Is work-life balance a myth?

Feb 12, 2024

Is work-life balance a myth... Blog @ TeamUltim

Photo by Christophe Hautier on Unsplash

The conversation surrounding work-life balance is constantly growing. Even more so with an increase in new modern workforce trends such as remote work and the possibility of a shorter workweek. But what exactly is work-life balance? Think of it like a seesaw.

When we were younger, we would go to the park, someone would get on one side of the seesaw, thus making the opposite side go down. When an individual can create a harmony between their professional and personal life, the perfect balance is created. However, the seesaw is never truly always balanced, is it? What does that mean? Is a perfect work-life balance really attainable? Or is it just a myth like many of the stories we were told growing up?

The Evolution of work-life balance

The typical 40-hour work week which has become today’s norm was first introduced in 1926 by the American, Henry Ford and by 1940 this standard workweek was engraved by law. Prior to this, people were working 80–100-hour weeks. Crazy, right? The point of the 40-hour workweek was to give employees more time off. However, the term “work-life balance” was only first coined in the 80s in the United Kingdom, during the Woman’s Liberation Movement, which advocated for maternity leave. Today, work-life balance is used to refer to that need for stability between one’s job and other needs, interests and responsibilities.

How did the pandemic highlight the greater demand for a better work-life balance?

With the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw the need to adapt. Many businesses had to resort to remote work for a chance of survival. And although the peak of the pandemic is now behind us, many people still continue to do remote work. Matter-of-fact, many employers have made remote work a new routine for their employees. The rise in remote work has been so considerable that “working from home” also known as “wfh” has become a trending topic online. More and more businesses have started to include a day in the workweek where their employees can work from home. According to a survey conducted by, “71% of remote workers said remote work helps balance their work and personal life.” A survey done by Owl Labs reported that “workers who were working at home reported having less stress, more focus, and a better work-life balance.” You can read more on remote work and the future in our other article, “Are remote jobs the future?”

What can hinder work-life balance?

Just like a seesaw, life can never always be stable. The truth is work-life balance heavily depends on circumstances out of our control. Unforeseeable things always happen, whether that’s your boss assigning you more tasks or something unplanned coming up in your personal life. It’s impractical to expect perfect harmony all the time. However, being able to identify when things are no longer balanced and taking immediate action can prevent unnecessary chaos.

How to maintain a good work-life balance

1. Time management.

The key to a better work-life balance is time management. This is indispensable if you want to avoid feeling overwhelmed and exhausted which can make it challenging to balance your priorities. You can use a planner to stay organized and add some structure to your day or even make a to-do list.

2. Have a break, have a KitKat!

Although time management should be your best friend, don’t forget to take a break sometimes. Whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, taking a moment to breathe or do something else really goes a long way. If your workplace has a fixed time for lunch and other breaks, take advantage of that. Don’t try to get work done during that period. Instead, simply enjoy your little time off during the day, take a walk, or maybe have lunch somewhere else outside of the workplace.

3. Teamwork makes the dreamwork.

A team is the foundation of a business and a business is only as strong as its team. Bombarding one person with all the work can have disastrous consequences, for example, burnout. Delegating tasks is a good way to keep the workload balanced and a good way to keep employees engaged and avoid bore out. When the workload is shared impartially, workers are less stressed and can then commit to other things in their personal life.

4. Make time for your personal life.

It is very easy to get caught up in the demands of your professional life. However, it’s important to satisfy our social needs as well. Be sure to schedule social time outside of work. Spending quality time with the ones you care about can bring much-needed peace and relief. Going out is a good way to keep your mind off of work and remind yourself that you are more than just an employee, but also an individual that exists outside of the job place.

So, is work-life balance a myth? Life is a seesaw, and it constantly goes up and down. Therefore, the need for stability is very valid. Although things cannot be perfect all the time, there are many ways to keep things balanced. Improving your time management, taking breaks, working as part of a team and prioritizing your social life are just a few of the many ways to maintain a good work-life harmony.

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