Earlier this month, it was National Work-Life Week. Running between 2 and 6 October, this awareness event is a reminder for employers and their employees to focus on promoting a good work-life balance.

This could mean reviewing business practices to ensure your employees have enough time away from the office and do not take their work home with them. You might also consider certain benefits you can offer which help your team relieve stress, or explore opportunities for flexible working.

But it is equally important for you to think about your own work-life balance, as business owners often struggle with their mental health.

A new study from Simply Business found that 56% of UK small business owners had experienced poor mental health in the last 12 months.

There are several reasons for this including excess stress, poor sleep, and financial worries. As such, it is important that you find ways to maintain a good work-life balance, even when you are working hard to build and sustain your business.

Read on to learn about five ways for business owners to improve their work-life balance.

1. Hire people you trust

American author, Zig Ziglar once said: “You do not build a business. You build people, then people build the business.”

Often, the reason that entrepreneurs struggle with their work-life balance, particularly in the early stages of a new business, is that they do not recognise this. 

They cannot delegate effectively, and they try to stay abreast of all the day-to-day activities of the business themselves. Naturally, this quickly leads to long hours and lots of stress.

That is why learning to hire people that you trust, so you can delegate much of that work and focus on the big picture, may be beneficial. 

When you have a trusted team behind you, it will be easier to take time away from work without worrying whether things are still running smoothly.

2. Take adequate time off

The national entitlement for annual leave is 28 days. This is the minimum amount of leave that you give your employees. Yet, you may choose to give them more because you recognise the importance of taking time away from work to rest.

Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that entrepreneurs do not take the same approach to their own time off. Indeed, Simply Business reports that three-quarters of business owners only take 20 days of annual leave a year.

If you want to improve your work-life balance, try to give yourself the same annual leave entitlement that you give your employees, and use it all up.

It is especially important to take time off if your mental health is suffering, but Simply Business reports that 40% of business owners do not do this. 

3. Learn to “leave” work properly

According to a survey conducted by YouGov, 60% of people say they check emails while on holiday. 

If you do this, you are not really “leaving” work. You may be stepping away from the office, but you are still taking on stress and using up mental space with work issues. Consequently, you cannot fully relax and recharge.

Additionally, Simply Business found that business owners work 46 hours a week. That is 10 hours more than the national average.

While it may be necessary to work longer hours while setting up a new business, try to set clear working hours. Then, when you are not scheduled to be working, make sure you fully switch off.

4. Take productive breaks during working hours

Work-life balance is not just about taking time away from work. You also need to maintain a good balance during your scheduled working hours.

Regular breaks not only help you manage your stress levels, but they may also help you work more effectively when you return. However, it is important that you consider the quality of your breaks, as well as the frequency.

A “bad” break can leave you feeling less productive or more stressed than before. This usually happens because you engage in certain activities including:

  • Social media use
  • Eating unhealthy foods
  • Reading the news
  • Shopping online.

These are highly stimulating activities that encourage short-term dopamine release, leaving you feeling unfocused.

Try to spend your break doing alternative activities instead, such as:

  • Going for a walk
  • Stretching
  • Talking with a colleague
  • Reading.

These activities give you a chance to relax and avoid excess stimulation, so you feel rested and focused when you return to work.

Regular, high-quality breaks will make it a lot easier to balance your stress levels, even if you work long hours.

5. Learn to say “no” to work

The idea of turning away work is challenging for business owners, especially when you are first starting out. 

However, if you do not have the capacity to take on the work and it will lead to poor work-life balance, saying “no” is the right option. Learning to set personal boundaries in this way is crucial if you want to improve your work-life balance.

If you find that you are regularly turning down work, it might be time to consider whether you need to expand the business.

Get in touch

If you need assistance managing your wealth as a business owner, then please do get in touch with us at DBL Asset Management.

Email enquiries@dbl-am.com or call 01625 529 499 to speak to us today.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.