Making sure the work-life balance is right for you

Offering advice to small heating and plumbing businesses, Martin Jones, MD of TradeHelp, highlights the importance of balancing a hectic working life with quality time spent with friends and family.

In my previous column I talked about pensions. For many of us retirement seems a lifetime away, and we certainly don’t want to wish our lives away waiting for our days off work. Working hard at a business is important, however, I firmly believe that it’s essential to make time for other things such as hobbies and family. And it’s not just for people with children. A 2017 FlexJobs Survey of 2200 employees found that 79% of people without children thought that the number one reason for a flexible work arrangement was better work-life balance. In the same survey, 80% of working parents say work-life balance matters when considering a job.

Of course, everyone has different pressures and responsibilities to deal with, but here’s how I try my best to achieve that ever-desired harmony between work and home life.

Exercise
Busy installers are likely to burn off a fair few calories during a typical working day, but if you’re not out on the tools on a regular basis then it’s easy to let your fitness levels slide. It’s no secret that exercise is good for our bodies and minds and it’s certainly a brilliant escape after a stressful day.

I get my endorphins going by cycling to work as often as I can in the summer. It not only invigorates me and sets me up for the day ahead but it helps keep the lid on my waistline! Although cycling to work may not be an option for some, try getting up a little earlier in the summer months and taking the dog for a walk. Or instead of sitting around in the van at lunch time, take a stroll and get some all important steps in.

Family
It’s easy to say that we’re too busy to spend time with friends or family, when in fact we should be doing our best to fit in seeing them whenever we can. I have three young daughters and spending quality time together without interruption helps put work issues into perspective. Remember to turn your e-mails off, go for a walk together (more steps!) or have dinner around the table as a family and chat about the day that’s gone.

Holidays
I don’t necessarily mean jetting off to exotic destinations, but taking time off from work completely, whether it’s two weeks or two days. Even if you can only take a short time off on holiday, don’t take business calls and e-mails while you are off. By all means check you phone for urgent messages once a day but don’t get pulled into responding unless you absolutely have to. It’s important to switch off from time to time – and it could even benefit your business in the long run.

In the past I have fallen into the trap of thinking I must be available 24/7 the whole year round for any issues that might arise. It’s important to develop staff to take responsibility and make day-to-day operational decisions, or they are never going to grow and learn. Encourage them to do this while you are away. The business can and will survive without your input for short periods of time. You can’t relax away from it if you are constantly micro-managing all the daily issues for your staff on the phone or via e-mail. Switch the phone off!

Time
Prioritise your time. Nobody ever gets to retirement wishing that they’d just spent that extra hour at the office every evening. Of course, some days will be busier than others and will require a lot of your time, but is that extra paperwork or that final late night job really that important – or can it wait until the next day?

There are many benefits to having a good work-life balance for an employee, including increased productivity in work, feeling happier at work and an improvement in general health and well-being. What’s more, employers will find that their staff turnover is reduced if they allow for a good work-life balance, meaning that they save time and money on the recruitment process.

About TradeHelp

For more information about TradeHelp or to learn more about its new app that provides members with a range of time and money-saving benefits, please visit: www.tradehelp.co.uk

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