Do you have a work / life balance?

Do you have a work / life balance?

October 6, 2017 4:16 pm

I was asked for help recently from my niece regarding a paper she was writing as part of a research project into how professionals can find a better work-family balance. As a participant in the research, it made me realise how terrible I am at achieving a good work-family balance.

In the end, research was gathered from 500 professionals across a broad spectrum of disciplines. The outcomes from the research allowed her to conclude the steps that professionals can take to find a better work-family balance (as well as the consequences of them not!)

I thought I’d share my favourite 5 with you – be warned it’s not rocket science but I have personally implemented these steps in the last week and my family are loving me for it – particularly my 3-year-old son who is getting real quality uninterrupted dad time in the evenings.

I must confess, I am wondering why I haven’t done these long before now. After just a week it seems like madness that I haven’t before. Apart from the fact I am loving having what feels like amazing quality time with my family in the evenings, I have also become an ace foosball player – a win, win!

So here they are – obvious really!

1.Turn your mobile phone off when you get home

The research demonstrated that many, just like me felt the need to be available 24/7 and take calls late into the evenings and at weekends. Personally, I have been a victim of this, sometimes leaving the family to spend long periods of time on the phone to clients. What can’t wait until the morning? In reality, it’s very likely to be nothing.

2. Have a cut off time from work and go home

In many professions you could literally work 24 hours a day and still not get all your work done, and nothing is more true to that sentiment than the recruitment world. At the end of the day, you are working to live and shouldn’t be living to work – finding a balance means leaving the office to go home whilst there is still quality time left to spend with your family

3. Don’t be a slave to email

Emails can be read on almost every device these days from your smart phone to your tablet and even on your watch! The research showed that professionals would often take time away from family to respond to emails from their smart devices. If you take note of point number 1 then I guess that, in part solves this problem. Why be a slave to email, people understand that a response in the morning is perfectly acceptable and when you think about it rationally, it really is!

4. Use your holidays

This was an interesting read for me in the research. A high proportion of professionals didn’t utilise their holiday entitlements and when they did would answer emails and take work related calls. Holidays are there to allow you to relax and a great opportunity to spend quality time with the family. This is something I am fully intending on taking note of. In the last 3 years, I have taken a total of 4 weeks’ holiday, it’s madness really!

5. Blocks of interrupted time

If at the end of the day you can’t switch off when you get home and find a proper work family balance, then maybe this is the way to manage it for you. In the research, those who couldn’t switch off in the evenings and at weekends said they managed that by ensuring they allocated blocks of interrupted time and used that time wisely with the family.

Personally, I am 100% guilty of being unable to find a good work-family balance, I always have been but certainly don’t intend on maintain that track record moving forward. I am really happy my niece asked me to participate in the research and more importantly so are my wife and kids!

What about you? Do you have a good work-family balance?

Article written by David Tait, Managing Director, Redmill Consulting.

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