29th September 2020

National Work Life Week: 12-16th October

By Dominic Perry, Cert CII
Account Handler
Work life balance

12-16th October marks National Work Life Week – a chance for us to take a look at the often talked about work/life balance conundrum we all face.

So, what exactly is work/life balance? It’s that daily shift in priorities between your work life and your personal life. Too much either way can impact on your overall wellbeing – think about an issue at home that could spill into your work life, such as childcare issues. Similarly, think about the effects of employees taking work home with them and not focusing on their family commitments.

This is more of a personal thing then, surely? What do I need to do as an employer?

Under your legal requirements, you have a duty of care to your employees, which includes their wellbeing. By being open to conversations, you can really help an employee who may be struggling. You could use this week to highlight flexible working for those who may be struggling with child/elder care.  You could also ensure that employees are taking their allocated holiday entitlements, to make sure they’re feeling rested and that work isn’t taking over.

Equally, you could discuss workloads. Working outside our normal business hours is needed every now and again, but if it’s become a permanent thing for someone to keep on top of their work, are your managers having conversations with their teams about how achievable their workloads are?  Are they managing this effectively and have they considered different strategies to help?

Remote working brings its own challenges as the line between office and home has become blurred.  Dominic Perry, Account Handler at Aston Lark decided to help with this balance. While having his office space in the bedroom isn’t ideal, it does allow the living room to be kept for outside of work time, so it feels like there is a separation between the two and by the time it comes to go to bed, there has been separation away from the desk too.

A bit of downtime is vital for us all to maintain our overall wellbeing. We need to take occasional breaks to avoid burnout and simple changes can help us do so.  Samantha Mistry, Employee Benefits Director at Aston Lark, decided to implement a small change in lockdown, by having fresh flowers delivered weekly.  Every Wednesday morning Samantha now has a change to her routine as arranging the flowers becomes her first job of the day. “Having fresh flowers and learning about the stems and seeing them bloom has been a really lovely consequence and something that I look forward to.  It also brightens up the house which I am spending more time in.”

After all, the employees who maintain a healthy work/life balance are more likely to be engaged and productive. Even small actions like taking a walk in the middle of the day can help to maintain that balance and help you to reenergise.

So why not use this week to highlight this to your employees and show you care about them? It’s just good business.

If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple” – Richard Branson