STUDY: To Get Work-Life Balance, You Need To Set Work-Life Boundaries

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If you don't set work-life boundaries, you're going to burn out.

We need to learn how to set work-life boundaries, a new study says.

Once upon a time, people were able to leave work completely behind once they clocked out at 6 o’clock. But now with mobile phones and the internet, our work follows us wherever we go. We answer emails after hours. We take our laptops with us on vacation.

We hardly ever completely disconnect from work, and when we do, we often feel guilty.

But a study from the University of Zurich in Switzerland has found that mixing work with pleasure is harmful in the long run. Yes, you might get more work done, but at what cost? According to the study, “the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life can affect people’s sense of wellbeing and lead to exhaustion.”

Set work-life boundaries. Stop bringing your laptop to the beach.

The researchers took data from 1916 employees who were asked about how they manage boundaries between their work and personal lives. Some questions covered:

  • How often they brought work home
  • How often they worked on the weekends
  • How often they thought about work during their time off
  • How they make sure that their work doesn’t interfere with their personal lives
  • How they make time to relax after work

The researchers found that the employees who didn’t set clear boundaries between work and their private lives were less likely to do things that could help them relax. These employees were also more exhausted and felt less balance and wellbeing.

Give yourself space to recover from work

“Employees who integrated work into their non-work life reported being more exhausted because they recovered less,” lead researcher Ariane Wepfer says. “This lack of recovery activities furthermore explains why people who integrate their work into the rest of their lives have a lower sense of wellbeing.”

Wepfer went on to say that companies should adjust their culture and policies to help employees manage their boundaries. “After all,” she says, “impaired well-being goes hand in hand with reduced productivity and reduced creativity.”

 

We hope this article convinced you to set work-life boundaries! Let us know what you think in the comments.

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