It’s National Work Life Balance Week and the perfect chance to reassess your health, happiness and pace of life. The awareness event by Working Families is an excellent opportunity for staff and employers to focus on wellbeing at work, promote flexible working policies and enable the workforce to feel refreshed and recharged to face the day ahead.
Research by Working Families to mark Go Home on Time Day in June found that many parents struggle to spend time with their partner and children. One in 10 parents in the UK spends longer at work every day than they are contracted to, while more than four in 10 put in extra hours at home in the evenings or on weekends ‘all the time or often’. One parent in 10 spends less than an hour in total with their family on a working day, while work stops two in five regularly putting their children to bed.
With NHS statistics showing that 40% of workplace illnesses are related to stress, it’s clear that having the wrong work life balance can lead to significant implications for staff and business owners. Healthy Working Wales, a joint programme by the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and Cardiff University, promotes wellbeing and a good work life balance. This enables employees to return to and remain in work, as well as reducing the costs to business associated with absenteeism, a high staff turnover and low productivity.
But while many of us know the theory, it can be difficult to make changes to busy lives in practice! South Wales-based counsellor and psychotherapist Lynette Evans suggests some small steps to ensure a balanced schedule, with plenty of time for family, friends and yourself:
- Regular exercise improves mood as well as physical wellbeing, but how many of us think we ‘don’t have time’ within our busy working day? You don’t have to sign up for a half marathon but getting out at lunchtime for a 20-minute walk or parking further from your workplace and walking the rest can do wonders for your mindset - not to mention productivity!
- Switch off outside working hours. We’ve been conditioned to think our phones and tablets enhance our lives, but they can deplete our time and energy. In the evening and at weekends, set aside downtime to unplug and resist the urge to constantly check work emails. Remind yourself it’s ok to be unavailable!
- Don’t fill every hour of the day. It’s easy to say ‘yes’ to social commitments, especially those after-work events, but get into the habit of keeping some blank spaces in your diary each week to do ‘nothing’ - whether on your own or relaxing with family.
- Learn to be ‘good enough’ at both home and work. Delegating means you’re efficient, not incapable, and frees up your time for the tasks you do best. At home, encouraging even small children to help with simple chores frees you up all the quicker for that essential board game or bedtime story!
As the UK’s leading health insurance comparison website, we’ve got plenty of wellbeing tips, such as boosting your mental health. And, of course, if you’re the boss, it’s your job to ensure your employees are happy and healthy - which is where company health insurance can bring benefits all round!
National Work Life Week runs from October 2-6, with a ‘flexible working’ day on Friday 6. Follow @workingfamUK on Twitter and the #WorkLifeWeek and #flexibleworking hashtags to learn more.