It puzzles me as to how much interest my work-life balance blog entries have gained. It is almost as if people are suddenly realising the importance of having such a balance in their lives – or that it actually is a possibility. It is definitely the ‘buzz word’ of the moment, especially with the DFE stressing its importance. However, as I’ve said before, it is up to YOU to make the change. No matter whether you are part of the senior management team, a middle leader or an NQT – only YOU can gain your own personal balance between home and work.
When I was a facilitator for the NCSL’s Middle Leadership Development Programme, I told the teachers on the course exactly what I told my staff at the beginning of my first year of headship. I told them to make the effort to leave at least twice a week by 4:15. Some of these teachers had a look of terror in their eyes. They told me that they would be looked down upon if they were to leave earlier than the other teachers in their school – they told me their stories (like we all have) of leaving school with a huge box of marking in their hands to make it appear as though they were going home to do hours more work. It was clear then, as it is still evident now, that these schools were making them feel pressure to stay until a certain time in the evening and to take stacks of work home.
What I told these middle leaders was that they had to break the mould. They had to demonstrate their own leadership by modeling what they expected those in their team to follow. Going against the grain, they needed to walk out the door and leave work behind them…..only two times a week! You would have thought that I had told them to do the unthinkable! But, months later, some of these teachers came back to me to tell me that making these changes had actually changed their life. Such small changes but with such a major impact.
You may not be able to wait for your leadership team to give you the ‘go ahead’ to walk out the door by a certain time. In fact, you may be faced with quite the opposite. So, it is up to you and only you. You need to decide to make the changes required. It is up to you to gain your life back outside of work…..no one else can do it.
If you are a part of the leadership team, how can you model an effective and healthy work-life balance?
What things can you change at your place of work?
I’ll repeat it again…..making a few minor adjustments to your working week can truly change your life…….you’ll enjoy your work and your ‘life’ a whole lot more…….