Couples in the UK spend more hours at work than those living anywhere else in Europe and many feel their time with their partner and children has suffered as a result. Check out these tips for advice on managing a good work-life balance.
Decide when to turn off
There will no doubt be times when you have to bring some work home with you, but try not to let work interfere with family time every evening. Think about setting times when the Blackberry goes on silent, the laptop is shut down and no one is making or receiving calls. For some couples this is at the dinner table or when they’re relaxing in front of the television – by switching everything off you’re letting your family know you’re available and dedicated to them.
Schedule a family meeting
By sitting down together at the beginning of the week and discussing what you’ve got on over the next seven days you can plan some quality time together around everything else. It will also help you feel involved in what everyone else has going on even if you can’t be there every evening.
Try to prioritise
If there’s an important project at work then you may have to pick up calls or emails in your own time, but is it really necessary to respond to them all during a normal working week? Decide what is truly important, if your work won’t slip by leaving an email till tomorrow morning then try to ignore it and give priority to spending time with your family.
Leave on time at least once a week
Always working late can make your partner feel unimportant or neglected. If possible, make a real effort to leave the office on time at least once a week and let your partner know you’re coming back to spend the evening with them.
Family life is rarely straight forward and different interruptions and complications will no doubt occur frequently. Accept that previously established routines won’t always work so be prepared to re-balance and adapt to changing circumstances.
Research shows the end of the working day is the time couples are most likely to argue. This is often because they have unrealistic expectations about the evening ahead. If your partner’s suddenly too tired to head out for a meal and would rather veg out on the sofa, try to accept they’ve had a busy day and don’t get too disappointed.
Ask about your partner’s day
If you’ve had a stressful day at work it’s easy to come home and offload onto your partner, which can be tough on them. Try not to focus on the negatives too much, and remember to ask how they are – you may not be the only one who’s had a bad day.