This week is National Work-Life Week, an annual campaign to get both employers and employees talking about wellbeing at work and work-life fit.
Has your Company organised anything for this week? If your Company isn’t doing anything or if you work for yourself, this is a great opportunity to look at what’s working for you, what you would like to change and how you can go about that.
If you have concerns with your work-life wellbeing/ work-life fit think about what it is that isn’t right, what you want to change, what will it look like when it’s changed, and how you will feel. Try to be as specific as you can so that when you are looking at solutions you know what will be good to try. It may be that small changes will help to improve the situation for you or support will be useful.
Some people consider flexible working when they feel that there are pressures outside or within work that don’t fit with their current working pattern. Before you go straight to “I can’t work part-time”, there are many options to flexible working. These also include:
- Compressed hours – i.e. working full time equivalent hours over less days
- Different working pattern on different days of the week whilst still working the full-time equivalent hours
- Working from home/ remotely (either full time or a combination with office-based working)
- Earlier or later start time
Flexible working is normally a permanent change but if you need assistance for a short period of time it is still worth talking to someone in your organisation to see if it is possible to work flexibly for a short time.
Some of these may have an impact on your salary and benefits so ensure you check when discussing any changes.
There are a lot of options for support that companies can provide that often employees are unaware of so it’s worth asking your company what’s available. These could include:
- Private healthcare – these may provide assistance with mental as well as physical health
- Employee Assistance Programme (EAPs) – these are confidential helplines that can provide support on a variety of services such as counselling, money advice, child and elder care information and legal information (if you have private healthcare some have this as an add on to your membership)
- Gym membership
- Bike loans/ cycle to work
- Paid/ unpaid leave your company provides outside of holiday
- Mentors/ coaching
Working in an office:
When you work in an office, especially an open plan office you may feel greatly the impact of working with other people, interruptions at your desk, phone calls, emails coming through, noise of chatter from other people’s conversations, being pulled into another person’s conversation to ‘pick your brains’, or the lure of joining as it is more ‘fun’ than what you are doing right now!
If you need space from other people can you book a meeting room for a bit or work on a hot desk away from your usual space for a couple of hours to give you time to concentrate on what you need to? If you can’t get a break but are finding the distractions difficult remember you can’t control them but can control how you react; you could use a simple breathing technique such as – breathe in for 4 counts, hold it for 4 counts and then breathe out for 6 counts, doing this for 2 minutes to calm your mind.
Do you have a ‘team’ where you can support each other or other people in similar situations to you at work where you can swap support when you need it and help each other out?
Understanding your colleagues and using your strengths together really helps. Many years ago I worked in a team where we all had different working styles and personalities. We got on really well as a team and ensured we utilised these to our advantage. One colleague brought out the creative side in me whilst I ensured the detail was completed and this ensured projects got off the ground and finished.
Working from home:
Do you work from home? This can help with some of the difficulties of working in an office but can also bring its own nuances to consider. There are often fewer clear boundaries between work, home and how time is spent. Where is your workspace? How do you draw the boundary between work and home life? Are you working when other people are in the house?
Think about how you want to divide your time between work and home. How will it look and feel like for you? Think about how it will work in your environment, for you and for those in your home. What can already be put in place? What needs to be changed and can be done easily? What needs collaboration and discussion?
Finding solutions to improving your work life wellbeing is a very personal thing. What is a problem for one person can be a challenge or a joy to another. If you are having difficulties getting support is important, we often forget about some obvious solutions or may find new ones we hadn’t considered before.
My Facebook Group
In my Facebook group Wellbeing Workout at Work, which is a supportive community, we are sharing experiences and tips on this topic this month. Feel free to join the group and share your experiences.