Managing your work and personal life can be tricky, especially if you have a role which doesn’t fit in the traditional 9-5 working day. Tim shares his advice on how to balance your time effectively.
By Tim Frear
Many employers talk about giving their employees a good work life balance, but what does that really mean? As I stand on a train platform at 5:30am watching the cleaners prepare the platform for the day, I think to myself, as a nation, what is it that we really want from a work life balance and, is what I want the same as everyone else?
As someone who has always worked, enjoyed work and appreciated a good balance between work and home life, I do consider myself lucky. Although you may think otherwise as I am sat on the train in the dark this early in the morning! However, it may be different for others on the train, but for me, it’s a one off.
For most employees, you make the most of the down time you have. I personally try to leave on time to give me the evenings and weekends to myself or to spend with friends and family. I prefer to work over in the morning rather than at night, whereas others prefer the comfort of their beds and would prefer to work later. As we are all different, are organisations flexible with the hours they set? Does the 9 to 5 really work for your employees and the business?
Working in the US for many years has allowed me to see the ‘Blackberry culture’, whereby there is an unwritten rule that emails must be read and responded to immediately, regardless of the time. In the UK, or should I say ‘up-North’, we have a more relaxed attitude. I have never worked in London and so can’t speak for the Londoners reading this blog or say if you feel the same way – although having heard all about the morning rush, I would doubt there is the same mindset in the capital. In my opinion, it’s the calmer pace of life that allows for a better work-life balance and arguably a more enjoyable time at work.
But what can employers do to ensure the balance is there? I am all for communication. Find out what your employees want from work, empower your leadership team to manage their teams appropriately; if their son has a football match on Thursday afternoon, what impact will allowing that employee time off have on the business? Will they be willing to work the time back? Will they be more productive, loyal and happier in the workplace as a result?
There is not one right answer, we are all different and our needs are different. Assuming we all want the same thing can be detrimental to your organisation. Having seen the email culture, I would encourage organisations to look at the work being done out of hours and consider the impact this has on employees’ personal time.
If you need help managing your employees’ workload or are concerned about the work/life balance in your workplace, our team can help.
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