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Posted August 14 2017

National Work/Life Balance Week

Yes, that’s right – National Work Life Balance Week is officially a thing, and it occurs this year from 2nd-6th October. It is a chance for employers and employees to embrace morale, happiness and wellbeing in and out of work.

Good mental health and clarity are so important but can get easily shrouded by the business of work. With access to emails and the internet literally at our fingertips, it is all too familiar to be checking work emails as often as Facebook, so even when not at work employees are still in work-mode. There’s nothing wrong with being a good employee and being available in a crisis, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of your overall happiness or affect those closest to you.

This is all relative and if you are a business owner it can be even harder to ‘switch off’ than those who are on the payroll. It is important for those to allow time to refresh and recoup some non-shop time, but also remember that your staff may not have the same priorities and dedication as you – which is OK – so to get the most out of them you have to keep morale high and promote an atmosphere of work pride. No pressure.

A few ideas for Work Life Balance Week that have been given the thumbs up seal of approval from the Cornerstone team are listed below. We hope you can get on board whether you’re the boss, team leader or intern. We all need to be at our best to deliver the best.

· An oldie but a goodie is the classic phone/email curfew when you’re at home. By making a time barrier (say 7pm) then you allow yourself the evening to just be. It can be tough, but if you can switch off a few hours a day your mind (and family) will thank you for it. For real addicts you can start a ‘weaning’ process and perhaps during NWLB Week you can do one or two evenings only…

· Taking a proper lunch break. This is harder than it sounds, particularly if you eat at your desk (guilty). But by leaving the office you can stretch your legs, get some fresh air and ideally come back a little bit more revitalised. It’s very tempting to stay put and inhale lunch over the internet, but it’s far more enjoyable to see the outside world, even for 15 minutes or so.

· Organise a team lunch. If you can’t remember the last time you all went out together, then make the effort during this week! Or if lunch out isn’t feasible, perhaps you can arrange an office takeaway. Again, the point here is to make time away from the desk and what better way to bind with colleagues than the international language of food?!

· Allow yourself and staff an early finish one day a week – Friday’s are a common day for this. It doesn’t have to be hours off – 4 or 5pm can make a huge difference to people and their gratitude. In fact, companies who deploy this tactic often finds it improves staff productivity that day as they want to complete everything in time and the excitement of an early finish spurs them on to get their work done. Double win.

· Encourage staff/team-mates to attend an exercise class or even spa treatment if you have any links with gyms or studios nearby. Some companies have a ‘wellness allowance’ per year for employees, and this may not be something you can commit to, nudging colleagues towards an endorphin raising workout after work rather than a late desk burnout will benefit both staff and business.

· National Work/Life Balance Week isn’t necessarily about lots of new ideas and throwing cash at various gimmicks – you can promote benefits that may have been forgotten in the day to day flow of office life. If you have a cycle to work scheme get that re-marketed and circulating again to encourage fitness and environmental awareness.

· Arrange a charity day. Working as a team for something meaningful is a fantastic way to bring employees together. There are loads of options for businesses to help out including the RSPCA and WellChild.

· Perhaps our favourite idea – create a napping zone. Staff could be entitled to a 30 minute nap during NWLB Week to see if it helps with their stress levels or just makes them feel geared up to tackle a hefty task later in the day.

· Make sure you take regular breaks. Studies suggest this should be done routinely, but if you aren’t implementing this then use NWLB Week as an incentive to get up, make a hot drink, take some time away from your computer screen etc. If you have come in early for whatever reason, ensure you take the time back in lunch form or leaving earlier than usual.

If you’re reading this and you and your company have already taken these points on board then consider yourself balanced! They may seem obvious or even minimal, but making time to have time (stay with us!) is genuinely good for your mind and wellbeing.