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How To Achieve Work-Life Balance

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Finding it hard to get the balance right between work and home? You’re not the only one. And, by the way, does anyone ever actually feel like they have the balance in favour of home life?

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Joking aside, it can often be difficult to achieve the right balance between work and home or social lives. Especially when you add working hours that are longer than most, and the expectation to keep ‘in the loop’ with work communications outside of the office (as are often expected for professionals within accountancy), this doesn’t always offer the opportunity for the typical perception of a ‘good’ work-life balance.

But, things are starting to change – if only gradually. Values of old were that the ‘client’s needs come first’ and your own needs, or those of your family, had to come second. But this is becoming old history – due with little thanks to those millennials that everyone seems to love to hate. Nowadays, workers (particularly the younger generation) tend to place more value on their own time, and how much of their own lives they are getting for their money.

Working within audit and accountancy, it’s almost impossible to say that we are not driven in some part by money – it’s the basis of the job, after all (and it’s what makes the world go round, right?). Whether that means achieving targets to secure a big bonus, or asking your manager for a pay rise or promotion, the hope is to move up the career ladder – and, with that, up the pay scale.

However, as with any industry, this is not always the case in audit, and it’s not always possible – if promotions or pay rises simply aren’t on the agenda for your team/department. As such, the opportunity for a better balance between professional and personal lives should not be overlooked.

So, how can we get balance? We discuss the best steps for improving your work-life balance in your audit career.

Consider flexible work arrangements

Have you asked if you can alter your working hours? If you’re an early bird, it might make more sense for you to start work earlier, giving you more of the evening for yourself. If you’re looking for a new company, why not make this part of your criteria. This way you can nip the problem in the bud before it’s even begun to sprout.

Consider a little overlap between your worlds

Work-life balance isn’t just about pay, or how long you work, but also of your perception of how well your job blends work and personal lives. Rather than trying to keep them entirely separate from one another, sometimes it is a better option to allow a little integration. For instance, mixing up your social groups. Try and spark up friendships with your colleagues to enable you to make plans outside of work. This allows for a little extra socialising (even within working hours).

Location, location, relocation?

In any job, but particularly within this industry, there is often the opportunity for relocation – and even international relocation. Many people now work with the view of ‘if at first, I can’t succeed, I’ll try moving further afield’. Relocation, particularly internationally, brings with it the prospect of living in a new and exciting culture (with guaranteed sunshine to boot). This is one way of achieving a better work-life balance, as well as opening doors to better work opportunities, and the chance to expand your skillset – win-win, no.

Look after yourself

Take your full quota of break times, and don’t be dragged into working through your lunch, or long after hours. Of course, we must expect that sometimes in business a little leeway is needed, but you don’t deserve to be taken advantage of. If you can, go out for your lunch and take a full hour, even if it’s only once a week. Or try making a regular plan/arrangement one night after work, where you have to leave the office on time, no excuses. If you feel obliged to keep to the promise of someone you care about, you’re more likely to do it.

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