The Effects of Work & Life Imbalance

In many careers, it’s challenging to strike a balance between work and personal life. However, the consequences of a poor work-life balance can cause your health to deteriorate, strain personal relationships, and reduce your productivity at work. When you understand how having a work-life imbalance affects areas of your life, you may be able to avoid the detrimental effects.

Prioritize Your Physical and Mental Health

One of the most harmful consequences of a poor work-life balance is a decline in your health. Too many work demands on your time may increase your stress levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, this amplified stress can weaken your immune system and exacerbate symptoms of medical conditions. People who are under stress are also at a higher risk of substance abuse.

When dealing with a work-life imbalance, it’s critical to focus on maintaining physical and mental health. Boost your immune system by eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep to feel rested. The Mayo Clinic recommends speaking with a support system, such as family and friends if the stress is overbearing. A counselor or mental health professional can help overworked employees manage their stress and find a balance.

Focus on Your Relationships

Work-life imbalance can create tension in personal relationships. If you’re always working or heavily stressed, you may not be able to give your spouse, children or friends the time they need. In addition to failing mental and physical health, poor work-life balance can lead to exhaustion and fatigue. During personal time, you may not be able to fully focus or participate in family activities.

The impact of work-life balance on business relationships is also important to consider. Employees who are well-rested and engaged are more likely to deal successfully with stressful or high-pressure situations at work. An employee who is already strained from a work-life imbalance may lash out at other employees, managers or customers if something triggers them on the job.

To manage the stress of a work-life imbalance, the Mayo Clinic suggests volunteering with organizations you’re passionate about. Research shows that volunteering can boost emotional well-being and alleviate the feeling of burnout. Be sure to manage your time carefully, though, so as not to add to your stressful day. Carefully choose the organization you want to work with and set boundaries for the amount of time you can give.

Avoid the Causes of Work-Life Imbalance

The adverse effects of a poor work-life balance on an employee's performance can result in low productivity, costly mistakes and poor performance reviews. To create a happy balance between work and personal time, you need to look at the causes of your work-life imbalance. They may include being understaffed, having an overbearing manager, or facing unrealistic expectations in your role.

Mental Health America recommends asking your employer for flexibility where possible in order to get closer to a balance that works for you. This may include working from home a few times a week or working flexible hours so that you’re able to meet your personal commitments in addition to work duties. Overworked employees should also consider exploring solutions to share the workload and discuss the possibilities with their managers.

When you are at home, Mental Health America suggests making your best effort to unplug from your phone or computer so that you can focus on your personal life. This helps you avoid the detrimental effects of work-life imbalance. Review your responsibilities at home, such as cooking, cleaning and yardwork. Ensure that duties are evenly distributed among household members so that all the burden is not on you.