Saturday, July 25, 2009

About stress and work life balance

This spring was extremely stressful for me. Mainly because of things not related to my work - but my high stress level naturally effected also my contribution at the office. I had difficulties to sleep, which led to poor concentration resulting to delays and forgetting things. I was even too tired to ride my bicycle. And that is alarming, since riding bicycle is my main method of relaxation. I went to see a doctor who told me to “Relax!” and offered sleeping pills, which I refused to take. Instead I slowed down and my stress level came down. At the same time many things started to get solved and my stress was gone.

I did some thinking about stress and work life balance and decided to blog about it now on the first day of my summer holiday. I actually blogged about the same topic last year. I hope I have learned something and don’t need to blog about stress again next year.

Let’s start with finding your stress level right now by completing a simple online test provided by Canadian Mental Health Association. They also provide resources for Coping with Stress.

Many of the blogs I follow regularly have had posts related to stress. John Spence wrote about How to have Much Less Stress and Much More Happiness, Matt May wrote about the power of The Quiet Mind in producing Eureka! type breakthrough insights. Zen Habits has several posts about stress – see for example 20 Ways to Eliminate Stress From Your Life, or type stress on their search box.

But remember: dealing with stress starts with you - nobody else can stop you form pushing too much but you.

To save time (and reduce stress), I will use material from our Corporate Responsibility Report to describe how we deal with Work life balance in the office. And I dare to say I provide these possibilities for my team and our company provides them for me.

Work Life Balance

Work-life balance means different things in different cultures. Our approach to the issue is designed to meet the needs of our employees around the world. Working patterns, activities and benefits vary by country according to local legislation, culture and common practices but can include:
  • Flexible working hours
  • Healthcare services and programs
  • Employee assistance program
  • Generous time-off plans
  • Telecommuting
  • Fitness facilities and support for sporting activities
  • Social and cultural activities
  • Taking advantage of local rules to provide access to tax efficient retirement saving, child care, computers, charitable giving
Our managers have a key role in supporting and enabling our employees to achieve both professional and personal goals. Being a flexible employer benefits both staff and the company. Moreover, our leadership development programs help to focus our managers in promoting innovative and flexible solutions for job satisfaction, job performance and overall quality of life.

But again, at the end it is up to you as an individual to take advantage of the possibilities provided.

Tomorrow I will fly to Finland for summer holidays with my family and will not update this blog until late August. Meanwhile you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

Please enjoy the summer and relax with your family and friends!

If you need something to read, check out Slowness by Milan Kundera, one of my favorite novelist. According to him There is a secret bond between slowness and memory, between speed and forgetting.


Oscar - freestyle mind said...

It helps to take one or more days off during the year without computer or television, just you and the nature. Great article. Stumbled!

Waugust said...

As you said Samuli, the good news is, most stress is self-imposed, suggesting that if we put it on ourselves, we can also take it off. The bad news is, that just won't happen on its own.

I find that forcing myself to think through whatever I believe to be my biggest problems, helps to reduce both the number of them as well as their severity. Many just don't stand up to intense scrutiny.

Oh yeah, that and a glass of good wine.

Anonymous said...

After 9 days relaxing beach and small old town holiday with my and my sister's family in Nettuno, Italy and I finally managed to get rid of the stress. I believe the stress was initially caused by the early time schedules set not enough by me or my family, but by our dear relatives. Looking fw to come back next summer to Nettuno, Sabaudia and other coastal towns close to Rome.

Samuli, I wish your family a good holiday in Finland.