27 April 2018

Lawrence Jones MBE taking time out in Verbier.Why do you work? Whilst many of us would say to have a better life, I wonder how many are enjoying a good life in the process.

If you’re working to be able to improve your life, it is imperative not to sacrifice your time and wellbeing along the way. All too soon, you find you’ve spent half of your years exhausting yourself in the hope of a nicer life in the future. This doesn’t make sense.

As Dolly Parton famously said: “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
We live a in a society nowadays that praises overwork. All too often I hear professionals competing over how many hours they’ve worked that week or how long they’d spent in the office that day. Why are we not competing for a balanced life? To be proud that you left the office on time, you were home on time to see the children before bedtime, or you took some time out for yourself?

“Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.” – Hillary Clinton

It was fantastic to hear two fellow entrepreneurs saying similar this week. At a Prince’s Trust event in Liverpool I joined a panel which included Matt Moulding from the Hut Group and Lee Dentith CEO of Now Healthcare Group. Each of us explained how invaluable it is to make sure we’re home at a reasonable hour to spend time with our families.

Lee said that he committed some time ago to ensure he leaves the office before 3pm. That means that he misses the traffic and is home ready to see his children before they go to bed.

This is something I strive for every day. Inevitably there are times when meetings get in the way and I don’t make it back before the two littlest ones are tucked up in bed.

It’s all about balancing your time

My motivator now is not to work to improve our lives, it’s to live a more balanced life while we’re working. Employers should take this on board too. It’s an incredible responsibility to be an employer. You can chose to enforce overtime and extraordinary working hours, or you can do your level best to help your team attain a healthy balance in their lives. I know which I’d rather.

A while ago we cut the working day at UKFast by half an hour. It effectively added a further 3.5 week’s holiday to each team in the business. The results have been undeniable, productivity and energy is significantly higher and people are happier.

So my question to you as we head into the weekend is this: can you do more to focus on finding balance?

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