 

This idea might seem more like a fantasy than a plausible reality in our hyper-connected, always-on culture. But we’re here to argue that work-life balance extends far beyond the surface. It also influences our physical and mental health, company profits, and overall happiness. That’s why it’s important enough for everyone to get on board with improving work-life culture at a company level.  

Work-life balance isn’t just a buzzword or a trend; it’s a fundamental need for businesses and employees alike. In this article, we delve into why work-life balance is crucial and explore practical ways to integrate it into our daily routines.

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What are the benefits of a healthy work-life balance?

The concept of “work-life balance” can be a bit fuzzy, but research and data exist to help us clarify these abstract concepts. 

63% of job seekers want work-life balance

We’ll start by making some big claims about the significant benefits of work-life balance. Then, we’ll follow up with statistics on what is at stake for companies and employees with low work-life balance. 

First, let’s get started with some of the benefits:

Benefits of healthy work-life balance

  • Improved mental health. A healthy work-life balance reduces stress levels, prevents anxiety and depression, and increases overall happiness by fostering a sense of fulfillment.
  • Enhanced physical health. Solid balance between your personal and professional life lead to better sleep patterns and allow time for regular exercise. This then promotes overall health and helps prevent chronic diseases. 
  • Increased productivity. When one’s work and personal life are properly balanced, it results in more focused work time and increased efficiency. Plus, it also leads to better immune health and lower burnout rates (which also leads to reduced absenteeism).
  • Stronger personal relationships. Spending more quality time with loved ones and enhancing communication leads to healthier and more positive interactions. This also extends to relationships between co-workers. Improving those relationships helps create a healthy and supportive work environment, increasing collaboration and innovation. 
  • Higher job satisfaction. When you work somewhere where your time is valued, it leads to better engagement and increased motivation at work. Again, this contributes to reduced turnover rates and increased organizational loyalty.

Key takeaway: A healthy work-life balance leads to better health and happiness for employees and, in turn, higher profits and productivity for businesses

In other words, everyone wins when companies invest in work-life balance.

Highly engaged teams are 21% more profitable than those with low engagement

- Gallup

We all know the intangible benefits of feeling valuable but not overworked during the day and feeling comfortable unplugging to enjoy ourselves at the end of the day. 

But we know businesses don’t run on intangibles, so we want to discuss the cold hard facts. 

What is the impact of a poor work-life balance?

At Hubstaff, we’re invested in creating a healthy work-life balance for our team by developing software that helps managers automatically create a boundary between work and personal time. 

We did a deep dive into work-life balance in this post on work-life balance statistics. Below, we’ll summarize some of our findings on the negative impact of an unhealthy work-life balance and the benefits of taking it seriously for employees and businesses. 

For employees

  • Harm to personal relationships. 40% of people say a poor work-life balance “ruins” the time they spend with friends and family.
  • Physical health risks. Working more than 55 hours leads to a 35% greater risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of death from some heart diseases. 
  • Mental health risks. Working more than 50 hours per week is linked to increased risks for anxiety and depression. If you’re consistently working 50 hours, try your best to schedule a one-on-one to talk about better work-life balance or consider consulting a mental health professional.  

For businesses

  • Decreased productivity and increased chance of injury. As people work longer hours, their performance decreases and can increase the risk of mistakes or injury. 
  • Increased absenteeism and turnover. An imbalance creates a significant risk of burnout, and these employees are 2.6 times more likely to be actively seeking a different job.
  • Impact on your bottom line. Unscheduled sick days (often due to burnout and stress) cost companies $2,500 to $4,000 per employee per year.
Businesses lose $225.8 billion yearly due to productivity losses caused by workforce absences. 

- Center for Disease Control

So, the stakes are high, and it’s clear that the time and money businesses need to invest in a work-life balance pays off. But what is preventing you from fighting off the impact of a poor work-life balance and beginning to reap the benefits of a healthy work culture? 

Challenges to achieving work-life balance

Why is it so challenging to strike a balance that keeps us happy, healthy, and productive? Building a balance between life and work isn’t always as simple as turning your Slack notifications off at 5 p.m. 

Let’s explore some common obstacles in achieving work-life balance and understand why this pursuit can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.

Zippia data notes top barriers to a healthy work-life balance

High work demands

Extended working hours can infringe on personal time, making it challenging to maintain a balance. 

We get it. Sometimes, big projects need to be completed urgently. Sometimes you’ll need to put in some extra hours in order to do that. Still, excessive tasks and responsibilities can lead to burnout and stress and should be avoided whenever possible. 

Once those tasks are submitted, managers can allow their team to unplug, giving them the afternoon off after a long night of work. Balance is the key here. 

Also, managers should consider investing in a workload management tool that helps them divide work fairly and determine whether employees are underutilized or overutilized. 

Technology and connectivity

The constant accessibility we all have to work is a new phenomenon that managers must grapple with in the 21st century. Gone are the days when you packed up and left work and could not access your email or work messages (we’re looking at you, Slack). 

Smartphones and laptops make it challenging to disconnect from work, blurring the lines between professional and personal life. 

The best solution is for managers to set up a clear communication policy. At Hubstaff, we’ve implemented a communication manifesto that helps our team understand their expectations and unplug when they are off the clock.

Communicate like a pro.

Download the Hubstaff Communication Manifesto for free.

Cultural expectations

In some industries and companies, there is an expectation to constantly be available and to prioritize work over personal life. And, at times, this is necessary. I, for one, wouldn’t want my brain surgeon to turn off his pager to relax and watch Netflix all night. 

But even for our brain surgeon friends, a balance is possible. It’s all about creating a company culture that encourages employees to take time off responsibly. 

Balancing work and personal life isn’t just about managing time — it’s about setting priorities, creating boundaries, and sometimes making tough choices. 

While the challenges can be daunting, acknowledging and addressing these hurdles is the first step toward a healthier, more fulfilling life. Whether learning to unplug from technology, seeking supportive policies at work, or improving time management skills, each small effort brings us closer to that elusive work-life balance. 

The role of employers in supporting work-life balance

There are countless articles about how individuals can create a healthy work-life balance (and we will talk about this a bit in our next section). But first, we want to focus on the big picture: managers’ role in creating work boundaries. 

Work-life balance starts at the managerial level, and company policies and management strategies are crucial in setting the tone for a supportive work environment. So, how can organizations create a space where balance is not just a buzzword but a reality?

First off, let’s look at policies like remote working. The ability to work from home can be a game-changer for work-life balance. It offers flexibility, reduces commuting stress, and allows employees to manage their work and personal responsibilities more effectively. Employers who embrace remote work policies show that they trust their employees to get the job done, regardless of where they are.

Next up, the idea of shorter work weeks is gaining traction. Some companies are experimenting with four-day work weeks, and the results are promising. Employees report feeling more rested, more focused, and ultimately more productive. This kind of policy boosts morale and demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being.

A four-day workweek is four eight hour workdays with 100% salary.

Supportive leadership is another cornerstone of a balanced work environment. Leaders who prioritize their employees’ work-life balance set a positive example and foster a culture of respect and understanding. This can be as simple as encouraging employees to take their lunch breaks, use their vacation days, or disconnect after working hours. 

By taking steps to improve work-life balance policies, organizations aren’t just doing the right thing but also fostering a more profitable and sustainable business. 

Tips to achieve work-life balance 

Striking the perfect balance between work and personal life can sometimes feel like the world’s sloppiest juggling act. 

Much of work-life balance depends on company policies, but that doesn’t mean employees have no role to play. Individuals also need to actively set boundaries, prioritize their well-being, and communicate their needs.

Here are our essential tips for building a good work-life balance: 

  • Negotiate flexible hours or remote work options
  • Tailor your work schedule around personal commitments
  • Schedule regular breaks throughout your day
  • Use your vacation days to unplug fully 
  • Make time for personal development
  • Establish clear work hours and stick to them
  • Turn off work emails and notifications after a set time each evening
  • Communicate boundaries with colleagues and family to protect your time

These practical strategies can help you achieve a healthier work-life balance, ensuring neither work nor personal life is neglected. 

In the end, work-life balance is about more than just dividing time between work and personal activities — it’s also about integrating these aspects to support our overall happiness and fulfillment. 

By acknowledging the challenges and promoting work-life balance at a managerial level, we can move closer to a life where work enhances rather than detracts from our well-being. 

Category: Culture, Time Management