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Work life balance

‘Work life balance’ is a term that is a bit of a buzz phrase these days. And while everyone seems to think it is a great idea very few are able to get that balance right. Lets look at worklife balance from a different perspective. Undoubtedly our life at work and our actual life impact on each other. Consider this though how much does our happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment come from our work and from our life? If one is going well more than likely so is the other. It is impossible not to have one influence the other. For example, had a bad nights sleep, a tiff with the partner or the kids it is very likely that our work performance and attitude is going to be detrimentally affected by this. Similarly a bad day at work is likely to impact on our relationships and state of mind when we get home.

Think about work life balance as your ability to separate the two activities in your life – work vs home/self! So the trick is to try and keep the two separate. If we allow one to over influence the other then our life overall is going to spiral down. Switch off from work physically, electronically and emotionally as soon as you leave. If you do work from home keep it within a set number of hours. When you work or are at work make this your 100% focus. You will be more productive and efficient and then able to get on with the life part outside these hours unencumbered by work issues. Will take some practice to compartmentalize the work from the life but in the end it will improve your work life balance.

Interested to hear from others on how they maintain a good work life balance in this competitive environment.

I don’t like my job!

How many times has someone said that to you or how often have you said that yourself? The usual reaction or response is to try and find another job however a more realistic option and satisfying option may simply be to change your attitude, change your viewpoint to your current job.

The reality is we cannot change a lot of things that happen around us but we CAN change the way we respond to them. Think about how this may apply to your work situation.

Common situations that cause unhappiness at work and how to change them!

  1. The boss ( or other colleagues) are difficult – they don’t like me! they expect me to do everything! they are never satisfied with what I do!

TACTICS – first thing to acknowledge is that this is actually not personal even though it can feel like it. It will only become personal if you react emotionally. Be open and honest with the person causing you grief and explain that you are wanting to do better and how could they help you do this. This will often diffuse the situation and open more effective lines of communication.

2.  Hours of work  – The hours are too long, start too early, work too late!

TACTICS – analyse the reason behind the hours. Is it that you must be at work these hours? Is it because there is too much work to do in the allocated time? Are you work practices efficient? First thing is to make sure you are being as efficient as possible. Maybe consider doing a time management course – look at things like use of emails, time spent with customers/other staff/ coffee breaks. Keep a record of time spent on different tasks and see where the time is going. Sometimes with greater efficiency you can negotiate your work hours accordingly.

3. Travel stress – does it take you too long to get to and from work?

TACTICS – look at all the travel options. Could you car pool? take public transport? adjust start and finish times to avoid peak travel times? Consider negotiating some work from home options sometimes.

4. Nature of work – too challenging? too boring?

TACTICS – what are the options in your workplace to change or adapt your role to make is more or less challenging? Consider enrolling in a course that will develop your skills and knowledge to help you in your current job or prepare you for the next step. Talk to your supervisor about your concerns and goals!

It is good to talk to a friend, a colleague or a career counsellor to help you work through your options. Life is too short to be in a job your hate!

SOFT SKILLS NEEDED FOR FUTURE EMPLOYMENT

Following on from my most recent blog, Youth Unemployment, I was interested to read an article written by Amanda Woodward on HRM, the Human Resource Management site. Titled  ‘Most jobs will be soft skills intensive by 2030’ she writes of a change that is occurring in large corporations –

‘Penguin Random House and major consulting firms Ernst & Young (EY) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are just three big companies to have stated openly that they no longer require university degrees in their search for good candidates. Instead, they want to recruit newcomers who have a broad range of life and education skills and experiences.’

The diminishing importance of academic results and the search for good candidates with great soft skills gained through well rounded life experience, possibly a ‘gap year’ and part time jobs cannot be ignored by parents and young people hoping to break into the work force in the coming years!

‘So what are those ‘in-demand’ soft skills?

  1. Communication
  2. Friendly/Approachable
  3. Self-motivated/Ambitious
  4. Driven by outcomes
  5. Positive and enthusiastic

Catherine Friday, education leader of EY Oceania’