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How Alternative Approaches to Career Can Promote Happiness and Health

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” Aristotle was a smart man. He knew that when one is dissatisfied in a job, not only does the person suffer, but so does the work.  And yet, our jobs have much control over our lives in today’s climate of sixty hour work weeks and leftover vacation days in order to retire by 65.  But it can be argued that going against the grain to achieve work-life balance and even working later in life can have positive impacts on quality of life.

The Dangers of Low Work-Life Balance

Chronic stress is one of the foremost health issues in the workplace.  It can lead to negative impacts both physically and psychologically, including hypertension, digestive issues, anxiety and insomnia.  Employees who work lots of overtime or do not maintain good work-life balance are at high risk for chronic stress as well as burnout, which leads to fatigue and lower job performance.  

The Benefits of a Flexible Work Environment

As a response to these prevalent workplace issues, employers are turning to flexible work environments, which allow flexible work hours, an option to work from home, and unlimited vacation time.  The results of a flexible work environment not only save employers money, but have a hugely positive impact on the health and happiness of workers. A Deloitte Millennial survey reported that 82% of millennials found that a flexible workplace led to improved overall wellbeing and a positive impact on productivity.  A flexible workplace can allow for more time to spend on physical and spiritual health by exercise and social endeavors, as well as allowing for more time spent with children and family.

The Positive Impact of Working Later in Life

Avoiding burnout and maintaining positive work-life balance may lead to some people continuing to work past typical retirement age.  Continuing to work later in life, whether at a long term job or trying something new, can have many positive effects on quality of life.  The benefits of working, besides making an income, include brain stimulation and the opportunity of a social network.  Having social interaction can be directly linked health factors.  Social interaction might lower systolic blood pressure and can decrease the risk of certain age-related disorders like Alzheimer’s.  Therefore, the sense of community provided by going to a job every week can increase the health of those later in life. Having a job also offers purpose and routine, helping people stay active and driven.

There are many positives to maintaining work-life balancing and working later in life.  Having a flexible work environment contributes to being healthy and happy in the workplace, and working later in life can help continue this feeling into later life.  Although devoting life to work seems appealing to some, others are drawn to the glowing beacon of work-life balance with a purpose.

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