An individual can achieve a healthy work-life balance if there is a feeling that adequate time is being used for both work and essential things of life daily.
In today’s productivity-driven environment, many people find it difficult to perform their obligations at home and work copiously. People often cannot strike a balance between their occupations and their families, and one usually takes precedence over the other.
Today, many people work 50 hours or more per week, leaving no precious time for their families. Also, some parents typically arrive home after other family members have gone to bed, leaving before they wake up or needing to sleep when the rest of the family is awake due to their busy workload, travel, or work shift.
The question is: why are people devoting more hours to work at the expense of family life? Can spending more time for work create challenges in the home, community, and country? Is work the cause of family and economic problems? Where did all the unstructured leisure time go? These and many more questions come to mind.
Of course, it is not the job that is to be blamed. Work is a fantastic blessing when it is balanced with the rest of life. God requires us to work, and our spouses and children appreciate it.
Individuals can develop significant family ties by making time for each other when they can, appreciating each other, and speaking about how things are going. Families need to share life experiences such as laughing, meals, campfires, storytelling, and pillow fights to get to know one another.
Work should stand shoulder to shoulder with the family, as both are allies in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Healthy family life can help you enjoy life, manage stress, and avoid workplace burnout. Similarly, taking time off work (break) is crucial to enhance our health and productivity as it stimulates family bonding.
Furthermore, people improve their quality of life by participating in leisure activities, which allow them to form social bonds, experience happy emotions, and gain new skills and information. It can also boost physical health, improve physique, and boost illness resistance.
Leisure can also serve as a health investment, lowering personal medical costs and easing medical burdens.
However, the current economic situation in Nigeria has reduced the way people relax and strike a balance between work and family life.
The economic situation requires people, especially low-income earners, to engage in other sources of income to balance the rising cost of living experienced in the country. People put their effort into any activity that will yield money during the period they could have used as leisure time or bond with family members to augment the escalating daily cost of living.
Office workers now use their extra hours for side hustles like riding cabs and physical and online trading of various items like clothes, shoes, and bags. They provide services that include barbering, hair braiding, fashion design, tailoring, event planning, photography, commission sales, digital marketing, and online exploration.
In addition, modern technologies have made this never-ending work habit possible to meet economic demand. We now have the ability to work anywhere, at any time (evenings, nights, weekends, in the vehicle, and in coffee shops), thanks to smartphones, laptops, and wireless internet. All these may make people unable to choose a balance between working hours and family life or decide how hectic their job is.
However, this is detrimental to an individual’s health and the country’s development as the time required to relax has been devoted to other work, thereby increasing the risk factor of having more health challenges and increasing the burden on the ill-structured health sector.
Furthermore, the feeling that leisure is a waste of time can lead to reduced happiness and increased stress and despair. This conduct has been linked to several negative consequences, including strained family relationships, work inefficiencies, and poor physical and mental health.
Also, due to recent changes in work and the prominent position of technology in people’s lives, time pressure, stress, and sedentary lifestyles are all contributing to unhealthy lifestyles and increasing demands on health care systems.
Although an individual must work hard to provide a safe roof for him or herself and the family, food on the table, and clothing on the body, it will be best if people can also prepare to spend quality time with their spouse and children without interruption.
Busayo Aderounmu is an economist and researcher