Work Life Week
Did you know it is National Work Life Week this week?
National Work Life Week is organised by the charity Working Families and its aim is to encourage employers and employees to create a balance between their working commitments and personal life. It is also meant to showcase the importance of well-being at work and to emphasise the benefits of flexible working.
As a nation, we seem to be workaholics, working around 42.7 hours a week (figures taken from marketresearch.net). This is longer than most other European countries, who work on average 40 hours per week. However, these figures don’t show the additional hours that people put in, by logging at home or checking emails on their smartphones etc.
Why do we need a Work Life Week?
The way we work, the types of jobs we have and technological advancements mean that achieving a happy work / life balance is incredibly difficult. In certain industries, working culture also makes it impossible to have a healthy work like balance. For instance, in some industries, it is frowned upon if you leave the office at 5.30pm. It is expected that you stay gone past 7pm.
Pressure from managers, colleagues (and pressure we put upon ourselves) causes us to work longer and longer hours. We need a week like Work Life Week to remind ourselves that life is not all about work.
Is having a work life balance important?
Well, yes. In 2014/15 23.3 million work days were lost due to work related ill health. The most common causes of the ill-health were stress, depression and anxiety (information taken from HSE). The health issues that stress and anxiety causes, can blight people’s lives for a long time, affecting them both physically and mentally.
How to achieve a work life balance?
We have to look at this as a 2 pronged approach. Firstly, organisations have to look internally at their working culture and assess what affect it having on its employees. They need to see if employees are taking enough breaks and if the length of time they are taking is adequate. It is common practice for people to sit and eat their lunch at their desk. The problem with this is that people are not moving around and exercising. They also end up either doing work whilst they are eating lunch or are looking at the internet. There is no down time and the brain is constantly getting bombarded with information.
Discouraging late working practices is also vital. Working late once in a while is fine, but if it becomes a common practice, the organisation needs to identify why it is happening and discuss with its employee’s measures that can put in place to prevent this from happening.
In an ideal world both these things would happen, but unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. This is where the second pronged approach comes in, if your company is not willing to change, then maybe its time you do.
It is a great idea to remind ourselves every once in while that ‘all work and no play, leads to a stressful, fun-less life’. Bring the balance back to your life by deciding not to work late every night, keeping the laptop turned off and not checking your emails on your phone. Then, we encourage you to go outside and enjoy this wonderful Autumn weather we are experiencing and take a walk in many of the beautiful parks we have in Harrow.
Enjoy Work Life Week!
By Emma Saldanha