The Workplace: Part 1

"You only live once", and "There's more to life than work". These phrases we hear frequently, yet on average we spend 90,000 hours at work during our lifetime...and many more hours thinking about work, whilst not actually working! Our work and our personal lives have merged. In an era of smart phones, tablets and being able to access our emails anywhere and at any-time, means we rarely ever 'switch off'. There is no denying the fact that whether we like it or not, work is a central part of our lives.

But are businesses doing enough to help people manage a work-life balance, are they looking after their people, and are they understanding the need to modernise the workplace to encourage a place of creativity and inspiration? So what makes us happy at work? Arguably, the environment we go to work in is equally as important as the work we do. Does the office have natural light? Is it clean and bright, or is it dark, cluttered and uninspiring? Ok, it’s just an office, I hear you say! And you’re right- it is just 4 walls and a desk to do what you’re paid to do! But you don't have to be an expert in the art of Feng-Shui to recognise that what will help people feel motivated is simply a pleasant place to work!

But modernising the workplace goes much deeper than just the working environment.

Are companies looking after their people by offering flexi-time, sufficient annual leave and discretionary leave, working from home days? Do management trust that people are not taking advantage of the company, but are indeed working with the best interest of the company in mind? What are you doing in your workplace to balance out work and life?

People are working longer hours, taking shorter breaks and dealing with immense pressure… all of which can be unhealthy, and work will suffer as a result. Surely our health and well-being is too important not to take all of this and much more into consideration. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that companies who look after their people better will be rewarded by employing and retaining the very best talent. And this in turn will accelerate companies away from their competition. And isn’t this what it’s all about?!

So perhaps companies need support in this? So many workplaces need to see change, to ensure that the people they recruit, grow with them and stay with them. Keeping employees happy and considering what that word, “happy”, means to their people - is paramount to a mutual success and desire to create an inspirational and exciting workplace.

So next time you have moan about the place you work, consider what contribution you are making to inspire your colleagues, to improve the working environment, and to help yourself and your peers look forward to coming in to work....

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