In the CIPD UK Working Lives survey, poor work-life balance was identified as a particular area of concern, with many people admitting that their jobs took up a significant proportion of their lives without the opportunity for sufficient, uninterrupted downtime.
Of the 5,136 people surveyed, 60% revealed that they work longer hours than they want, while a further 24% said they frequently overwork by ten or more hours per week.
As Virtual Assistants, this is a common complaint we receive from potential clients when they’re considering outsourcing some of the business tasks they just don’t have time for. Their workload has become so top-heavy that they’re finding themselves taking additional work home to complete in the evenings, just to enable them to stay on top of things.
It’s also a comment we see being made frequently on our social media platforms, and within industry groups we work with. Just this week, in fact, we spotted this on a forum utilised by some of our cleaning company clients:
‘How late is everyone else working? I’m spending all my evenings doing admin.’
As you can imagine, the comments were filled with similar concerns. Here at The Edwards Company, we believe in working hard, but we also believe in setting firm work-life boundaries so that one doesn’t seep into the other.
With this in mind, we’ve collated our top tips for instantly improving your work-life balance.
Improving your Work-Life Balance
Establish a Routine
Ensuring you have a routine in place is one of the most effective ways to ensure things get done when they need to be done. For example, if you’re providing a physical service during the day like the majority of our cleaning company clients are, it may be beneficial to set aside one evening per week to catch up with admin.
While this won’t prevent work spilling over into your downtime altogether, it will ensure you’re only using one evening to catch up, rather than spreading it out across the entire week, making you feel like you’re not getting the opportunity to step away from work at all. Any work that isn’t completed within your dedicated evening can wait until the same time next week.
If you’ve established a routine like spending one evening a week on admin, but you’re still finding you’re pushed for time, it could be because you’re prioritising too many things at once. To combat this, take a look at your to-do list and separate it into categories.
Decide what is urgent (i.e. anything that will have a negative impact on your business if not completed on time, like credit control, for example) and what can wait (i.e. any added extras like marketing efforts that won’t dramatically impact your business if not completed to a deadline).
This way, you’ll be able to plough through any vital tasks in your allotted time rather than running out of time to do them after completing less essential tasks.
We mean this quite literally – switch your devices off! When you feel like your work-life balance is off-kilter, it may be because you’re allowing work emails and calls to filter into your downtime. You might think that taking an enquiry call here and responding to an email there are only small tasks that don’t take up much of your time, but they can build up and make you feel like you’re never entirely out of work mode.
Once your working day is over, log out of your inbox, put your devices on mute and enjoy some time to yourself. Any enquiries will still be there the next morning.
Put Boundaries in Place
Similarly to switching off your devices in the evenings, it’s important to put boundaries in place to ensure you’re not working too many hours. As a cleaning business, for example, you’re likely working for yourself and therefore can dictate how many hours you work. While this may seem like a good thing, you’ll probably often find yourself working far more hours than what would be acceptable if you were working for someone else.
If you can, try to start and end work at the same time each day. Don’t allow yourself to push these boundaries too much or too frequently – if you do, you may risk burning out which may have a negative knock-on effect on your business overall.
Invest in a Virtual Assistant
Sometimes, putting a routine in place and putting your phone on mute won’t cut it. You may still find yourself spending your evenings getting on top of admin, and you won’t feel like your work-life balance has improved much at all.
Investing in support from a Virtual Assistant can help to combat this. Here at The Edwards Company, our admin support service is particularly popular among our clients, especially those who provide a physical service like our cleaning company clients. We can step in to take control of the tasks you don’t have time for while you focus on running and growing your business.
As part of our admin support service, we can step in to support you with:
- Managing your inbox
- Following up queries
- Emailing leads
- File management
- Drafting letters
- Scheduling social media posts
- Ordering supplies
Improving your work-life balance should be at the top of your priorities list. Putting some of these simple steps in place or investing in additional support could make all the difference to you and your business – give it a go!