As we enter 2024, it seems the world is shifting its attitudes towards return to work, with some companies requiring employees to attend work in person for a majority of the week. Along with this switch comes increasing challenges to the ways we show up at work and outside of work—physically, yes, but also emotionally, mentally and socially. And of course, along with these changes comes the greatest challenge of all: striking the elusive work-life balance.
We’ve seen, firsthand, the ways in which health coaches can help employees achieve work-life balance through our partnerships. Today, we’re outlining some of our favorite, science-backed strategies health coaches use to help create a happier, healthier, more productive and more balanced workforce.
Make balance a priority.
Seems easy enough, but it’s important to make work-life balance a key part of your 2024 goals. We’re no strangers to the complicated climate employers and employees alike are facing this year. With so much pressure on companies—and by extension, employees—to succeed, it’s easy to make work the sole focus of our lives and deprioritize everything else we find important. This is part of why we’re seeing burnout increase so rapidly among employees. Some are even anticipating 2024 will bring a burnout crisis, with symptoms of burnout including poor sleep and nutrition; more absenteeism; decreased productivity; and more (check out our Employee Health Deep Dive for more insightful stats!).
Truly choosing to prioritize balance means working with a health coach who takes one’s goals and values seriously. Health coaches provide highly individualized, regular support for those looking to strike a better balance at work and at home. They partner with individuals to analyze, address, track and maintain balance, resulting in more optimal outcomes for employees and a healthier, happier and more productive workforce for employers.
Unpack what balance looks like through a client-centered approach.
Unlike many other health and care professionals, health coaches utilize a client-centered approach to address beyond the problem, but the whole person. This means approaching dialogue through open-ended questions that encourage individuals to address their values, habits, desires, goals, and challenges. In order to achieve balance, you have to have a reference point.
From the very first meeting, health coaches assess where this starting point really is and work closely with clients to understand what balance looks like and identify a clear path to achieving that balance. For some of us, it might mean partnering with employees to encourage and plan use of their paid time off. For others, it might be figuring out how to achieve a more productive work day such that you can log off at the end of the day and spend much-needed time with family.
Co-create and enforce boundaries at work and home.
Boundaries is the buzzword of 2024 and health coaches ensure these are both clear and enforced. The key to setting boundaries is in defining what we need—which is achieved with great success through the client-centered approach. Throughout this process, health coaches start to learn exactly where boundaries might need to be drawn in order to achieve better balance and can start working with clients on tactical opportunities to make this happen.
For example, boundaries can look like understanding where to draw the line with remaining “online.” Even as we return to the office, many of us struggle with disconnecting at night or even early in the morning, which can have serious repercussions on both health and productivity. We might be in the habit of checking our emails just after we wake up, which we know has a host of negative effects, including increasing our emotional stress levels first thing in the morning. Health coaches help clients get more strategic with screen time, so that the times they are online are spent more productively. They might introduce them to new tools—like smartphone apps—that limit screen use to select hours, or alternatively help them to track the hours they spend online and find mini breaks throughout the day.
Working with a health coach also provides accountability, so employees can stay in tune with their progress and begin to track and manage anything that might get in the way of their boundaries. Sometimes, just having space, time and a knowledgeable resource to help troubleshoot how to achieve better outcomes can be critical to establishing better balance through boundaries.
Here at YourCoach, we work closely with our Industry Partners, including progressive employers, to achieve a more optimal work-life balance for employees, clients and members. As we enter a new year, we’re excited to continue this important work with our partners and continue to forge new partnerships, delivering the power of health coaching to more employees than before. If you’re a company looking to learn more about how we partner with organizations to deliver health coaching services, contact us at email@example.com