Attaining equilibrium between personal and professional life is one of the biggest challenges for those working in the hospitality, hotel, and tourism industry. The operational nature and culture of the sector in itself demands long working hours, flexibility, occasional travel, and the ability to relocate if required. It’s very likely for employees to work evenings, weekends, and special holidays in an industry that serves 24/7 every day of the year. Challenging hours, mixed with a fast-paced environment, eventually contribute to work-related stress and the fear of missing out on your social or family life.
There is an increasing concern about the effects of working long hours and not having enough quality time for health, family, and friends. According to Ernst & Young’s 2015 global study, one-third of almost 9.700 full-time workers across 8 countries (the US, UK, India, Japan, China, Germany, Mexico, and Brazil) reported that managing work-life balance has become more difficult, especially for parents and millennials. Approximately 46% of managers in the study are working more than 40 hours a week, and four in ten reported an increase in labor hours in the last five years. Additionally, the Scottish Widow’s 2016 survey showed that lack of work-life balance also has an impact on productivity and motivation at work. Out of the participants, 34% rated lower productivity levels due to high stress, and 24% admitted feelings of resentment towards their employer because of it.
While the majority of us strive to get the most out of our daily lives, our different careers, commitments, and social lifestyle occasionally get in the way. It takes time to figure out how to equally manage all areas in our lives. To get started, here are a couple of tips to consider:
- Balance isn’t the right word. Try to think of it as work-life integration. In the past, the idea of balancing daily hours between work and personal life seemed attainable. However, advances in technology and changes in the way we communicate mean we are now living in a 24/7 connected environment. It’s hard to know when work stops when technology enables us to message personal or professional contacts instantly. A work-life integration approach allows us to prioritize and integrate both of these parts into our daily life and identity.
- Unplug. Being constantly connected interrupts our time, presence, and mental state. Persistent work notifications keep us glued to our phones and contribute to more stress on our free time. Just because we’re always online doesn’t mean we always have to be accessible. If necessary, turn your phone off and enjoy your day.
- Practice self-care. Self-care prevents burnout, reduces stress and helps refocus on work. Practice it by taking the time to do activities that make you happy and fulfilled. Read a book, exercise, or take-up a hobby! Just remember, take time for yourself, it will be rewarding in the long run!
- Time management. Whether you’re trying to find the time to go to work, learn a new skill, or spend more time with the family, time management is the starting point to seeing your intentions come to life. If you want to see real progress, get organized ahead of time. Commit a couple of hours a day to address those things you want to accomplish or improve in your life.
- There is no end goal. You won’t reach a finish line of work-life balance and find everything is perfect. It’s something you work on every day. Rather than trying to balance all things at the same time, remember that it is something much more fluid. Some days you’ll do better than others, and that’s okay. Allow yourself the space to fail, and remember that tomorrow is another chance to try again.
In theory, the idea of work-life balance seems attractive, but it doesn’t leave room for the unexpected and chaotic to happen. Life can often be unpredictable and erratic, and the idea that we can balance it all is a bit unrealistic. By setting more practical standards and giving ourselves grace when things don’t go as planned, we can approach life and our daily responsibilities in a more meaningful and realistic way.
Watch our third episode of the series Leading Women in Hospitality above, where female industry professionals weigh in on work-life integration. Taking care of a family while being a boss at work is no easy task, but these ladies prove it’s certainly possible. If you haven’t seen the past two episodes, don’t miss out! These ladies shared everything on Leadership Qualities and provided Advice to Young Professionals on what it takes to reach the top.
If you think you got what it takes to work in this industry, don’t hesitate to explore all job offers on hotels, tourism, and restaurants right here on Hosco.