Despite the perception from the outside world, YES, it is possible to have a healthy work-life balance while working in life sciences. However, how much is your work-life balance impacting your career? Is it creating a bias towards one area?
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is a high priority for most people. In this article, we will talk about how work-life balance also needs to be in tune with the productivity of the company, for both parties – employer and employee – to reap the benefits.
Striking a Balance
The importance of having the right work-life balance must not be understated. As current research continues to highlight its importance, the conversation around positive mental health has permeated all aspects of our lives with a big focus being given to the workplace.
There is overwhelming research to suggest that the most productive workforces are those in which all employees feel valued and have manageable workloads. However, there are times when a person's work becomes stressful or overloaded due to nature and the specific environment. The life sciences industry is one of the main culprits, with extended hours and high-pressure situations being part and parcel of the job specification.
If you feel that you have an imbalance between your work and your life, first it might be helpful to consider if this is a problem which is created by your company or pressure you are placing upon yourself. There is a culture in modern society which leads people to believe that if they are not going above and beyond what is expected of them at work, they are not working hard enough.
If this is the case, you need to regulate the amount of pressure you are placing on yourself to ensure it’s a more realistic interpretation of company expectation - more on this later.
Feel the Need
Once you have identified that your work-life balance is in sync, we must consider if the balance has been struck correctly. As this Harvard Business School article
reports, most employees ‘need’ to feed off the urgency of the organisation. Taking a step back to de-stress from your role is a must – but if you step back too far you end up disconnecting from your role within the company, and this will be detrimental to your job satisfaction.
Are your values and drives aligned with that of the company you are in? Take an active interest in the goals of your colleagues and the business as a whole, as this will ignite the passion for the job that you had when you were first setting out on your career path.
‘Out of Office’
Now more than ever, we have the tools at our disposal to never really leave the ‘office’ – and life sciences is no different. Are you expected to be answering questions about work-related issues on your day off due to our 24-hr a day culture? Many companies now use dedicated social media chat groups to talk about issues that quickly need solving. However, how far does this go?
Now we are effectively available all hours of the day; we should be mindful of not letting ‘urgent’ issues get muddled with questions that don’t need answering instantly. Be stricter with your ‘on-call’ times. If it isn’t urgent, it doesn’t require answering straight away. Creating these sturdier barriers between work and life will allow you to differentiate when you need to have your work mindset engaged. This will result in you becoming more focused while at work, making your work of better quality and more rewarding both for you and your company.
One of the main reasons people take time out of their careers is to start a family, and the return to work can sometimes be a tricky step. It is becoming more common for fathers as well as mothers to take a step back from work to raise a family. Of course, it is vital to give as much time as you need to this important milestone in your life, but consider how this will impact your career upon returning. Do you want to return on a reduced contract? Alternatively, with less responsibility?
Consider these options before you take your leave so that you know where your career will recommence once you return
. Taking a break to start a family will halt your career progression, but assessing what is more important at this stage in your life is a must – so that you don’t regret your choices later on and become bitter towards your career and company.
Finding the Middle Ground
In summary, striking the right balance between career progression and personal life so that it favours both you and your company can be somewhat of a plate-spinning exercise, but it can be managed with great planning and input from both parties. Businesses will be glad to hear that creating a healthy work-life balance for employees increases productivity
, and it should be encouraged in particularly workload-heavy sectors such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
How Kinetic Can Help
At Kinetic we pride ourselves on being the leading regional experts in the full range of recruitment solutions for the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices industries.
As such, we understand the niche requirements for all specialisms of this ever-increasing regulated industry. To find out more about how we can help you in landing your next career progression, contact us