WLB has always been a ‘thing’. But, lately, linked heavily to our working from home (WFH) situation, our mental health, well-being, and balance have increased in focus. Uncertainty and a sense of hopelessness brought on by the lockdowns and the pandemic affected some people more than others. The lack of the feeling of ‘progress’, as we were counting days of restrictions and inability to plan things for the near future, left us existing in a ‘no man’s land’. I think we have all been examining and questioning our previously held assumptions of WLB. The term WLB might suggest there is an ideal or correctly measured ratio of work to life. I don’t know about you, but it seems more fluid and elusive of late. I am also not sure the subject of WLB is as straightforward as it seems. Does it provide the well-being we seek? I am also not convinced it can be achieved through structure alone.
On the topic of ‘burnout’, Colleen Callander and author of ‘Leader by Design’, one of our recent guest Masterclass speakers, refer to it as ‘life in balance’. I thought it very poignant and a belief I have always held for myself. My other view on WLB is what works for one doesn’t necessarily apply for another and that the elusive balance we seek shifts and changes. The findings from our survey also demonstrate:
- more people seem happier (75.7%) with their current job now, versus our last survey in April 2021
- 42% feel COVID-19 has changed their working life habits for the better
- 2% have integrated a healthier lifestyle when WFH
- 1% said their financial situation has improved.
And yet, increased stress and mental health are significant concerns for the very same respondents.
Earlier this year, Harvard Business Review published an article, ‘Work-Life Balance Is a Cycle, Not an Achievement’, which discusses research showing that the balance is not something that can be fixed in one go. It is instead the process, with self-awareness playing a significant role. This self-awareness was also something Colleen spoke about as well. It seems we are all on the same track!