How would your life improve if you understood the ways your work is affecting your personal life? COVID-19 has shone a light on the challenges many of us encounter in merging our personal and work lives while working from home. Are you experiencing household distractions and feelings of isolation? Are you having trouble switching between your work and life roles? Work-life wellness is the ability to be well in different aspects of your life, and feel well about the connection between work and home. A healthy work-life wellness is something you can attain by implementing different strategies and habits.
One of these strategies is boundary keeping. This involves setting clear boundaries between your work and personal life (e.g. turning off work alerts during personal time). Some of us are not as natural at boundary setting and prefer our work and non-work lives to be integrated. Work-life integration involves continuously moving between work and personal life, taking care of work and life matters interchangeably (e.g. working early/late to enjoy exercising during the workday).
Regardless of your preferred style, you can understand your work-life wellness by taking this complimentary Work-Life Wellness Tool. This scale was developed through a recent research project at the University of Calgary. The assessment will ask you to reflect on how your work interacts with your life, and your scores will be analyzed to provide instant results.
The scale consists of 11 questions about work-life balance, work enhancement of personal life and work interference with personal life. You will be asked to rate the extent to which you agree with the statements on a seven-point Likert scale (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Somewhat Disagree, Neutral, Somewhat Agree, Agree, Strongly Agree). A higher score on this scale denotes a higher level of work-life wellness. The highest possible score on this scale is 77 and the lowest possible score is 11.
The series of items will help you reflect on your current work and life situation. One of the items for work-life balance is: “I achieve a good balance between work stress and personal time to rejuvenate.” This item looks at your ability to mitigate work stress by taking time to rest. During this pandemic, work stress may be higher due to uncertainty and financial instability. How are you allowing time for relaxation to counteract your stress?
One of the items for work interference with personal life is: “When I finish my work, I am too tired to do things I would like to do.” A career can be an important part of self-fulfillment and growth. However, when a job gets in the way of experiencing enjoyment in our personal lives, it may be time to take a step back. Should I take on less responsibility at work so I can spend time with my family/friends? Periodically asking ourselves key questions about where we may want to adjust our focuses to establish better work-life wellness is a useful habit.
“A healthy work-life wellness is something you can attain by implementing different strategies and habits.”
Finally, one of the items for work enhancement of personal life is: “Because of my job, I am in a better mood at home.” This is an important statement to reflect on since work can support us to achieve personal satisfaction. On the contrary, work that drains us physically, mentally and emotionally can negatively impact our mood at home. It is important to find a career that supports rather than detracts from your personal satisfaction and wellness.
When receiving the results for your survey (low, moderate or high), try focusing on what you can do to improve your score. A low score may be due to difficulties setting boundaries or a more demanding work environment. A moderate score suggests a minor struggle with work-life wellness that could improve with self-reflection. A high score denotes great work-life wellness, perhaps due to having clear boundaries and a fulfilling career. Resources and further reading will be provided upon completion. However, we encourage you to seek additional supports and contact a career practitioner or counsellor if you would like further help.
This tool can be used by career practitioners for personal use or with clients. For personal use, a career practitioner can contemplate how the pandemic may be contributing to their ability to feel well at work and home. For use with clients, career practitioners can ask clients to reveal how they view their work-life wellness and where they can see room for improvement in their work or life wellness. Simply reflecting on the results of this tool can provide clients and career practitioners with the foundation for contemplation and change.
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