Signs of a Work-life Imbalance

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The signs of imbalance are unmistakable. We see people suffering from poor health, burnout, and stress every day. For companies, this increases costs in the form of absenteeism, health costs, and turnover. If you recognize these signs in your life or your organization, take action immediately and focus on work- life balance.

Health Risks

Imbalance promotes poor health. Over time, this can lead to devastating, and possibly life changing consequences.

Effects on Health:

Obesity: Not taking the time to exercise or eat well can increase obesity, which is connected to heart disease and numerous other health risks.

Exhaustion: Sleeping well can add years to a person’s life. Sacrificing sleep for work will have negative effects on health and increase the chances of getting sick.

Emotional problems: Stress and exhaustion will wreak havoc on emotional well-being. This will affect relationships and personal identity.

More companies are taking an interest in the health and fitness of their employees. It is now in an organization’s best interest to do so. Healthy employees are productive, absent less, and their health care costs less.


Poor health increases employee absenteeism and thus is a costly problem for employers. There are hidden and direct costs that must be paid when an employee is absent from work.

Cost of absenteeism:

Sick pay: Employees with sick days are still paid, which is a direct cost.

Loss of productivity: Even with someone to work the position of the sick employee, the employee familiar with the job will be more productive. This is an indirect cost of sick days.

While most people who take time off are legitimately sick, stressed employees will take days off to catch up with personal obligations, and they usually feel justified doing so.


Most people know that overworked employees eventually burnout. Burnout is the physical and psychological response to long-term stress.

Signs of Burnout:

Loss of interest: Burned-out employees cannot make themselves care about their work, which is the source of their stress.

Lack of emotion: Emotional responses are abnormal when someone is burned-out.

Loss of motivation: Former motivators no longer are effective.

Possible depression: Burnout is closely linked to depression.

Burnout harms companies by increasing turnover. Consider the following:

When everything is added together, 150 percent of an employee’s annual salary is the cost of turnover.

This number is 200 to 250 percent for members of management.


Work is the main source of stress for most Americans. Stress’ connection to obesity for workers in sedentary jobs is more significant than diet, according to research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The effects stress on heart health can be deadly.

Signs of Stress:

Overemotional: People under stress can find it difficult to control their emotions.

Lethargy: The physiological impact of stress can cause lethargy.

Restlessness: Stress can make it difficult to focus, causing hyperactivity and restlessness.

Anxiety: Prolonged stress can cause anxiety disorders.


More About Work-Life Balance

Benefits of a Healthy Work-life Balance
Employer Resources to Improve Work-life Balance
Tips in Time Management for Work-life Balance
Goal Setting to Improve Work-life Balance
Optional Ways to Work
Work-life Balance At Work
Work-life Balance At Home
Stress Management for Work-life Balance
Work-life Balance for Working in a Home Office