Maintain a Work-life balance? In Nigeria? Sounds mythical in this extreme sport we’re all pushing these days, huh? For most employed people in Nigeria, it is gbas gbos from the moment you open your eyes till when you fall asleep in front of the television.
Let’s face it.
Work, even if it is something we really love, comes with its fair share of stress. Especially here in Nigeria where stress amplifiers continue to increase with each passing day
This makes even the most routine activities tiring to do- waking up early to prepare for work, for school, and for the commute to your job if you’re not working remote. Sometimes, the driving/transportation can take a toll, especially if you stay in states where traffic jams are the norm. You get to work where you are met with many tasks, and very little room to gather yourself.
And finally, evening comes, and you’re ready to go home to your family/apartment, you sit through traffic and come back to end the day pressing your phone or doing more work.
While this is routine here in Nigeria, in the long run, it doesn’t have the best effect on your work and life. Many tales have been told about employees and even employers who broke down when their bodies and minds couldn’t keep up with the workload. People who dedicate all their energy to doing the work, and suddenly one day they can’t keep up with the demand on their bodies.
Sometimes, they are even laid off because they can’t work again. Their relationships suffer because they focus more on work; sometimes leading to divorce if they’re married. It’s as if their lives fall apart immediately after they break down.
I know you wouldn’t like to be in that position, which is why you need to find a balance between what you do and your normal life. You need to set boundaries, so you can comfortably live all the aspects of your life with ease.
That is what is referred to as Work-Life Balance.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Before we go into work-life balance and what it entails, it would interest you to know that Work-Life balance is a relatively new concept in employment structure and culture in the Nigerian Labour market. Before, many people didn’t think much about balancing work and life, not to mention maintain a work-life balance
It isn’t our fault. The subject of Work-Life balance is usually a western idea, with less attention given to it in developing countries like Nigeria.
Some aspects of WLB practices out there aren’t applicable here because of the cultural and institutional differences.
Organizations need to ensure employees experience a satisfactory level of balance between work and other parts of their life. This is to maintain a high job quality which reduces/eliminates errors costly to the company.
But, the repercussions of unbalanced work-life habits, it is clear that this should be something we should take seriously.
Work-life balance is maintaining a healthy balance between your working and personal lives.
It is simply the idea that a happy, fulfilling life outside of your work has a significant positive effect on how you work, and also reduces stress. You should try to balance work time and the time you spend with your friends and family, travelling, getting hobbies and interests, and doing other fulfilling hobbies.
One thing you should understand about this balance is that it isn’t necessarily an even split of the hours you spend i.e: 50/50 or 12/12. The balance you keep isn’t measured, and different people have various balances.
Instead, you can see it as the balance between achievement and fun/enjoyment.
Also, there isn’t necessarily a perfect work-life balance. If there was, it would mean never sacrificing one part of your life for the other. Constantly push your achievements in a professional sense while also finding new ways to enjoy life off work.
Is Work-Life Balance Important?
Whether you work remotely, the importance of WLB has become prevalent to both employees and employers alike. This is because it concerns an employee’s ability to prioritize between work and everyday life, social life, health, family, etc.
By now, you should know that WLB has to do with matters of productivity, performance, and job satisfaction. When a worker has proper work-life balance, they are likely to work better, simply because their family is content.
Recent studies show that with happy homes, workplaces tend to be conflict-free and enjoyable places to be in. Due to the growing demand for work-life balance, organizations have started looking outside conventional human resource strategies.
And so, practices like flexible working hours, leave plans, and benefits have become important especially in developed countries. The core characteristic of work-life balance is the amount of time someone spends working.
During the pandemic, recent proof has shown that long working hours affect personal health and increases stress. Countries like ours face serious economic problems; this recent recession is enough proof. Coupled with labour market pressures, poor social infrastructures, poverty, and corruption, these conditions further make the working life of an average Nigerian a living hell.
Most workers are troubled with less work flexibility and long working hours; situations that drastically reduce their output.
Where employees are unable to maintain proper work-life balance, they find it difficult to manage tasks and this leads to unproductivity.
WLB is very important in every worker’s life if they want to have longer, fulfilling careers.
But, finding that balance is hard for all workers. Maybe you’re in that situation and that’s why you’re reading this article. Then you are in the right place.
Now, if the work-life balance is that important in our lives, how do you maintain it? And how can you make it work for you?
How Can You Maintain a Proper Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance can mean something different for every individual, but here are our tips to help you maintain just the balance you need:
Reduce your phone usage
In our modern world of personal devices, we often find ourselves constantly available. We rarely take time to unplug and take our minds off our responsibilities. Because of this, we recommend taking small amounts of time every day away from your devices. Give yourself a break from checking your phone.
We believe that because many of us spend our days absorbed in our work, we don’t have time to exercise and stay active. Staying active is a great way to relax, take your mind off work and make you more productive especially if you work remotely. It is understandable if your 9-5 doesn’t give you the breathing space to exercise, but something as simple as a short walk can help keep you in top shape.
Never take work to bed
Just as you have separate time for work, also create time and space where you can relax and not think about work. This way, you can rest well, end your day and wake up refreshed. Taking your laptop/device to bed with you to complete work makes it harder for your brain to relax and switch off for the night.
Focus on your strengths
When in the workplace, helping out can be a great way to build relationships, but only when you have a proper idea of what you will be doing. This is to avoid wasting valuable time.
Have some “me time”
Spend more quality with yourself. When you do so, it helps you make sure you attend to your priorities. It also helps you stay stress-free during the day while giving you positive vibes.
So we have a lot of things that threaten to overwhelm our balance in life. But as always, we should create these little times of escape to tend to important aspects of life besides work. Let us know how you handle this seemingly extreme sport on our LinkedIn page.
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