45 Work-Life Balance Examples

work-life balance examples and definition, explained below

Work-life balance is a concept referring to a holistic distribution of time and energy between professional obligations and personal life, often in the context of the need to prevent work from looming large over recreation.

Palvia and Brown (2015) define the term below:

“Work-life balance refers to an individual’s perception of harmony or equilibrium between work and life domains. Work-life balance can be operationalized as low conflict or high satisfaction in both work and life domains”

According to Khan and Fazili (2016), effective work-life balance provides individuals with a sense of satisfaction in both spheres of their life.

Work-life balance becomes increasingly vital as technological advancements blur the boundaries between work and non-work hours, and particularly in the context of the normalization of work-from-home conditions for white-collar jobs (Gadecki, Jewdokimow & Zadkowska, 2018).

Interestingly, Jackson and Fransman (2018) argue that maintaining a healthy work-life balance can contribute to increased productivity, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. Ensuring this balance may also mitigate stress and job burnout.

Work-Life Balance Examples

1. Non-Work Personal Identity: To achieve better work-life balance, it’s essential to have an identity outside of work. While we may consider our work and career core to our sense of self and satisfaction (especially if we find our work meaningful), but having passions outside of work help prevent us from falling into a ‘workaholic’ mentality.

2. After Work Decompression: Having a routine activity that you do once work ends can help you to switch your mind off work and turn it back to your ‘outside life. My wife likes to have a bath after a stressful day of work. I like to go for a long bike ride.

3. Flexible Work Schedule: In non-shift work, this may include being able to turn up late or early to work, so long as you get the work done. In shift-work, this may require you to ‘swap shifts’ with other employees. Overall, a flexible work schedule offers more freedom to manage your personal life and can result in a healthier balance between work and life.

2. Remote Working: This refers to working from home or any other location outside the traditional office setup. This eliminates time spent on commuting, allowing more time for personal activities and enhancing work-life balance. With the rise of the ‘digital nomad’, some people even move to digital nomad hotspots like Canggu, Bali or Chiang Mai, Thailand, to earn western wages while living in a more affordable (and interesting!) location.

3. Holiday Leave Policy: This refers to a company offering generous holiday leave, which will enable employees to have adequate rest and relaxation time away from work. This can help you to ‘switch off’ and can prevent burnout, allowing you to live a life away from work.

It Helps to Take Longer Vacations!

A famous study by de Bloom, Geurts & Kompier (2012) in The Journal of Happiness Studies found that it takes approximately 8 days to unwind and de-stress when on vacation. Furthermore, they find that the quality of the vacation matters when it comes to sustained wellbeing after returning to work: “Vacation experiences, especially pleasure, relaxation, savoring and control, seem to be especially important for the strength and persistence of vacation (after-) effects.” So, embrace those holidays!

4. Health and Wellness Programs: Workplaces offer wellness programs including gym memberships or yoga classes. These initiatives promote healthy living, which improves attitudes towards work and adds to the quality of personal life.

5. Employee Assistance Programs: A business offers counselling services to staff to support personal and professional problems. This bears direct beneficial impact on overall work-life balance.

6. Job Sharing: Two or more employees carry out the roles of a full-time position. This reduces the workload for each individual, allowing them more personal time and consequently, a better work-life equilibrium.

7. Proactive Workload Management: A supervisor actively monitors the workload of the team, ensuring that no member is overwhelmed. This proactive approach can relieve work stress and promote a more balanced life.

8. Maximum Working Hour Legislation: By implementing a maximum working hour policy, governments can prevent the overworking of employees. This reduces work-related stress and burnout, making room for a healthy work-life balance.

Below are the legislated working hours of 10 key countries:

CountryStandard WorkweekOvertime Laws
France25 hoursOvertime pay: At least 110% regular wages, or 125% for first 8 hours and 150% thereafter without agreement
Australia38 hoursAdditional hours negotiated between employer and employee
Germany40 hoursOvertime only if stated in the employee’s contract
Spain40 hoursOvertime allowed, up to 80 hours per year
Japan40 hoursOvertime compensation varies based on when it occurs
Canada40 hoursOvertime varies by province, generally 150% or 150-175%
United States40 hoursOvertime rate: At least 1.5 times hourly pay rate
Brazil44 hoursOvertime compensation required at 150% of regular pay
Mexico48 hoursOvertime up to 9 hours per week, compensated at standard rate
India48 hoursOvertime required, double the rate of regular pay

9. Regular Break Allowance: Employers encourage workers to take regular breaks during the workday. Regular breaks can enhance productivity and provide employees with a chance to disconnect, relax, and achieve a better work-life balance.

10. Reduced Hours of Option: A full-time worker switches to part-time work without losing the job. This allows for more time dedicated to personal life, enabling a healthier balance between work and personal life.

11. Priority Setting: An employee focuses on the most essential tasks during working hours, reducing unnecessary overtime. This increases efficiency and grants more personal time, forging a better work-life balance.

12. Protected Personal Time: A worker designates specific periods as “off-duty” time where no work-related calls or emails are attended to. This allows for complete immersion in personal activities, improving the equilibrium between work and personal life.

13. Sabbatical Leaves: Companies can offer sabbatical leaves to employees where they can take extended time off work for personal pursuits. This promotes mental calmness and rejuvenation, fostering an enhanced work-life harmony. This is particularly common in academia, where professors can take a sabbatical semester every few years, but they’re still often required to conduct research or write books in that time.

14. Telecommuting Option: An employee works remotely on certain days in a week. This flexible arrangement offers more control over the work environment and reduces commuting time, creating a more balanced life.

15. Encouraging Hobbies: Organizations promote pursuits outside work by hosting hobby clubs or organizing interdepartmental competitions. This encourages the employees to indulge in leisure activities, improving their work-life balance.

16. In-house Child Care Services: Businesses offer on-site childcare facilities. These services make it easier for working parents to manage their responsibilities, promoting better work-life balance.

17. Unplugging Regularly: A worker practices digital detox, avoiding tech gadgets and electronic communication after work hours. This reduces mental clutter and improves the quality of personal life, leading to better work-life balance.

France’s “Right to Disconnect” Laws

On 1 January, 2017, France implemented the “right to disconnect law“, which entitled employees of firms with over 50 employees to ignore emails after 6pm. This protected them from disciplinary action from employers if they didn’t answer emails at night.

18. Educational Support: An employer offers support for further education and skills enhancement for employees. This not only boosts career progression, but also fosters personal development, thus improving work-life balance.

19. Healthy Perimeter Setting: A worker maintains healthy boundaries between work and personal life, ensuring neither area dominates the other. This approach guards personal free time, thereby promoting a balanced life.

20. Creating Relaxation Zones: Employers set up relaxation zones within the workplace where employees can take short breaks. Offering such areas for rejuvenation within the office premises aids in decreasing stress and enhancing work-life balance.

21. Constructive Feedback Mechanism: Employers maintain an open communication channel for employees to share their concerns and suggestions. An open dialog could lead to measures that improve work-life balance across the board.

22. Diverse Holiday Calendar: The organization respects diverse holidays, allowing employees from different backgrounds adequate personal time. This fosters a strong work-life balance among a multicultural workforce.

23. Statutory Vacation Time: Governments can mandate a minimum quantity of paid vacation days for employees working in the country. This policy mandates downtime that allows employees to decompress and recharge, fostering a balanced work-life dynamic.

CountryLegislated Paid Annual LeavePublic Holidays
France2014
Australia2010
Germany2410-13 (Varies by state)
Spain2214 (11 on weekdays)
Japan10-2016
Canada10-20 (Varies by province)6-12 (Varies by province)
United States00
Brazil2213
Mexico127
India2510

24. Defined Work Hours: Employees establish set working hours, preventing work from intruding into their personal time. This ensures time demarcation between work and non-work activities, fostering a healthy work-life balance.

25. Essential Skills Training: Employers provide training sessions on skills like time management and stress management. These assist employees in managing workloads and personal time effectively, promoting an improved work-life balance.

26. Parental Work Flexibility: A company offers flexible scheduling options for parents, allowing them time for school runs and unexpected childcare needs. This initiative ensures balance by accommodating family commitments alongside work.

27. Maternity / Paternity Leaves: Organizations extend significant periods of maternity and paternity leave for parents. This provision enables parents to spend quality time with their newborn child without the pressures of work, fostering healthier work-life dynamics.

CountryLegislated Maternity LeaveLegislated Paternity Leave
France26 weeks5 weeks
Australia20 weeks20 weeks
Germany14 weeks2 weeks
Spain16 weeks16 weeks
Japan14 weeks4 weeks
Canada40-69 weeks (longer leave receives lower weekly payment)40-69 weeks, shared. (parents share leave, so dad can take some of mom’s leave time.)
United States12 weeks, unpaid12 weeks, unpaid
Brazil24 weeks1 week
Mexico12 weeks1 week
India26 weeks3 weeks

*Note: I was unable to encapsualte the complexities in this table. Leave times have many contingencies, and differences arise in paid vs unpaid, and whether the government or employer pays for the leave. See your country’s official website for more details.

28. Family-Friendly Events: The company organizes events where employees’ families can participate. Such occasions allow workers to involve their families in aspects of their work life, creating a blended work-family environment and a better work-life balance.

29. Parent Support Groups: Workplaces instigate support groups for working parents to share their experiences and challenges. These groups provide emotional support and practical solutions, aiding parents in managing their personal and professional life effectively.

30. Backup Childcare Service: Businesses provide backup childcare services for situations where regular childcare arrangements fall through. This emergency support reassures working parents, enabling them to focus on their work while knowing their children are safe, thus enhancing their work-life balance.

31. Hobby Allowances: Employers provide allowances or benefits that can be used to pursue a hobby. This financial support can aid employees in exploring personal interests outside of work, enhancing the balance between work and personal time.

32. Gym Refunds: The company refunds all employees’ gym membership costs to support employees’ fitness needs. This encourages employees to focus on their physical health, which is intricately tied to mental health and wellbeing.

33. Hobby Leave: Organizations offer specific leave days for employees to invest time in their hobbies. “Hobby leave” demonstrates a company’s commitment to its employees’ personal lives, fostering a healthier dynamic between work and leisure.

34. Flexible Days Off: An employer allows staff members to take leave days at times that suit their personal needs, such as for attending concerts, exhibitions, or any hobby-related event. This flexibility contributes to achieving a work-life balance that suits individual needs.

35. Flexible Work Hours: A company offers adjustable work hours, enabling employees to align their working times with their personal routines or hobbies. This initiative alleviates employees from the traditional constraints of a 9-5 schedule, thereby contributing to an efficient work-life balance.

36. Mental Health Leave: Businesses acknowledge the importance of mental health by offering stipulated mental health leave days. This move enables employees to take time off work to engage in activities that promote mental wellbeing – be it personal introspection, a vacation, or a hobby that rejuvenates them.

37. Mourning Leave: Employers provide designated mourning leave for those who have lost a loved one. This act of empathy grants employees the nurturing time they need to grieve, without the stress of work commitments, effectively addressing the balance between personal needs and work requirements.

38. Paternal and Maternal Leave: Firms allocate extended leaves for new mothers and fathers. This policy facilitates new parents to bond with their child and adjust to their new life-changing circumstance without work interruption, thus fostering an improved work-life balance.

39. Paid Sick Leave: Mandatory paid sick leave can enable employees to recuperate from illnesses without facing financial penalties. Such policies encourage employees to prioritize their health over work, thus promoting a healthier work-life balance.

40. Maximum Working Hour Legislation: By implementing a maximum working hour policy, governments can prevent the overworking of employees. This reduces work-related stress and burnout, making room for a healthy work-life balance.

Below are the legislated working hours of 10 key countries:

CountryStandard WorkweekOvertime Laws
France25 hoursOvertime pay: At least 110% regular wages, or 125% for first 8 hours and 150% thereafter without agreement
Australia38 hoursAdditional hours negotiated between employer and employee
Germany40 hoursOvertime only if stated in the employee’s contract
Spain40 hoursOvertime allowed, up to 80 hours per year
Japan40 hoursOvertime compensation varies based on when it occurs
Canada40 hoursOvertime varies by province, generally 150% or 150-175%
United States40 hoursOvertime rate: At least 1.5 times hourly pay rate
Brazil44 hoursOvertime compensation required at 150% of regular pay
Mexico48 hoursOvertime up to 9 hours per week, compensated at standard rate
India48 hoursOvertime required, double the rate of regular pay

41. Worker’s Right to Request Flexible Working: Governments can mandate policies where employees have the right to request flexible working hours to accommodate their personal schedules. This would allow for a work-life adjustment tailored to individual needs.

42. Unpaid Family Medical Leave: Authorities may enforce the right to unpaid leave for serious health conditions, to care for a sick family member, or to care for a new child. Ensuring job security during these periods helps preserve the balance between family responsibilities and work.

43. Mini-Retirement: The concept of the mini-retirement refers to situations where people take a year off to enjoy life, putting work and career on hold. This is often frowned upon by some, but as the embrace of the importance of mental health and ‘escaping the rat race’ gains in popularity, so too does the mini-retirement.

44. Career Change: Some people decide to change careers or make a sideways move within their own company in order to find greater work-life balance. You might find that your job is particularly stressful, but a new position in another department in your company opens up that you think might cause less stress, catalyzing your sideways move to a better position.

45. Sea Change: The concept of the ‘sea change’ refers to an instance where someone moves to a new location in order to live somewhere more relaxing and enjoyable – e.g. the ocean! In fact, I did this, but I moved from big city Vancouver to the Rocky Mountains so I could enjoy biking, skiing, and fishing without having the long commute. The lack of friction involved in getting out to the ski hill (7 minute drive) or my favorite fishing spot (5 minute walk) makes ‘living life’ a whole lot easier!

References

De Bloom, J., Geurts, S. A., & Kompier, M. A. (2013). Vacation (after-) effects on employee health and well-being, and the role of vacation activities, experiences and sleep. Journal of Happiness Studies14, 613-633.

Gadecki, J., Jewdokimow, M., & Zadkowska, M. (2018). New Technologies and Family Life in The Context of Work at Home. The Strategies of Work‑Life Balance. Studia Humanistyczne AGH17(4).

Jackson, L. T., & Fransman, E. I. (2018). Flexi work, financial well-being, work–life balance and their effects on subjective experiences of productivity and job satisfaction of females in an institution of higher learning. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences21(1), 1-13.

Khan, O. F., & Fazili, A. I. (2016). Work life balance: A conceptual review. Journal of Strategic Human Resource Management5(2).

Chris
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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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