“There is no such thing as work-life balance”
Solutions-based Therapist Gin Lalli sat down with ICAS President Indy Singh Hothi CA to discuss wellness at work, how leaders can support their employees and what you need to lead a happy life.
It’s all called life
Solutions-based Therapist Gin Lalli started the discussion with a potentially controversial statement: “There is no such thing as work-life balance.”
Watch the video or read on to learn more.
She went on to clarify what she meant, suggesting that work and life are both living, and that work is an intrinsic part of life.
“It’s all called life, and work is a very important part of that.”
Gin explained that this inability to separate life from work was especially true for people, including accountants, who have particularly vocational careers.
“We need stress”
Gin talked about her concept of a ‘stress bucket’ that holds the day-to-day stresses a person may be facing. She said it is unrealistic to expect this bucket to be constantly empty and that stress is an integral part of many jobs, including accountancy.
For example, working toward a target or deadline can provide the necessary ‘stress’ to motivate an individual to get the job done, done well and on time. The key point she suggested, is to take the pressure of work as a challenge and teach people about the good and bad aspects of stress and how to manage both.
Organisations have a responsibility
“I want to reassure everyone that mental health isn’t this thing to be scared of. It’s about having good inner wellbeing…do you feel that you are balancing your life internally as well physically? Physical health is something we can see, it’s very obvious, but mental health is the tenacity of our human spirit inside.”
Linking this concept to mental wellbeing, Gin explained that organisations are beginning to realise that they have a responsibility to look after the mental health of their staff to ensure they are able to perform at their best.
“A lot of workplaces are doing brilliant things around [mental wellbeing],” said Gin.
“They are trying to create a boundary by saying, ‘Because we want you to be the best you can be at work; we need to ensure that you are being the best you can be with your family as well’”.
Communication is key
As more businesses are looking for speakers to come in and run sessions for their staff around the topics of stress and anxiety, Gin was clear in stating that this should not be viewed as a box that needs to be ticked with no real change occurring because of it.
“Communication is key,” she said.
“This is where you want line managers and leaders communicating that upwards to say, ‘Something is going on here at base level’”.
In terms of personal mental development, Gin urged attendees to look into what facilities their employers provide to support them during difficult times.
The keys to happiness
Moving on to what people can do themselves to improve their wellbeing, Gin had two main pieces of advice. Number one was to regularly unplug from the digital world, be it from work emails, social media or scrolling for news. Her second piece of advice was to work out what your purpose is, in life and work, and through that to identify your keys for happiness.
She finished by sharing the three requirements for happiness, as suggested by the German philosopher Kant: having something to do, having someone to love and having something to hope for.