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How to Maintain Work-life Balance in a Fast-paced Environment

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January 7, 2024
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6 minutes
Do you remember the last time you took a complete break from work? Was it a few months ago, a few years ago, or have you never taken one?

infographic of how to maintain work life balance in a fast-paced environment

Advanced communication technologies along with the widespread use of mobile phones make people increasingly connected. Even when one takes a leave, chances are they are still disturbed by work notifications such as emails and employee communication apps.

Decreased productivity, strained relationships, increased stress and burnout are just a few consequences of work-life imbalance for professionals globally. According to a report, the number of burnout cases reported globally increased 42% in 2022 compared to the previous year.

 the number of burnout cases reported globally increased 42% in 2022 compared to the previous year.

In this blog post, Consultport delves into the importance of work-life balance, and strategies for a successful program. We will also explore a case study to see how work-life balance is implemented in one of the largest tech companies-Microsoft.

Understanding Work-Life Balance

Simply put, work-life balance refers to the healthy balance between an individual’s work and their non-work life.

Work-life balance focuses on the “equal distribution of resources across work and family or other life roles”, according to a study. A person achieves the balance between work and life when their time, energy and commitment are evenly distributed across life roles.

It is not limited to employees who are parents but anyone who wants to accommodate their interests and activities like study, sport, and travel with their work commitments.

Work-life balance is of interest to many stakeholders: employees, employers, trade unions and policymakers. Several factors drive work-life balance up the agenda. They include demographic changes, diverse workforces, and a tight labor market. They also include the need for customers to access the services outside traditional office hours, and businesses’ need to improve to achieve competitiveness and flexibility.

According to the Work-Life Balance: Beyond the Rhetoric book, personal fulfillment outside work can possibly enhance the contributions of an individual to work.

In an increasingly connected and fast-paced world of work, both executives and staff see an increasing need for work-life balance.

A study in the United Kingdom found that about 67% of surveyed professionals view work-life balance as the most important aspect of their work life. It matters to them more than their pay and employee benefits combined, said the report.

Executives are also well aware of the significance of ensuring work-life balance for their staff, however, it seems they haven’t done it well enough. According to Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, over one-third of executives place work-life balance among their top five priorities, but less than one in 10 thought they were dealing with it effectively.

over one-third of executives place work-life balance among their top five priorities, but less than one in 10 thought they were dealing with it effectively.


  • Ensuring a healthy work-life balance for staff results in improved contributions and performance.
  • Offering flexible work hours, encouraging time away, flexible work locations, and well-being assistance programs are among the tactics companies can use to improve work-life balance for employees.
  • The management plays an important role in the success of a work-life balance program.

Strategies for a Successful Work-Life Balance Program

Implementation of a set of policies:

There is no one-fits-all or a single approach to work-life balance strategy. Firms need to implement a set of policies and benefit schemes.

They may include flexible working hours, annualized hours (in which employees are allowed to vary their working hours throughout the year), self-rostering (employees negotiate and agree on their hours to accommodate each others’ needs), and flexible working locations.

They can also include health, well-being, and employee assistance programs like counseling and advice services, private health insurance, and gym subsidies. Companies can also offer special leave, career breaks, and child care/eldercare subsidies.

While deciding on the policies to be developed and implemented, firms need to maintain the balance between employee benefits and the operational needs of the business.

Firms can introduce a flexible benefits package, which entails a list of priced benefits. Each employee can pick a fixed annual allowance to “buy” the benefits they choose from the package.

Leadership’s buy-in:

The C-suite’s buy-in plays an important role in the success of a work-life balance strategy. They should be well aware of the benefits of the strategy for all employees.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a company with a work-life balance program in place can enhance its productivity, reduce turnover, and improve personnel’s mental and physical health.

The employee turnover rate among companies that offer a good work-life balance is 25% lower than the others.

The leaders also need to lead by example: demonstrating their high commitment to work while still finding a balance in their non-work lives. The leaders’ behaviors can have a significant influence on how employees embrace work-life balance.

To successfully implement the best work-life balance programs and practices, it is important to ensure communication between different functions.

While one department should take ownership and responsibility, it is necessary to use a fully integrated approach by incorporating HR, global mobility, compensations and benefits, finance, and IT.

Case study: How Microsoft Fixed Declined Work-Life Balance

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people work. One of the changes was the increased use of video conferencing as a means of communication. The number of daily meeting participants of Zoom increased from 10 million pre-COVID to 300 million by April 2020.

The trend to go virtual during the pandemic was observed all over the world. Microsoft was not an exception. While going virtual helped the firm keep going despite the pandemic, it took a toll on employee’s work-life balance.

Microsoft employees' satisfaction with work-life balance decreased by 13 percentage points. The reasons include unsustainable work practices: always-on collaboration, a lack of focus time, and unused vacation and time away.

Microsoft employees' satisfaction with work-life balance decreased by 13 percentage points.

Microsoft focused on efforts to ensure their staff have fewer meetings, more focus time, and take time off to recharge to improve their well-being.

Strategies that different teams at Microsoft rolled out include:
  • Prioritizing work: managers must help their teams prioritize. Encouraging the staff to take control, speak up, and say "no" to things that aren't “mission critical” is crucial, it said.
  • Reevaluating meetings: Microsoft reevaluates team meetings by building in breaks, avoiding bookending the week, and avoiding lengthening meetings.
  • Encouraging concentrated time: the company makes efforts to make sure their staff can engage in deep work and dive into projects without distractions or interruptions.
  • Respecting quiet hours: managers help to avoid an always-on state for staff. They are encouraged to turn off notifications when they need to step away from work. Managers also established norms about when responses are expected.
  • Encouraging time away: Microsoft managers offer to help cover when their staff are away. They suggest companies consider consensus days when team members agree to take time away collectively. This aims to minimize the email and other accumulated work.

Implementing these strategies helps managers create an empowering environment for people to focus on impact and achieve a healthy work-life balance.


The world of work has become more and more competitive and intense, requiring workers to be increasingly efficient. Maximizing employee productivity while ensuring their well-being is one of the critical challenges facing leaders today. According to a study, 61% of workers wouldn't accept a job that disrupts their work-life equilibrium.

Quality time outside of work is crucial for employees to recharge and become engaged and motivated in work. It is imperative for executives and managers to be flexible to transform their organizational culture to meet the well-being needs of the employees.

If your organization is thinking about revamping the workplace culture to improve work-life balance for employees, you are on the right track to achieve improved performance and better employee fulfillment. Don’t hesitate to contact Consultport now to start the transformation.