For many years we have been striving to do more with less - less time, that is. The challenge is one that confronts workforce employees who work long hours in high-stress environments and then juggle multiple home responsibilities, producing added stress.
While there is stress across the board, it's women that seem to experience it at a higher level.
According to a study published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), women are two thirds more likely to suffer work stress than their male colleagues, and women in their 30s and 40s are almost 70% more likely to suffer work-related stress.
And...these numbers continue to climb.
According to the Families and Work Institute, nearly 50% of all U.S. workers feel overwhelmed by a growing number of job tasks and longer working hours.
Another survey shows that 88% of employees say they have a hard time juggling work and life.
The U.S. government reports that since 1969, family time for a working couple has shrunk an average of 22 hours a week.
Per the National Sleep Foundation, the average commute time is more than 45 minutes per day—and is much longer in large metropolitan areas such as New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.
It is clear that many find themselves dealing with juggling many responsibilities. These responsibilities aren't necessarily bad, or unwanted but the management of all the components of our lives can be difficult to balance. What we all want is to find the right mix of work, family, leisure and personal time, but this elusive 'work/life balance' is difficult to achieve and is a challenge to understand.
Suggestions to improve balance often include learning about, and developing skills such as setting priorities, learning to say "no", scheduling breaks, committing to unplug, to name a few. Yet these skills address only the symptoms, not the cause, and therefore do not provide adequate and lasting relief - this is not a sustainable answer.
To solve the, ever-increasing need for work/life balance in a sustainable way, the source of the problem needs to be addressed as well as the symptoms. A direct approach exploring and challenging perceptions and beliefs that lead to imbalance is what's required. Quite simply, examining:
Why habits, routines, and practices that lead to imbalance have been developed and maintained.
What causes the continuation of these habits, routines, and practices?
How do these activities and attitude ultimately serve the individual? Meaning, what creates an obstacle for change?
Work/Life Balance is not a goal to achieve but a process or practice that is developed and monitored. It is not a destination in and of itself, but a journey of choice. Finding balance is not and end point; all balance requires energy. When you know what is required, achieving balance can be achieved with ease; when you don't know what is needed, seeking balance will always be an effort.
Find more about how you can create Sustainable Work/Life Balance for yourself or your employees now.