By Vincent Low
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…“. The Christmas song is in the background while I’m penning this article. We’re just about to get into the full swing of the festive season; most of us are beginning to hang up our work-hats in favour of holiday season. While that’s undoubtedly well-deserved, business as they say, goes on as usual. The pressure to wrap up the year whilst juggling our personal commitments can potentially affect output and productivity at work.
I’ve previously highlighted that stressed out employees don’t make for productive ones, so here’s a follow-up as we near the year-end holiday period, on how I juggle work responsibilities without having to short-change my friends and family.
Throughout the year, I make it a point to set priorities for all the work. I find that when priorities aren’t established early on, we tend to feel like everything has to be done at once, and put in extra hours or work overtime to get them done. More often than not, a hurried job leads to shoddy work. By establishing and ranking the importance or urgency of tasks, we’re better able to schedule and manage our workload over a reasonable period of time.
Even if this is a temporary issue, it is imperative that you ensure that your additional efforts don’t go unnoticed or under-appreciated. However, if overtime seems to be a chronic problem with you, or with the members of your team, perhaps it’s time to sit down and figure out an alternative solution that might work in the longer run.
One of my guiding principles has always been to leave work at the office. When we start taking work home, the stress of the day follows close behind and we start being incapable to see work and our personal life as separate entities.
That being said, like many of you, I’m guilty of doing it at times. Circumstances arise such that having to bring work home is inevitable at some point of our careers. Nevertheless, I believe this practice should be closely monitored by the management. If your employees are consistently taking work home, some structural changes may need to be put in place.
Achieving an ideal work-life balance could be as simple as altering your work arrangements – set time aside with your loved ones or lock-in a session at the gym after work and stick to it!
Long working hours have an adverse effect on employees, and many begin lowering their priority placed on their health and wellness. Here at Canon, we have a strong Staff Recreation Committee that regularly organises social activities. From weekly running sessions to baking and Yoga classes, we encourage our staff to pencil these activities in their hectic schedule in hopes that it becomes a habit to put themselves and their well-being first. The advantages of bonding with your fellow colleagues will make you happier and more productive at work.
That established, another good practice is to make use of your company’s vacation and leave benefits. They’ve been put in place for a reason, and you’re only going to lose out if you don’t maximise them.
Achieving work-life balance isn’t an impossible task. All it takes is an adjustment to your mind-set and work habits, while bearing in mind it’s never a 50-50% split on both life and work. By first setting clear priorities with your workload, you’ll be able to plan ahead and avoid going into overdrive, allowing for room to make the most of your vacation days as well.
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas everyone!
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