The various effects of work-life balance on mental health

deskbird
8 min readApr 17, 2023
work-life-balance-mental-health

A healthy work-life balance is hard to achieve and maintain. Many workers are overstressed and an alarming number have already experienced burnout at least once in their careers. It is no surprise that 72% of employees worldwide consider work-life balance as one of their top priorities when looking for a new job1.

Work-life balance and mental health are deeply connected. But reaching a good balance between one’s professional and personal life seems to be harder and harder.

Prevention is key to tackling these two essential topics. Yet, before talking about solutions to help your workforce improve their work-life balance and mental wellness, you need to understand what negatively and positively affects these aspects.

At deskbird, our goal is to support companies in embracing the trends of the future of work and promoting more employee-centric practices. This article gives you clear insight into the correlation between work-life balance and mental health and how to improve them simultaneously.

How does work-life balance impact mental health?

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The meaning of a good work-life balance

Do you often think about work after you go home? Do you have enough time for your friends and family? Do you usually sleep like a baby or do you struggle to fall asleep and wake up frequently? These are examples of questions your staff can ask themselves to determine if they have a good work-life balance.

Even if they love their jobs, they should be able to put a barrier between professional and personal time. Switching off from work is crucial to maintain a healthy mindset, avoid burnout, and keep thriving.

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9 ways poor work-life balance influences your staff’s mental health

So, what happens when employees have a poor work-life balance? You might not see the consequences straight away. But, you shouldn’t underestimate this aspect and wait for the first effects to appear (it might be too late). Here are a few of the negative impacts a lack of work-life balance can have on your team members:

  1. difficulty to concentrate;
  2. irritability;
  3. stress and anxiety;
  4. decrease in job quality and productivity;
  5. disengagement and dissatisfaction;
  6. burnout signs and symptoms;
  7. quiet quitting;
  8. high employee turnover;
  9. increase in health-related costs (sick notes, absenteeism, workplace injuries, loss of productivity, etc.).

12 ways good work-life balance improves your employees’ mental health

As you can imagine if a bad work-life balance is often linked to poor mental health, a good one has the opposite effect. Here are several examples of how fostering a good work-life balance for your team members helps improve their mental wellness:

  1. greater physical and mental health thanks to more time for hobbies;
  2. drop in stress levels;
  3. healthier sleeping patterns;
  4. increase in engagement and productivity thanks to a healthier and clearer mind;
  5. better relationships with others (friends, family, colleagues);
  6. stronger concentration abilities;
  7. rise of creativity and innovation;
  8. fewer risks of burnout in the workplace;
  9. gain in employee satisfaction;
  10. higher employee happiness score;
  11. fewer sick notes and less absenteeism;
  12. lower employee turnover.

➡️ Read our article about employee happiness and productivity to discover how these two aspects go hand-in-hand.

What can negatively affect the work-life balance of your team members?

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Heavy workloads and unrealistic deadlines

There are two types of stress. The good kind that pushes your employees out of their comfort zones and the bad kind that leads to poor work-life balance and mental health. In a work environment, the second kind of stress often appears when heavy workloads and unrealistic goals are set. Workers are overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead and the time that is left to get it done. Coupled with a micromanagement style and you will end up with a burnt-out team in the blink of an eye.

Lack of time for personal activities and relationships

Do your coworkers have time to take care of themselves? Can they easily find a moment to go to a doctor’s appointment or do sport? A lack of time for personal activities and relationships is a clear sign that your staff is off balance. Ignoring this aspect usually results in workers being unhappy, stressed, and unsatisfied with both their professional and personal lives.

On one hand, not having time for personal matters affects their personal relationships as well as their physical and mental health. On the other hand, not being able to switch off and get personal quality time directly impacts their engagement and productivity.

Absence of barriers between work and private life moments

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Answering work phone calls or e-mails after hours should be a no-go. Putting a barrier between professional and personal life is essential to enable your staff to preserve a healthy mindset and find a better work-life balance.

How can they recharge and rest properly if they are continuously reminded of the next tasks that need to be done? It is impossible. Here again, letting work take over private moments results in an increase in stress levels and weakens your staff’s ability to maintain a good work-life balance.

A management style based on the outcomes instead of people

The influence of a good leadership style is crucial for every business. Not only do managers need to make sure goals are reached but they also must ensure employee well-being.

A work environment with a corporate culture based on outcomes more than on people often results in higher stress levels among workers. Moreover, it is very likely that companies with an employee-centric approach end up being more successful than businesses with a market culture.

Organizations that don’t put their employees’ needs first often face higher workforce turnover, absenteeism, and lower performance due to a lack of job satisfaction, disengagement, and employee burnout.

👉 Do you want to build a strong corporate culture that makes your team members thrive? Read our article about how to create a positive work culture!

What can you do to help your workforce have a better work-life balance and improve their mental wellness?

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Meet employees’ expectations

For employees, working for a company that doesn’t meet their expectations and makes them feel unaligned with their values can have a drastic impact on their mental health. Many of them, especially Millennials and Gen Z workers, don’t hesitate to quit and look for a job that matches their needs better.

But for those who can’t afford to make this decision, being in a work environment where they don’t feel they belong can be very challenging psychologically and emotionally. To keep employees happy, motivated, and loyal, meeting their expectations and creating a positive workplace culture is therefore fundamental.

Make your employees’ mental health a priority

The economic cost of poor employee mental health is alarming. What can you do to reverse the trend? Prevention is key to avoiding the rise of mental health issues among your workforce and lowering related expenses (sick notes, loss of productivity, human mistakes, etc.). To do so, employers, managers, and HR teams have a key role to play. Here are four basic tips to take care of your employees’ mental health:

  • Make sure they take their leave and days off when necessary.
  • Regularly remind them about basic rules such as not checking their e-mails after working hours and not working extra hours (it needs to stay exceptional).
  • Create a trustworthy relationship so they come to talk to you without fear when they need guidance or feel unwell.
  • Promote well-being initiatives in the workplace (meditation corner, yoga classes at lunch break, wellness app subscriptions, discounts on well-being support resources, etc.).

Provide flexible work arrangements opportunities

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During the COVID-19 crisis, people discovered the benefits of working from home and having more time for themselves. Employees enjoyed the perks of having a better work-life balance thanks to more flexible working arrangements.

The lack of in-person social interactions is one of the only downsides of working fully remotely. But with a hybrid work model, workers enjoy the benefits of working from anywhere while being able to meet their colleagues on a regular basis.

Consequently, if you want to provide your staff with a better work-life balance, and therefore help them improve their mental health, letting them work from anywhere is the way to go.

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Regularly conduct employee satisfaction surveys focusing on work-life balance and mental health

For any aspect you want to improve in your workplace, employee satisfaction questionnaires are your best allies. They can be as generic or specific as you want. To determine what — positively or negatively — affects your staff’s mental health, and to promote a better work-life balance, create a survey focusing on these aspects. For example, it can include questions such as:

  • Do you consider your workload fair in comparison to the number of your working hours?
  • How often have you been feeling overstressed over the last month?
  • Is your work schedule allowing you to balance your professional and personal life?
  • On a scale of 0 to 10, how satisfied are you with your working life?
  • What do you think are the three most important aspects that would help you have better mental health and work-life balance?
  • Do you have the feeling your needs are taken into consideration in the workplace?
  • Would you say that the company cares about well-being in the workplace?

Employee work-life balance and mental health are two fundamental topics to consider for companies. As you just read, they are deeply interconnected and have a direct impact on your business. We hope this article gives you a better understanding and key information to promote both work-life balance and mental wellness in the workplace. As the wish for more employee flexibility is rising and therefore playing a pivotal role in boosting job satisfaction, we recommend you request a free demo of the deskbird app! As a leader in workspace management, we help you optimize your office space and embrace all the perks of hybrid work!

1 10 STATISTICS ON WORK-LIFE BALANCE THAT MAY SURPRISE YOU, Apollo Technical.

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deskbird

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