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Work-life balance

Is your work-life balance out of kilter? Lots of us have more to do at work and less time to do it in. This can make it challenging to ensure you have enough time and energy for everything in your life.

It may sound simple, but it isn’t always obvious. The right balance for you will depend on your priorities and your situation.

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Work-life balance

In this guide we consider what people mean when they talk about work-life balance and why it is so important for us all to get the balance right.

  • What is work-life balance?

    Work-life balance is the relationship between your work and the rest of your life. It’s not just about achieving an equal balance between both areas, it's more complex than that. The right balance for you may favour one area of your life over the other, which may change over time or depend on what stage you’re at in life. For example, if you're a parent of a young child or children, you might prefer to limit your working hours so that you're able to spend more time at home – and the situation may change as they become older.

    Work-life balance means different things to each of us, so it’s hard to generalise about what the ‘right’ balance is. It really depends on you finding how best your work commitments and your lifestyle fit together. 

  • What are the benefits of achieving a healthy work-life balance?

    A good work-life balance helps to prevent stress and stress-related conditions including anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders – which could otherwise interfere with everyday life.

    Balancing work and play can go a long way in helping us to lead happier and healthier lives. When we're able to split our time between work and family, friends, interests, health and fitness, we enjoy a better quality of life, which increases our levels of happiness and improves our wellbeing. 

    As you find balance between the two, you'll have more control over how you spend your time – helping you to perform at your best whilst allowing space for you to do more of the things you enjoy.

  • Signs of an unhealthy work-life balance

    Maybe you regularly stay at work late, take work home or find yourself thinking about unfinished tasks when you should be doing other things. While this works for some people, for lots of us it can disrupt our personal lives and squeeze out time for other activities.

    Mental Health Foundation’s survey found that 1 in 4 of us neglect aspects of our personal life because of work. When this happens, it can take its toll on your physical and mental health, as well as your relationships and your home life. So if you recognise some of these signs it’s time for you to take action.

    Signs your work-life balance may be off kilter
    • You’re often too busy with work to find time for other areas in your life  
    • You’ve found yourself giving up on exercise 
    • You’re regularly snacking on junk food to fuel your day
    • You’ve been neglecting your social life or your responsibilities at home
    • You’re bringing work home, working late or putting in hours on days when you shouldn’t be 
    • You’re irritable, anxious or stressed most days
    • You feel exhausted a lot of the time
  • Finding your boundaries

    You might like to keep distinct boundaries between your work and your personal life. Or you might prefer to mix up the two in a way that’s convenient. For example, you may be relaxed about when and where you work to give yourself more freedom to do personal activities at times that suit you. Or if you’re caring for a family member, you may find doing flexible hours or working from home lets you care for them more easily. 

    There’s no right or wrong way – work-life balance is a very personal thing and only you can determine what works best.

Next steps

Take a look at some of our ideas to help you achieve a work-life balance that works for you.

More support

  • Our support services

    The Bank Workers Charity exists to support current and former bank employees. Find out more about the services and support we provide.
  • My Possible Self

    My Possible Self is a research-led app which offers a holistic approach to mental health. It can help you to manage anxiety, tackle depression, ease stress and improve sleep.
  • Stress Check

    Our Stress Check has been designed by experts. Use it to find out if you're more stressed than you'd like. Then learn what you can do about it.

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