When I told my team the topic for my latest blog, they laughed at me, yes they actually laughed. ‘You, writing on work life balance, are you kidding?’ Ok, so yes I put in a few more hours than some, but hey, I am in the management team, isn’t that what’s expected of me? Maybe there could be some merit in what they said and to be honest, writing this blog has been more of a self-help exercise, where in turn I can pass my findings on to you.
A report in the Dailymail.co.uk recently stated that 1 in 10 people are checking work emails on phones or tablets up to 3 hours a day outside of work hours. This amounts to almost 29 days per year, which is more than the standard annual leave allocation here in Australia.
Work life balance – is there really such a thing? Work can be a very important part of our lives, but it should not be so all consuming it becomes our entire identity. We have to stop…or at least slowdown from time to time. But how?
What techniques can we introduce that will actually make a difference? I am busy, and I don’t want to hear any of that tree hugging nonsense such as ‘simply finish work earlier to be with your loved ones’. I’ve listed my 5 favourite words of advice, which I hope may make a difference for you.
1. Use the Do Not Disturb (DND) function on your phone.
Our iPhone; that beastly device we have a love/hate relationship with. But it has a cunning little function called Do Not Disturb which can be a saviour when it comes to late night calls. DND allows you to manually set how incoming calls are dealt with. I now have mine set where incoming calls between 7pm and 7.30am go directly to message bank (except calls from those on my Favourite list). You will find DND under Settings and it gives you a number of options on how to schedule your incoming calls.
Side note: At this point, I still haven’t learnt how to do the same with my emails, but I am working on it!
2. Health and Wellbeing Days
This is something we recently introduced in to our workplace here at Buckmaster Hawkey and it has proved to be brilliant. H & W Days are truly that; a day for you, …. a recharge day, if you please. There are some rules around our H & W days, such as:
- They must be booked at least 7 days in advance (no you can not phone in after a big night out to use your H & W day!)
- They can’t be tacked on to the start or end of any annual leave
- Only one person can take a H & W day at a time
- H & W days only kick in once you’ve passed probation
- Depending on how long you have been with the company, you may be entitled to 1 or 2 days per year (for those entitled to 2 days per year, you can take 1 day per 6 month period)
As you can imagine, H & W days are proving extremely popular here with our crew and have been used for spa sessions, a leisurely lunch with friends or family or to complete annual health checks which we just don’t make time for. If you are an employer, consider introducing these days; the benefits far outweigh the cost.
3. Lunchtime – time to de-stress and re-energise
There are many reasons why your body and brain needs to take time out during the day. The quality of your work diminishes exponentially as the day goes on when you don’t take that break. You go home exhausted and hating the world. To overcome this you can try;
- Join up at a local library (you know that weird place that holds ‘books’ – they are really quite interesting!) even if you don’t get a book out, there are some great books to flick through
- Pack a lunch and meet a friend in a nearby park
- At the start of each month, see who has a birthday coming up. A week in advance, take the lunch break to go out and find a great card to send or buy a birthday present
- Once a week/month, set a time in the work calendar and invite work colleagues to bring in a shared lunch and sit together and talk about non-work related matters.
- Think about friends/family who you haven’t spoken to for ages, go out for a walk and call them. Walk and talk – the ultimate win win!
- Rather than go out anywhere, see if you can find a quiet place where you can just sit and breathe away the stresses of the morning. Enjoy a nutritious lunch in peace, to re-energise the brain, to get you through the remainder of the day
4. Use Your Diary to Plan Time Out
Do you find you want to do fun things, but work gets in the way? You need to commit to planning designated time away and book it in! Even better, invite others to join you; once you have others involved it’s way harder to cancel. Time flies by quickly and special occasions come around faster than you think. Try to plan something like a weekend away with the girls/boys, attend an upcoming art exhibition or a music event, a weekly date night with your partner – book it in and send out the invite! It’s always nice to have something fun to look forward to.
5. Switch off at Night
Have a rule so when you walk in the front door at the end of the day, you can talk/download about ‘work’ for 5 minutes and that’s it. Disengage the work brain and take a break. Ask those around you to give you a nudge that the subject is strictly off limits, should you find yourself slipping back in to talking work. Switching off includes checking emails – they will still be there waiting for you in the morning!
Good luck applying these techniques on finding your work life balance; see if you can hit that re-set button and find a happier medium again!
Department Manager – Permanent Division – Buckmaster Hawkey
Click through to my previous blogs;
December 2016 – From Row’s Desk – Should I Stay or Should I Go?
October 2016 – Essential Etiquette for Job Hunters
August 2016 – The Candidate Short Market and How Things Are Working in your Favour
May 2016 – How to Get the Most Out of a Recruiter
April 2016 – Resuscitate Your Resume
March 2016 – Things to Consider When Contemplating a Career Change
February 2016 –The Top 5 Social Media Mistakes when Job Hunting