The key pillars of work-life wisdom

Sharon Whale
Temple Of Apollo
Seven actual pillars (Source: Getty)

Just step away from your emails. Grab some me-time. Don’t look at anything work-related past 6pm.

There are endless work-life balance tips around the web, in books, and littered across the office – but most of them are impractical in today’s always-on working world.

It’s not as easy as quoting a Nordic word for “just enough” and switching off. In a service-driven sector, you have to put your clients first as well as yourself.

It’s an issue that you can address head-on, but your goals need to be manageable and achievable.

Read more: Forget the work-life balance, we need to find the right "blend"

From our experience at the coalface, delivering creative assets to clients through our on-site agency model, here are the seven pillars you need to create better work-life balance for you and your staff.

A new email etiquette

The average worker checks their email once every 103 seconds. Admittedly, that’s probably the same length of time we go before trawling through Facebook or Twitter, but still, 103 seconds. You can’t even brew a cup of tea in that time.

Try checking in bulk, five times a day, or more if you need to. Don’t check on your lunch break. Dissect your email-checking into chunks, so you can concentrate on the task at hand rather than constantly wading through newsletters and waiting for work that you don’t actually have capacity to complete.

Alternatively, try ticking three things off your to-do list before diving back into your inbox. If setting a time limit on emails doesn’t work for you, then this is a blessing. You’re still being productive, and although there’s no time constraint, ticking things off your list can work just as well.

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Step away from the computer (Source: Getty)

Meeting of minds

Only invite those with specific actions to meetings. It’s not a spectator sport, and over 30 per cent of us don’t even find meetings productive. Trim the excess and only invite those who need to be there – people’s time could be spent much better elsewhere.

Further to that, stop booking meetings in hour or half hour slots. Think whether 20 or 45 minutes would instead suffice for a 30 minute or hour meeting. If so, you can give people those extra minutes back at the end so they can check on emails or calls.


Stop checking emails before bed and don’t answer when you’re on leave. You’re entitled to a holiday. If it’s urgent and people can’t survive without you, then they have your number.

Consider your commute

We spend an average of 98 minutes commuting each day. That’s over an hour and a half. Every. Single. Day.

Maybe part of the job can be done at home? It doesn’t work for every job role and it doesn’t suit everyone, but offering flexibility on a case by case basis will massively benefit the people who really, genuinely need it.

When people get to work from home, they’re not stressing about not being at home, they get more work done, and your company’s more productive as a result. Everyone’s a winner.

Read more: Why the work-life balance is redundant


Use the right comms at the right time. Urgent emails are all too frequently buried, skimmed over and just missed in the hustle and bustle of life. So pick up the phone when it’s urgent.

Likewise, maybe use WhatsApp for general office chat.

These aren’t the definitive answers, not by a long shot. They won’t erase stress completely, or instantly transform your business into the most efficient, well-oiled machine in existence.

But by implementing these easily measurable, easily practiced methods and habits, you can quickly ascertain whether they will benefit you and your employees.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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