LAURA, 29, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER “I’ve been working for a Norwegian company in Berlin for a year and a half. First as a freelancer, which allowed me to organize my time freely, and now, for almost ten months, I have been employed on a permanent basis. At first it was a change. Nevertheless, the Scandinavian way of working suits me very well. We never really separate private and professional life from one another. For many, that would be the opposite of work-life balance, but for me it’s perfect.
When I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning or do sports until ten o’clock, I don’t get any strange looks from my colleagues. If a lunch date lasts longer, my employer will not be a problem. Nor does it bother me if I spend an evening in the home office for this. I am very grateful for this flexibility.
For a good work-life balance, I decided to only work 80 percent and take Friday off. Having this day of the week, on which the city centers and cafés are not so overcrowded, just for me, is worth significantly more to me than 20 percent more salary. In addition, I start the day every morning with a few sun salutations, i.e. yoga, and consciously take half an hour to spend in bed with mate tea.”
SABRINA, 32, ART DIRECTOR “I worked in advertising agencies for years. In this work environment, you always put on more work than you can actually manage. Conversely, you don’t always dare to contest deadlines, even though they are actually utopian. Especially with younger workers, overtime is a part of it. A lot has changed for me since I was a mother. I can’t currently do a full-time job, so I say from the start that I have to drop the pen at a certain time. Of course, I don’t always succeed. But I am working on communicating my limits and saying: No, I can no longer work now and I cannot rework it tonight either.
After work, I consciously try to come down. I like to do sports, I go running a lot. Fresh air helps. I also try to eat healthily and avoid alcohol and cigarettes during the week. This is important for my immune system and my mental health.
I try to see friends once a week, but I keep the other days free. If I fill my calendar with too many social contacts, I often don’t feel like it anymore on the date of the appointment and it becomes an obligation – I try to avoid that.
I usually spend one day comfortably at home on my weekend and the other day outside in nature. Either I drive out of Berlin with the family or we go to flea markets, bike rides or play mini golf. I think it’s important to get new impressions at the weekend and look forward to something.”
SIYE, 35, ACCOUNT MANAGER “I think the prerequisite for a good work-life balance is knowing exactly who you are. Only then can you incorporate activities that are really good for you into your life. Meditation has helped me a lot to become more aware of myself and to become more mindful.
We are constantly exposed to external influences through social media. I’ve found it helps a lot to turn off the notifications on my phone. So I can decide for myself when I want to find out that someone has mentioned me in an Instagram story or has posted something again after a long time and I am not controlled by others.
I also find peace and quiet while cooking. This can be easily integrated into everyday life. When I was still working in the office, I often went out for lunch, which was often combined with an appointment with a customer. Now in the home office, I really allow myself a break and use the hour only for myself. I enjoy that very much.”
DANNY, 30, VOLUNTEER “I often find it difficult to achieve a good work-life balance. I really have to force myself not to mix work and free time too much. As a journalist, I spend a lot of time on social media to stay up to date. So my job often goes beyond my actual working hours because I still think about article ideas in the evening or prepare for an interview the next day.
To get out of this bubble, I try to meet friends three times a week with whom I talk about other things. Then we go out to eat or cook together. To switch off my head, I also like to listen to loud music and dance around my apartment to it – that always helps.”