Find balance in 2019

Feb 11, 2019
They say nothing is more important than your health, and organisations should make their staff’s well-being a top priority in 2019.

Something that has risen in priority for both individuals and employers in recent years is the importance of looking after our own and our colleagues’ mental health. I have put that at the top of my agenda for 2019 and it is an area that is particularly close to my heart. Through my voluntary role on the board of local charity, Action Mental Health,  I’ve gained an insight into some of the important aspects of this subject matter.

Separating work and leisure time is essential, making sure we have time to relax and correctly manage our workloads will keep us healthy, help us maintain focus and, ultimately, make us more productive.

Technology is frequently the “solution” for efficiency in work; communicating with ease, remote working, software tools to up productivity to name a few. However, technology is not without its pitfalls. We now live in a world where it is virtually impossible to switch off from work. We carry work around with us all day, every day in our smart phones and devices. We are in danger of missing out on life experiences if we’re always listening for that ping and hastily catching up on work emails or texts during what should be our down time. 

Here are a few work disciplines that I try to keep in mind to help me manage my day. They don’t always work, but they do help me to prioritise.

  • Don’t respond to every email immediately. Balancing what is urgent with what is important saves me a lot of time and stress, and often means my responses are more considered.
  • Ask others for help with tasks. Delegating is something I’ve had to force myself to do, but it has so many benefits.  
  • Put regular meetings with yourself in your diary. You can use this time as you wish. It may be to phone clients, read emails, do research, or write a letter or two. However you use it is up to you, but it will be a very productive period in your week.
  • Network. Getting to know people, the challenges they face, the solutions they employ, the key drivers in another sector, all of these things make us smarter and, I would argue, make life and work more interesting. 
  • Know your strengths. Let someone else do the other tasks!
  • Praise your team. It’s a nice thing to do as well as being the most powerful motivator any employer has at their disposal.
  • While it’s important for staff to be aware of their mental health, it’s even more important that they have their company’s support. What can you do as an employer to help all of your staff stay happy and healthy?
  • Encourage growth. There is likely to be a wealth of talent in your organisation. Don’t be afraid to recognise and encourage it.
  • Be flexible. If people want to adjust the structures around them in terms of how, when or where they work, do your best to let them.  
  • Be caring. Nothing helps grow a company’s most valuable asset more than demonstrating genuine care to every person who makes the company what it is.  
  • Develop your people. When employees see that they are developing personally and the company wants them to become more valuable members of the team, their effectiveness and loyalty will only increase.  
  • Recognise the importance of staff health and well-being. Aim to have a wellness week that will include a series of health checks, events, educational talks and health supports. This offering gives staff the benefit of having online access to a GP and mental health assistance when they or their families need it.

Angela Craigan is a Partner with Harbinson Mulholland Accountancy and Business Advisory Firm.