It is certainly worth taking note that in a recent survey conducted by Microsoft, which interviewed 3,600 employees in 36 US cities, 60 percent of employees stated they were more productive and efficient when working remotely. More than half of employees surveyed said they were more productive without the distractions of the workplace like, “drive bys”, commute time and other unscheduled workplace distractions. The study stated that less than half of all companies (41 percent) support remote work policies. The question I have is – is working remotely, away from the office, the answer? Might it be a better option to create a workplace in which work can be done at work. The study is posted on the Microsoft PressPass site.
A recent study conducted in Seattle found that after receiving 10 massage sessions people suffering from anxiety had half the symptoms – the same results were true of simple relaxation such as deep breathing alone with perhaps some soft music. I’m huge fan of both methods of relaxing, what excites me about this study is that massage is not an affordable option for many people not to mention when you are facing issues around work life balance you are most likely pressed for time. This makes breathing, or relaxing alone for a few minutes, a great FREE option for people to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
In a recent article posted to the BBC’s website, reports a new Australian study, “Do Working Mothers Raise Couch Potatoes?” has netted some interesting and results. The study suggests children of mothers who work part-time are healthier than those of their full-time or stay-at-home counterparts.
The children in the 2 year study of 4,500 per-schoolers were less likely to watch TV and eat junk food and less likely to become obese. The study suggests it’s a matter of quality time over quantity of time spent with children. The magic number of hours worked seemed to be 34 a week, anything beyond that, or for stay at home moms, the kids were more likely to have less healthy habits. Researchers do not know the answer as to why anything over or under creates a different behavioral result and no doubt they will keep studying the topic.
One thing that comes to mind for me is of course the balance issue. In this case it’s not about balanced time or scheduling, but mental balance of the inner self for these mothers. And a more balance life for mom where she is feeling important or valuable in some way outside the house, might contribute to her being a better mom. If a mother is feeling a sense of purpose that is solely about her, (not her partner or children) her interaction with her children might be different and quite possible with her husband too. Not only that, how children perceive their moms might also be different, contributing to a more meaningful subconscious connection in the times they’re together.
Recently I’ve had a handful of experiences with people in or very close to a work life balance breakdown. In three cases the breakdowns manifested physically through stress induced diseases (shingles, fibromyalgia and high blood pressure) and in one case a pure mental collapse at the acknowledgement they are doing something every day that is out of alignment with their values.
It is true there is such a condition as a workaholic – even W.A. support groups and a W.A. Book of Recovery. I think for some people they are indeed workaholic’s addicted to work in a way that it’s a detrimental habit, where the costs are greater than the benefits. However, what I’m seeing in my work is something deeper, a new layer, something that is a hybrid between the behaviors of a workaholic/addict mixed with the emotional makeup of a trauma survivor.
It’s a theme I’ve been observing over the last six months as I coach people and teach my balance workshops. There is an addiction but it’s not necessarily work, it’s more an addiction to feeling important or valued or an addition to fear around letting go or surrendering control. I see compulsive behaviors replaced by survival behaviors, deviant actions substituted with self destructive choices and preoccupation replaced with feelings of being overwhelmed and helpless. Married to symptoms a trauma survivor faces like avoidance, anxiety, stress, irritability, hyper vigilance and difficulty concentrating and sleeping a new type of “workaholic” has emerged.
Like addicts, I’m seeing overdoses in a way that shows up physically through stress related illness or mentally through emotional breakdowns, depression or anxiety. It’s like a balance crash. The good news is such situations can represent a turning point, like it did for me over two years ago.
I passionately believe it doesn’t have to come to a crisis point to learn lessons of balance. It’s possible that this addiction, condition, situation, whatever it is, is entirely preventable by learning new skills that empower people to listen to mind and body and cultivate awareness between values and actions.