National Work Life Week aims to promote the importance of wellbeing and work life balance for employees, and the business benefits for organisations in getting it right. The week focuses on raising awareness and providing lots of helpful advice, top tips and ideas for looking after ourselves and enhancing our wellbeing.
With the majority of employees in Britain agreeing that family remains their highest priority, finding a balance between our work and personal lives has never been more important.
Whether we’re caring for our children, supporting an adult or elderly dependant, or simply finding a little ‘me time’, it’s important to take care of ourselves too.
Promoting a great work life balance is boundless in rewards and helps us to become more engaged, motivated and productive across every aspect of our lives!
How can employers take part in the week?
- Highlight some great examples of people working flexibly in your workforce, whether it’s because they have caring responsibilities, are pursuing interests outside of work or progressing towards retirement.
- Put on a special event for staff like a lunchtime discussion, workshop or webinar on topics around work life balance; or run training, for example for line managers on how to manage flexible staff. Ask a senior manager to share their insights on how they balance their time.
- Offer some guidance to your employees about how to use digital devices to support flexibility over when and where they work, rather than as a way to work ‘around the clock’.
- Showcase your family friendly working policies and practices in staff newsletters and on your intranet.
- Start using the Happy to Talk Flexible Working logo and strapline on the job vacancies you advertise, to open up the application process to more people with the skills and talents you’re looking for and encourage managers to think through the best way to get the job done.
Tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance
Play to your strengths
Don’t try and be all things to all people. Focus on your strengths and outsource the others. If you’re not a whizz at accounts or graphic design, outsource them instead of wasting time.
Prioritise your time
You may have a to-do list with 50 tasks on it, so you need to prioritize those tasks into four categories. They are:
1. Urgent and important
2. Important but not urgent
3. Urgent but not important
4. Neither urgent nor important
Know your peaks and troughs
Are you a morning person? If you are, assign tough, high-concentration tasks to the mornings. Don’t leave the tough tasks until it’s night-time and vice versa.
Plot some personal time
When personal issues arise, it can be tempting to bury yourself in your work. Don’t do it. Make time for your personal life – your ‘me’ time, including your family and your health.
Have set work hours – and stick to them
Set work hours for yourself and do everything in your power to stick to them. Otherwise, before you know it, you’ll be working until midnight every night.
Manage your time, long term
Create a timeline of your activities. Specific computer programs can help with this, or you can customize your own Excel spreadsheet or Word table.
Put dates across the top and activities down the side. Break each task into components.
Make your workspace work for you
Whether you are in the office or working from home, this does require long hours of sitting at a desk, so invest in equipment that will support you. That includes getting a comfortable chair, an ergonomic keyboard, a support stand for your laptop, etc.
Make exercise a must-do, not a should-do
It’s easy to cancel the gym, the evening run, or the yoga class because you are busy at work.
Instead, ensure exercise is given as much priority as your work load. A healthy body means a fresh mind, which means you will function better and complete tasks in less time.
Do what you love
Make time for something you love – other than work – and give it the time it deserves. It will energise and refresh you and enable you to nurture your creative thoughts.
At the end of each working day, perform a little self-analysis. Ask yourself what worked today, what didn’t, what went wrong and how the issue can be fixed.
Don’t forget to tap into the valuable resources around you – your peers – for help.
Schedule some phone calls or coffee time with like-minded colleagues to discuss ideas and offer each other support.
Manage your mind
When fear or self-doubt or anxiety creeps in, do some work on your mental health such as meditation or reading a book.
Alternatively, spend time with someone who will lift you up and support you.
Take a break
Remember to take time out throughout your day. Some tasks are easier than others, so if you find yourself with an hour up your sleeve, be realistic about whether you can ‘afford’ to rest or not.
You might not have time every day to simply sit and ‘be’ but do your best to give yourself a lunch break.
Also, make a point of getting up and stretching every 15 minutes. It will help you become clearer, more focused and more productive.
Have that holiday
Make time for a holiday and book in breaks, at least quarterly. Even a long weekend every quarter is better than nothing.