National Work-Life Week (24-28 September) is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the issue of the importance of achieving a good work-life balance. Whilst being in work is generally considered to be good for a person’s health, working too much, or allowing stress to build up over time, can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health and their ability to do their job well. Employees whose primary focus is on work risk neglecting their lives outside work, potentially leading to social or relationship issues and eventual ‘burn-out’.
The campaign suggests various initiatives that could be considered by different groups within the working environment to encourage employees to focus on their work/life balance, including:
- employers who could demonstrate how much they appreciate their staff, refresh and re-launch work-life policies and show that they remain committed to a work-life balance;
- organisations that could extend the week’s scope to embrace wellbeing as a whole (e.g. stopping smoking, keeping fit, eating healthily) and incorporating occupational health initiatives.
A blog from the Health for Work Adviceline site (May 2011) discussed the notion of work life balance and gave some tips about what employers could do to help their staff keep tabs on the balance between their working and private lives, for example employers could:
- provide information about mental health and wellbeing, including work-related stress, and make sources of further information readily available to staff at all levels;
- provide opportunities for physical activity linked to the workplace by, for example, offering discounted gym membership as an employee benefit;
- keep lines of communication open with employees so that employers can spot if somebody appears to be stressed, anxious or overworked and see whether there is something they can do to lighten their load and address their issues
For more information on the importance of maintaining a healthy work life balance, see the blog on the Health for Work Adviceline website, or speak to one of our occupational health professionals for free on 0800 0 77 88 44.