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Most of us who work have multiple and equally important demands on our lives.

We have work commitments that always involve more than forty hours’ effort, planned and unplanned travel plus we often attend 4am solo brainstorming sessions. Then there are families and friends, aging relatives and of course our own leisure interests – all of which need our attention.

An ongoing issue within businesses is, of course, the accumulation of accrued leave. Companies don’t like that ever-increasing liability sitting in their balance sheet and at home satisfaction is hardly likely to increase when life is all about work.
Many companies are addressing this issue because they know that both the cost to their business and to their employees’ mental health is becoming unacceptable. Capping leave accumulation is common now as employment parameters and working conditions become more user-friendly.

My opinion is that it ’s best for everyone in our lives when we take all our leave entitlement every year. I envisage holidays that are planned in advance, friends lined up to play with, dashes to live concerts which turn into four day getaways and being that beloved parent who can take my turn at being school camp parent.
Burnout, stress, tired and grumpy workmates are all too real, especially as we lead up to Christmas. It’s not healthy and I for one am never as productive when I am like this.

I have made the decision to become whole of life forward planner so I can fit in everything that a soon to be balanced life offers. I hope that when my inevitable time to rest and reflect comes, I will be happy that I have maintained great friendships, visited all the places I dream about, spent time with my children as they walk through their lives and am not that person who has left a legacy of being the grumpy, stressed out person in the corner office. Even more radically, I am going to spend time with my phone turned off. A friend of mine assures me that having his phone safely locked away in his wife’s bag when they are on holiday has not only become bearable but that he now loves it. He forgets he is a businessman as he becomes a happy holidaymaker just like everyone else on the beach.

My Christmas wish is that we are all able to find a way to re-balance our lives over Christmas and throughout next year.
Work-life balance is more than an HR phrase these days – it’s catching on, even for those of us over thirty.

Article featured in Agribusiness Magazine November/December 2018

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