Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

How Having a Work-Life Balance Affects Workplace Productivity

Over the pandemic, the idea of work-life balance emerged as one of the fundamental workplace issues, particularly as the world transitioned to remote work.

Competing family obligations, adjusting to working from home, and job creep posed productivity and mental health problems of real import for organizations. Employees and corporations alike struggled to find middle ground that worked for everyone. 

The proxies for poor work-life balance and workplace stress--things like insomnia rates--showed that people were, indeed, suffering and that companies and employees needed to take this balance much more seriously. Employees are only human, and your human capital dictates your productivity. With that in mind, below are the primary ways having a work-life balance affects workplace productivity. 

Better Motivation

Employees are more motivated to take on duties at the office when they have a healthy work-life balance. A nice balance would leave them feeling rejuvenated, and because there is less tension and anxiety at work, the positive balance makes it easier for individuals to execute their office tasks. There is a newfound drive and zest to tackle work because there are plenty of other things to live for. 

A motivated employee is more productive and efficient. He or she approaches work with a good attitude, and more often than not, it permeates the entire office. Work-life balance, therefore, is something to encourage because it is a self-perpetuating productivity enhancer. As always, it should start from the top down. Leaders need to normalize and legitimize work-life balance so that workers take the cue and incorporate it into their own lives. 

Lower Stress

There has always been a link between higher stress and decreased productivity. When you are stressed, your cortisol levels rise, impairing your performance at work. Your inability to complete all of the duties scheduled for the day, despite the strain you put on yourself, will cause you to come to a halt, lose confidence, make poor impressions on your coworkers, which will eventually cause you to despise your job and, as a result, your productivity will suffer. This is the last thing you want from your staff as a business owner.

A strong work-life balance permits people to take a break from work to meet their personal demands and vice versa. In turn, this reduces the tension and stress your employees feel as a result of the strain of constantly having to put one facet of their lives aside for the other. Oftentimes people are so accustomed to overwork and neglecting the other parts of their lives that they need to be shown how to go about reclaiming some of their work-life balance. 

Less Likely to Burn Out

Burnout occurs when you have overworked yourself to the point that you no longer have the strength or desire to work. It's a full-fledged stress attack. Burnout symptoms include melancholy, fatigue, and even loss of attention or difficulty to think properly — all of which reduce productivity. Consider it more akin to an overheating engine. In such a case, the vehicle will be unable to proceed until it reaches the proper operating temperature.

Burnout is greatly reduced when there is a strong work-life balance. Employee productivity will improve as a result of dealing with the symptoms of burnout, and you can often preempt a breakdown simply by learning to identify the signs you are either facing one down or in the middle of one. 

Better Mental Health

Work and work-related factors are usually the leading cause of mental health problems. Too much work, too little time off and poor work-life balance are all culprits. Employee productivity is almost invariably affected by these toxic conditions, and it can even lead to employees checking out of their work altogether. 

With a healthy work-life balance, mental health and well-being will improve. Employee productivity will rise when absenteeism, loss of concentration, and poor decision-making owing to poor mental health decreases. When a worker's mental health is getting in the way of their ability to perform and hit targets, it is usually a sign that a work-life balance talk is in order. 

Positive Sentiment Towards Work and Employers

When workers enjoy a healthy work-life balance, they very often feel much more positively about their work, their managers and their coworkers. This is for obvious reasons: when work isn't the only thing you do, you will feel much better about it. This holds true for many things in life. Balance is what puts things into perspective.

If you feel like all you have to worry about and look forward to every day is the same old office routine, at the expense of your interpersonal relationships, hobbies, and even just time spent sitting still and not doing anything, you will resent that one thing. 


Work-life balance, at its core, implies not sacrificing one's private life for professional concerns. It is often hard won and involves tough conversations with oneself and, potentially one’s employer as well. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this and, of course, it means different things for different people. Some of us are much more immune than others, or at least have more resistance to the onset of burnout and the resulting drops in productivity. Others have family demands that necessitate good work-life balance and quickly succumb when their personal life goes out the window in favour of non-stop work.

As a manager, encouraging work-life balance should be viewed as part of your productivity-promoting arsenal, recognizing that when employees live fuller lives that they have more say over, everyone wins.