20 May 2014

9 Ways To Stop Work Becoming Your Entire Life


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Health and wellbeing


Many people would argue that there’s no such thing as a work/life balance anymore, as the two have merged due to the abundance and popularity of mobile technology. It’s important to have some downtime from your career for health reasons, and also to remain productive, focused and a happy member of the workforce. Below are 9 pointers on ways in which you can work towards a balance between the office and home.

1) Get your head right

work life balanceThe first thing you need to do is get in the right frame of mind. There’s no point concentrating on a healthier work/life balance if you’re a workaholic who can’t shut down. In order to take action and proactive steps to improve the balance you need to want to do it, and do it for YOU.

A good way to ease yourself into working less is to start booking activities straight after work. This not only provides you with justification to leave work on time, it also provides an opportunity for you to get to know a colleague on a personal level.

2) Get urgent things done first

Don’t leave the important tasks until late in the day as they’re more likely to spill over into the evening, when you’re supposed to be going home. Get the important tasks done first, leaving non urgent/important duties to later in the day.

When planning and prioritising activity, allocate time to each task and be as practical as you can with your time estimates. If you start to run out of time in the day, and are unlikely to complete the important tasks then you need to delegate, or ask for assistance, to complete the workload.

3) Use your free time well

be creative with time offWhen you do get free time, use it. Spend time on creativity, being with family and friends and fill up the hours with productive things that provide good memories and make the time worth it. If you do nothing with the free time you have then it seems like a wasted opportunity.
Makes plans in advance and fill up your calendar with fun and interesting things to do. Visit cities, see shows and immerse yourself in a hobby, all of these activities are a good distraction from the stresses of work life.

4) Take leave and make it count

Use your annual leave, that’s what it’s there for. As well as providing you with a break, it also helps you to stay productive and happy at work, which is great news for your employer.
Make sure that when you’re on annual leave, you colleagues are aware that it’s down time for you, and not to disturb you unless it’s a real emergency. If possible, leave the work mobile device/s at home and let everyone know that your uncontactable.

As well as the obvious benefits regarding reducing stress and being with your loved one’s, booking a holiday also gives you something to look forward to. Once you’ve been away from the office for a couple of weeks you’ll be recharged and enthusiastic about getting back to work.

5) Collaborate

Sharing responsibility and workload helps everyone involved, as well as being more productive, it’s also less stressful and quite often more fun and interesting. By sharing certain duties it means that while you’re out of the office, there’s someone else that can answer questions and complete actions on your behalf.

Using online collaboration tools allows a team to work on the same presentation, spreadsheet, mind map etc together, in real time. Using such tools not only means your sharing the tasks, but it also means that you can work as a team even if you’re not all in the same location, making it easier to arrange such sessions rather than relying on everyone being in the same place, at the same time.

6) Work your most productive hours

We all have our productive times, some of us naturally wake up early, others prefer working late. Whatever your pattern of productivity, use it to your advantage. Most business offer flexible working time these days and should be happy to provide you with the flexibility to be 100% effective where your work’s concerned. Some people hate early starts and this puts them in a bad mood as soon as they wake up, unhappy people aren’t productive.

I start work at about 7:30 and finish at about 4:30. I prefer starting work earlier and finishing earlier, luckily this is absolutely fine with Ciphr and I’m more productive and happy as a result.

7) Telecommute

telecommuteWorking from home is a great way to get things done without the distractions and stresses of daily office life. Make sure that you’ve set up a proper office at home, and that you’ve all the tools you need to complete your work to the best of your ability. Ciphr’s HR software solutions enable HR and employees alike to work with their people data from anywhere with an internet connection.
Working from home can often alleviate the necessity for you to take time off, or reduce your hours, due to personal commitments. This is of benefit not only to you, but also your employer.

8) Automate

Automating daily tasks saves time and allows you to concentrate on more urgent matters. Ciphr offers a number of automation tools that are designed to free up your time, allowing you to be more strategic and less reactive and stressed by admin. These include:

  • Autotasks (built into Ciphr) – Ciphr features the ability to automate tasks based on rules and criteria of the data held on the system. Utilise and optimise these tasks to do the mundane chores for you.
  • Active Directory Connector – The Ciphr AD Connector allows you to link Ciphr with your businesses Active Directory, allowing you to automatically create network logins, email addresses and much more without duplicate data entry.
  • Ciphr Notifications – Ciphr Notification allows you to trigger email alerts based on any data within the system. From end of probation to full onboarding notifications, this functionality has been proved to save considerable time for our clients.
  • Ciphr eRecruitment – Ciphr eRecruitment and Onboarding automates many of the recruitment tasks which have traditionally required manual intervention. End to end applicant attraction and onboarding reduces admin while strengthening your employer brand and recruitment efforts.
  • Ciphr Net – Ciphr Net allows employees access to their data, held within Ciphr, from anywhere, at any time. Whether updating their contact details or booking annual leave, Ciphr Net reduces admin while improving data accuracy and employee engagement.

9) Be strong, say ‘no’

Simply saying ‘no’ to requests is sometimes enough to allow you to leave the office on time. You don’t need to say ‘no’ to everyone that asks for help, listen to them first, and then make a decision based on the workload and time requirement. When you do decline a request, give a valid reason but don’t waste time with a lengthy apology and justification for your decision, you don’t need to.

Be as polite as possible but stand your ground, this way you’ll set a precedent that people should only ask you for help for valid reasons, and not just to save them time or effort.

Ensuring that you remain happy and in control of your life, both professionally and personally, is extremely important. Having an unhealthy work/life balance not only effects you as an individual (and employee), but  also  your employer. Get your head right, go from there!

Do you want a more visual way of remembering the above? We’ve taken care of that for you with the shortened visual version below 🙂