Understanding the importance of work-life balance

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Health Assured team

08 October 2021

In a fast paced, technologically influenced world, work-life balance is quickly gaining the attention of organisations. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged workforces to adapt their processes overnight. Now, the homeworking setup still reigns royally across the UK. Companies have sold offices, opted for hybrid setups and some are still easing into office life. This puts the issue of work-life balance even higher on the agenda. Because balancing home and work life can be even more difficult when the two begin to merge.

Why is work-life balance so important?

Mental health

Over the past three months, work-related stress has been one of the top ten reasons for calls to Health Assured's helpline. Job demands, work relationships and lack of support can quickly impact mental health. When work weighs heavy on employees’ minds, they can’t manage other areas of life as easily. It’s a two-way street. Poor work-life balance affects mental health—and poor mental health affects work-life balance. But a balanced approach to work-life can boost mental health, and vice versa.

The impact of poor mental health in the workplace goes beyond what the eye can see. The Mental Health Foundation reported that over 70 million working days are lost to poor mental health every year. They also found that less than half of employees would feel able to talk with their line manager if they were suffering from stress². This highlights the heart of the issue. The stigma around mental health and workplace stress persists. It’s up to employers to take the reigns and tackle employee wellbeing at its core.

Physical health

Employees spend almost two-thirds of their waking lives in the workplace¹. Work-life already takes up a big percentage of the pie. That leaves employees little time to devote to their physical health and wellbeing. Thriving at work involves a healthy mind and a healthy body but tending to the body’s needs takes time. Take sleep for example. The NHS state that regular poor sleep can increase the risk of serious medical conditions like obesity, coronary heart disease and diabetes¹. When employees are frantically juggling work and life demands, sleeping can become troublesome. In the long run, this can have profound consequences on employees' physical health.

Workplace culture

A healthy workplace culture encourages employees to be happy, healthy and productive. From our experience here at Health Assured, we’ve seen the statistics to prove it. Workplaces that support employee wellbeing see startling results. Here are some of the latest figures:

  • 72% back in work after therapy
  • 35% decrease in presenteeism
  • 35% decrease in workplace distress
  • 20% increase in life satisfaction

Work-life balance forms part of a larger piece of the jigsaw puzzle. A holistic approach to employee wellbeing in the workplace should consider the whole. From work-life balance to mental health support, stress management and career development. There’s no one answer.

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