We’ve heard a lot about the importance of achieving healthy work-life balance. A survey by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that more than 40 per cent of employees neglect other aspects of their life because of work, and this could increase their susceptibility to mental health issues.
Making time for both professional and personal commitments is important, but how effective is our approach to managing the two? Instead of simply instigating flexible or remote working and being done with it, some companies are providing employees with a new perspective on the world of work: work-life blend.
The idea is that employees share more with their manager about what’s going on in their lives. So if they’re training for a triathlon, in the process of buying a house or caring for a sick relative, the person they report to should know about it. Managers can help employees work around those commitments and, in the process, instil a culture of communication that will forge healthier working relationships.
The idea was pioneered by Open Blend Method, a firm that counts Waitrose, MediaCom, Ella’s Kitchen and Tate among its clients. Work and life don’t exist in separate bubbles – they often bleed into one another, whether you’re working late and missing social commitments as a result or spending time with your colleagues outside office hours. For employees, it can help them organise their time better and stop work from feeling like a chore – something they have to do in order to enjoy their non-work life.
There are obvious benefits for employers too. Happier workers are more productive, and they’re more likely to be more loyal to a company that values them as human beings as well as workers. If staff are given the tools to make time for life’s other demands, they will be better rested and therefore better able to perform. Getting them out of the monotonous nine-to-five schedule can encourage creative thought and new ways of working. And innovation is always a winner in the workplace.
Bosses keen to implement work-life blend should sit down with their staff and discuss what is going on in their lives. They can then help employees plan their work commitments around these necessary duties. Regular meetings should also be scheduled so new activities and demands can be accommodated.
Even if you’re self-employed, you can initiate your own work-life blend. Decide on the activities that are important to you, and then make time for them. It could be that working longer hours but only four days a week provides a better balance. If that’s the case, do it. Remember that you’re creating a blend that works for you – no one else. And don’t be afraid to mix it up. The best part about a ‘blend’ is that it isn’t fixed.
Apps like Remember the Milk and Toggl show you how long you spend on each task, which can improve time management. You can also sync Remember the Milk with Evernote, so your reminders show up in both apps. Then you can give them priorities, time estimates, locations, URLs and more.
Lenovo’s range of laptops are also perfect for achieving your work-life blend. The Yoga 910 is a powerful machine capable of handling any business task, and it doubles as a tablet for more casual browsing. Not to mention its 4K screen displays films in stunning clarity.
Work-life blend can mean more productive and creative employees, as well as a more informal working environment. If your business could use a new approach to work, work-life blend might just be the answer.