It is January. Where did Christmas go? Hope you enjoyed all the festivities and that you are starting to adjust to being back at work. It always amazes me how long it takes us to get up to speed again – probably because we were all on holiday at the same time. It is a strange month because people are recounting stories of strange and complicated family fun, paying lip service to New Year’s resolutions and going alcohol free rather than thinking about the future. Having feasted we punish ourselves; so, in the coldest, darkest months of January and February we put on hair shirts and deprive ourselves of any enjoyment.
However, I want to think about this differently.
Over Christmas I had the cold which turned into a chest infection and all my sympathies go to the Queen. I caught it from an employee at my gym who dragged herself into work despite how she was feeling; was sent home and then returned whilst she was still suffering and infectious. Goodness knows how many of us she infected. But what a wonderful employee; she did not want to let her clients down; she did not want to put extra work on to her colleagues because of her absence; and she did not want anyone to think she was swinging the lead.
However, there is another way of looking at this situation and I want you to consider it.
Her management could be seen to be negligent. They did not consider the knock-on effect of the illness on her clients or colleagues. They let her loose on the world and in doing so the poor girl probably took a great deal longer to recover (she is still coughing); and worse she is dealing with people like me who are not blaming her but every time she sees us she remembers that our festive fun was ruined by her bug.
We have a duty of care both to our employees and to our clients
This goes so much further than instructing people to stay at home when they are not fit to work. It covers helping them with the whole work/life balance conundrum. To give of their best at work we need them to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. This means encouraging them to do the right things.
Whatever we say we also model what we mean by what we do. If we drag ourselves into work when we are unfit people around us will do the same. Be honest, how often have you had to go back to work you did when not at your best because it was rubbish, sloppy and proves that we make poor decisions when we are sick or dog tired or both.
Those new year’s resolutions about which I am so scathing are good in one way. They indicate that we know we are not living and working in a healthy way and we want change. However, the answer is not to deprive ourselves of food or buy an expensive gym membership we use only for four weeks.
Realising that we are not living in a sensible way and short-changing ourselves, our families and friends and our clients is a massively important epiphany. Realising that we have a duty of care to ourselves and those around us could be the most important thought you have this year. Finding a new way of doing things which allows us to operate at full strength most of the time and modelling that for those we influence especially our children and our colleagues could be a gift not just to your health but also your work results.
So, think about:
- Sleeping long enough to feel refreshed (could be 7 or 8 hours). Do not under estimate sleep if you do not rest none of your systems will work properly be it your digestive tract or your brain.
- Eating in a balanced way – something of everything but everything in moderation. Abstinence just sets us up to fail.
- Not drinking alcohol every day or in vast amounts.
- Exercise your body to enjoy what it does for you.
- Organising your work life to be productive by cultivating good work habits (more about that next month)
- Organising your life into work, rest and play. Play and relaxation being as important to having a healthy brain as exercise is to a healthy body.
- Managing other people against these principles too. Developing a climate in which people look after themselves and then can deliver their best work.
None of this is original. But think about your duty of care both to those around you and yourself. Body, mind and spirt need to be nurtured and treated well to perform at maximum capacity. In 2017 why not think about how you can make your personal assets appreciate rather than using them poorly so they depreciate?
If this has been interesting, please share it. If you are thinking of working with a mentor, please chat with me about what you are hoping to achieve. I might be the right person for you or I can help you find someone who is. In the meantime, life is good; let’s live it to the full and be the best we can be.