Last month, we looked at work-life balance in terms of rewards and challenges at work. This month, we’ll look at some of the ways you can make the “life” part of work-life balance easier to manage.
One challenge with advice about work-life balance is that it often assumes life outside of work is “normal.” That is, it assumes that you and your loved ones have reasonably good health and that there are no draws on your time that can’t be reassessed and refused. In reality, about 28% of the Canadian population aged 15 and older provides care to family members or friends with long-term illnesses or disabilities. Canada’s debt ratio continues to climb along with, we might assume, the time people spend concerned about their debt. Many employees have chronic health conditions that take time to manage. And life changes – even positive ones – can take time and energy to navigate.
It’s hard to focus on your career when you’re worried about loved ones, yourself, and change. That’s why one of our favourite resources in Employee Career Services is McMaster’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). Employees we work with are often shocked by the range of services the EFAP offers, beyond counseling. They help McMaster employees find child care and support for unique needs and do the same with elder care. They offer financial and legal planning, individual coaching by nutritionists, and online support for those who prefer to access courses. They recognize the unique challenges that shiftwork presents, and offer related support.
If there is a challenge you are facing that interferes with your work-life balance, look into whether the EFAP can help. There are no medals for those who face challenges alone, and there may well be better work-life balance awaiting you.