How you can avoid chronic stress in private and at work
The boundary between work and personal life is becoming increasingly blurred. One reason for this is that people have become constantly reachable and consequently – and this is a very common expectation – constantly available. This state of affairs is deplored by psychologists in what they term as a lack of work-life balance. Staff who can be contacted by their manager or colleagues even in the evenings are far more likely to burn out. But more free time does not always equal less stress. People who are constantly active and on the move in their own spare time, yet don't schedule in enough relaxation time, do not necessarily experience less stress.
Work is only one aspect of life
Whether it's housework, employment or any other kind, work forms a part of most people's daily lives. As the popular phrase 'work-life balance' is a simplistic differentiation between employment and life, many prefer the expression 'life domain balance'. This term is a much better representation of the idea that work is only one of the many different areas of life that need to be taken into account when considering each individual way of life. The sum of all areas of life, apart from occupational employment, is termed 'private life'.
A healthy balance between all the different areas of life is becoming more and more important for many people. And as gainful employment makes up quite a significant proportion of this, the compatibility of work with private life as a whole is very much in the spotlight.
Company size is immaterial
These measures can benefit both parties. Staff are happier and more motivated because their work is more easily adapted to the stage they are at in their life. Thanks to greater commitment and an improved atmosphere at work, efficiency levels improve and costs, for example for personnel, go down. A positive image increases a company's appeal as an employer and puts the company at an advantage when recruiting talented workers.
Small and medium-sized enterprises can also benefit from a corporate commitment to a better life domain balance for their staff. And they can do this without having to put together a package of costly measures. Quite the opposite, in fact. Due to the flat hierarchies, it is much easier to develop individually tailored solutions together.
The fact that an improved life domain balance only has to incur minimal costs, or that the benefits outweigh the cost, is illustrated in the 'SME Handbook on Career and Family' published by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). According to SECO, SMEs can make use of the following measures to avoid chronic stress for their staff: