How’s your balance? Does life, or work, get in the way? Think about it – the more people work, the less time they have to spend on other activities, such as personal care or leisure. The amount and quality of leisure time is important for one’s overall well-being, and can contribute to considerable physical and mental health benefits. Trust me – work/life balance is within your reach; the more you work, the more you lose. When one of my colleagues adds more hours or another employer in order to make ends meet, I cringe. It may be tempting to rack up more hours at work and sometimes overtime is required. But, if you’re spending the bulk of your time working, something must take a hit. Read more about Work/Life Balance in B is for Balance, 2nd edition. It is time to reclaim control!
Archives for December 2014
As the US Advisor to the Kremlin Hospital in Moscow, officially known as The Government Medical Center of the President of the Russian Federation or CCH, I had access to the facility that few Americans had been granted (except of course for Bill Clinton and Al Gore). When I entered the 10 corpus (building) complex, I was always warmly welcomed by the security guards. After all, I ‘belonged.’ One year, my sister and brother-in-law (who had worked with me on photo shoots throughout the NIS/CEE countries), arrived at the CCH campus in a private car. As they approached the gate, they did not have the designated clearance and passes. My sister promptly said, “We’re with SHArone…” The gate opened and they were waved on! It pays to be with SHArone!
Family-friendly working and work/life balance refer to working arrangements that help us achieve a better balance between work and family life. These may include maternity and paternity leave, on-site child care, flextime, job sharing, working from home, and other creative solutions. They all add value to the work environment, and they contribute to workplace balance. We all have responsibilities, whether caring for children or elderly parents, or pursuing personal interests, activities, or hobbies. Some of us are in the “sandwich generation,” meaning that we’re juggling the challenge of school-age children and aging parents or family members. Workers must be equipped to resolve personal and workplace issues, juggle conflicting responsibilities, and balance personal and workplace roles. At the same time, today’s employers are constantly seeking ways to assist their workers in managing their job responsibilities and their personal responsibilities and needs. Strategies for work/life balance help create supportive, healthy work environments; strengthen employee commitment and loyalty; and result in more productive workplaces and improved customer satisfaction. So, what is this thing called balance? It is something that we need in our lives in order to survive and thrive! It is what makes us whole and will empower us to be more, do more, and create more.
“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” Betty Bender
As Coordinator for health projects in the former Soviet Union, I had the privilege of being in Minsk, Belarus with Hillary Clinton for a Project Hope presentation. I had traveled the night before from Moscow, where I was hosting another delegation from New York and Chicago. The night train from Moscow to Minsk was a challenge. I was the only English-speaker. I recall my friend, Yuri, telling me, “If you think that the lady looks bad now – wait until you see her in the morning.” The ‘lady’ was the dejourniah or train matron, and yes, she looked pretty bad. I purchased a sheet and a towel, for which I paid top dollar since I was American. I also paid for both bunks in my cabin so that I would not be disturbed, but during the night, there was a loud banging at the door. The dejourniah burst in with another passenger and shouted to me in Russian that the someone would be joining me. As soon as the newly arrived passenger lit her first cigarette, I knew that it would be a long night. Fortunately, she needed to use the facilities, and when she left the cabin, I locked her out. Arriving in Minsk, I was exhausted, and yes, the dejourniah looked pretty bad. I arrived at the hospital in time to prepare for the next day’s activities. Along with several US and Belarusian colleagues, we painted the walls of the reception area with the only paint that we could find – bright orange, oil-based paint. Of course, it did not dry in time for the following day’s proceedings, and in addition to being ‘tacky’ to touch, the odor was horrific. And along came Mrs. Clinton, in a beautiful mink coat. She was gracious, brilliant, charming, and she leaned against the wall. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination!