Working on creating balance
Do you live to work? Or work to live? Regardless of where your priorities lie, the ultimate goal is having equilibrium, the perfect balance between work and life. But is it possible to have it all? Or are we just kidding ourselves?
The working culture is shifting worldwide – here in Australia, research shows employees are working longer hours, often in unpaid overtime. And experts have stated that this approach has caused an increase in stress, which can have long term health risks.
Meanwhile in Sweden, they have shortened their business hours from the standard eight-hour day to six hours, to enable workers to spend more time with family.
Swedish businesses began rolling out the new hours last year and claim that productivity remained the same despite the change, thanks to an increase in morale.
But while we may be working more, we are also taking more holidays – proof that we still value our work/life balance.
Local travel industry professional Peter Cooney says 30 per cent of Australians take two or more holidays a year, and one-in-20 of us are taking more than five.
He says people are taking shorter trips to have a break, normally for three to 10 days, and often opt for a domestic vacation, or an international sojourn closer to home.
“Holidays refresh and enliven your senses,” says Peter.
“A holiday doesn’t have to be a major exercise, just getting away from the routine of day-to-day life and local environment, even for just a few days, can make such a difference.
“If you’re in small business or working for yourself, maybe you can actually sneak away for a bit and take your business with you. But make sure you allocate your work time and your own time while you’re away – where possible, switch off your devices so you are solely dedicating that time to yourself or your loved ones.”
While nearly half of the population doesn’t take a holiday each year, Peter says that is often because they take a longer, more eventful trip every second or third year, which gives them something to work for and look forward to.
Having a holiday to look forward to could also have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing.
A holiday doesn’t have to be a major exercise, just getting away from the routine of day-to-day life and local environment, even for just a few days, can make such a difference.”
Roy Morgan Research found that Australians who are planning a trip in the next 12 months have a more positive outlook on life than those with no holiday planned - 79.4 per cent of people planning an overseas holiday and 77.5 per cent planning a domestic holiday agree with the statement, ‘I’m optimistic about the future’, compared with 67 per cent of people who do not have a holiday planned.
Having this balance between work and life also ensures a richer experience on both accounts. I know that when I go on a holiday, I appreciate the time away with my husband, and the experience of being in another town or country – sampling their local cuisine, soaking up the sights, and meeting new people. Likewise when I return to work, I feel refreshed, revitalised and full of ideas for the next issue of the magazine.
Is it time to plan your next holiday?