Frostick’s Lessons in Work-Life Balance:

There have been many lessons businesses can learn from the Covid-19 Pandemic. Surprisingly, these aren’t always financial lessons either. But, the most impactful ones, no doubt, have a knock-on effect. So, it’s little surprise that businesses are beginning to look at their staff’s work-life balance. The pandemic has shown that working from home came with many benefits for their staff. And, these in turn, were often met with improved motivation and quality of work. Moral, and ethical workplace practises that centre around staff well-being will be very much under the spotlight in the coming years. After all, we have just been through a time where there has been a heightened realisation of social injustice, and an increased awareness of the damage disproportionate work-life balances can do.

To this end, the recent story of Jonathan Frostick immediately springs to mind. Mr Frostick is a contractor for HSBC who manages a team of some 20 people. Having suffered a heart attack in mid-April, whilst recovering, he started writing a post on LinkedIn [see post]. In it, he vowed ‘to restructure his approach to work.’ He also confessed that his first thought as the heart attack struck was that ‘it wasn’t convenient’ for work. 

The post went viral, gaining in excess of 200,000 likes and over 11,000 comments. People clearly enthused over the sentiment that life ‘literally is too short.’ It’s a story that came hot on the heels of Goldman Sachs employees voicing their discontent over ‘inhumane’ working hours. The calls for an 80 hour a week (!!!) cap sent shockwaves across the industry.

What we can learn

The last year has unquestionably brought working practices under the spotlight. Indeed, most people have used lockdown as an opportunity to reassess what they want from life and work. And, experiences like working from home will have naturally fed into that. 

On the whole, bosses now recognise that their workforces can work reliably and effectively from home. And, for employees, the time recouped from commuting is a real boon. So, too are the savings from the daily cost of lunch, the routine coffees on the hour (every hour) from the shop, and the greater time to spend with the families, to exercise or to simply ‘think’ and reassess their lives.

People are now beginning to venture back into the office. And, to start with, they will probably do so with enthusiasm. But, it probably be long before they’ll be asking to see their manager and asking to have a word. 

Of course, investing in long term financial planning is always important. But as we’ve seen above, the past year has shown there can be other equally as important things to invest in. 

Investing in Work-Life Balances

If Covid has highlighted anything, it is the importance of health. So, healthcare perks might be a good option for businesses to consider in their staff offerings. Throughout lockdown, there were limited opportunities for exercising and socialising. More people than ever seemed to take up walking and cycling. They then enjoyed the torrent of health benefits that came with it (improved posture, weight loss, improved mental health). So, anything that businesses can do to actively promote healthcare is sure to be seen as a welcome feather in its cap!

The same would be true, of course, for those initiatives that promote and support positive mental health. The pandemic was extraordinarily tough on many people – and the true extent of the mental health cost is yet to be seen. 

As the lockdown restrictions end, the most important thing is that we don’t simply slip back into our old ways. It’s crucial that we don’t go back to never having enough time. It’s vital that we don’t go back to thinking a totally disproportionate work/life balance is in any way normal. So, if you’re looking at your business and wondering how to attract the best staff in the future, remember that people are now redistributing where they see value – and take time to invest in them personally. 

There are many ways your business can invest in your staff. There are also many ways you can incorporate your values into the way you, and/or your business invests. So, if you’d like to find out how, do consider looking in our business financial planning, and check out our ethical investing pages. We would be very happy to help!

Written by Ben Griffiths

Ben is a financial planner from our Whiteley office. While he specialises in pension planning, Ben is also able to generalise into all other areas of financial planning.

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