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Work-life balance – it’s time to start twisting your melon, man

Posted by Louise Palmer on 29th January 2018

There it is, only 9.01am and my first ‘happy Friday!!!’ of the day. Now I’m no grump (shhh, you lot), it’s just that, ironically, the whole happy Friday thing makes me quite depressed.

The phrase seems to signify a celebration that, at last, we are on our way to the only 48 hours in the week when we can enjoy our lives. Is work really that bad that we need to be so happily vocal about the imminent arrival of the weekend?

Unfortunately, it appears it might be for many.

Satisfaction and motivation in the workplace are themes that we’ve been exploring with a number of Wildfire clients recently, from work-like balance, to the influence of younger generations entering the workforce, to the impact of automation on traditional job roles.

Research supports the view that work is impacting our wellbeing and general enjoyment of life. A recent article in HR Magazine reports on data from a CV-Library study that shows work is a key contributor to poor mental health, while this month Real Business highlighted data from Qualtrics (a Wildfire client) on the lack of engagement of UK employees at work.

Perhaps it’s no wonder we’re all whooping for the weekend. Yet why should we be happy being unhappy for five days, only so that we can enjoy the other two?

We’re living in an interesting time, where traditional ways of working have never been questioned more.

Personnel Today highlights the demands of a new generation of young adults who are entering the workplace. And these aren’t limited to those people who don’t remember a fax machine or Tippex. Across the workforce, employees are looking to change how they work and expect employers to start meeting their demands.

The UK’s flexible working legislation, which allows any employee to request greater flexibility, marked a step forward in 2014. Yet it also brought even more formality and process.

So, what’s the answer?

One theme that’s prominent in the research I’m seeing is that pay and bonuses aren’t cutting it. Don’t get me wrong, they’re important, but as this Workplace Insight blog highlights, work-life balance, being exposed to new challenges and having supportive managers go far further in driving motivation and instilling loyalty.

It’s a challenging time for many businesses, as traditional working practices are questioned and reviewed. Yet I for one welcome the possibilities this offers in creating job roles that complement how we live, rather than become what we must do to get to the weekend.

My 14 years at Wildfire are perhaps testament to what happens when employers get work-life balance right.

Oh, and for the record, Sir Bob, I quite like Mondays …

Louise Palmer

Deftly switching between business and consumer accounts, the focus for Louise remains the same; how can Wildfire tell clients’ stories in a way that is faithful, relevant and engaging? Her wide technology PR experience makes Louise an agile Managing Director, combining the strategic management of PR programmes with a hands-on approach to get under the skin of clients and motivate her teams.