There is a lot of talk out there about work-life balance – which often comes down to the impossible juggling act of trying to maintain your work productivity while being a useful and engaged partner and parent. In the modern globalised reality, both work and home life are often intertwined with ‘always-on’ emails and calls. I can’t remember the last time I bothered to put an ‘out of office’ notice on my emails and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.
Let’s face it, life outside work can be just as complex and challenging as our time at work, but I couldn’t imagine it in any other way and it’s certainly not likely to change any time soon!
The EG Hobby Program was devised recognising this. It was created to help us make time to switch off and take time out to learn something new. Each team member chooses to take up a different hobby each year, whether it be cultural or sporting in nature. We commit to undertake a course in that hobby for at least 12 hours. Learning how to swing a golf club, play a guitar, scuba dive or even blow glass – what a great way to de-stress and expand your life experiences.
Expanding our curiosity and extending our capabilities and interests also may well benefit EG – making us as people more interesting, interested and hopefully less likely to burn out.
Committing to take a new hobby with work colleagues or family is also actively encouraged, building our connectedness and supporting better mental health. Expanding our curiosity and extending our capabilities and interests also may well benefit EG – making us as people more interesting, interested and hopefully less likely to burn out. It certainly shows potential recruits that we care about their development as people rather than just as workers.
To top it all off, upon completion, team members who have participated in the hobby program are given an extra two weeks annual leave. Not a bad incentive for learning something new! Certainly, my family has never baulked at me taking time out for a new hobby as they know that I can then take more time off during the holiday periods.
Does it all sound too good to be true? You might be wondering, where’s the con? Or at least, where are the cons to balance out all the pros? Perhaps, financially? The cost is not material and the additional holiday is in part offset by less absenteeism. No, for me the real con has been entirely personal and, frankly, my own fault. I still regret that terrible decision to choose Martial Arts for my hobby one year, then spend Wednesday evenings month after month getting punched on the nose! I’m now a lot more careful in hobby selection!
For EG, it’s all pro’s too. A group who challenges themselves and are willing to get out of their comfort zone are more creative and more adventurous in their work. That can only be a positive for the business. What have you always said you would do but never made time for? Putting this first is not just a personal pursuit but a professional one as well.