by Cornelia Beier “Healthiness Gipsy” – 17.06.2019
Hello everyone – this is the start of a new series and I would be very happy about feedback and comments.
I want to apologize for translation errors, but I also wanted to make the text available to my English-speaking followers.
In our western world, work is an essential element of our personal destiny and self-realization. Successful work is associated with status, financial independence and affirmation. But more and more people do not manage to lead a life in balance. The digitalization and the speed of our everyday life leads more and more to the overtaxing of individuals and this can lead to self-doubt, depression and the often laughed at burnout.
A few years ago I was also struggling with my work-life-balance. Due to time differences I answered mails in the middle of the night and put myself under extreme pressure to “live up to” any expectations in my immediate environment. Months later I noticed how much this “offset” way of working had dragged my power.
Nowadays, many management consultants of the “old school” are confronted with the new value discussions among the junior staff: The desire for more free time is increasing and the idea of being available 24/7 for customers and bosses is no longer a desirable goal.
According to KPMG, the desire for more free time is particularly high among younger people between the ages of 30 and 39. In the past, it was perfectly normal for young fathers to “let off steam” in their jobs and for mothers to be solely responsible for the upbringing and maintenance of the small business called “family”. But these value systems have changed completely.
In addition, we are increasingly seeking fulfillment through creative projects and a holistic, healthy lifestyle, as we are increasingly saturated with products and consumer goods. The majority of our population no longer knows the existential fears and material possessions and the definition of status symbols are decreasing.
But how can we realize the desire for more work-life balance and integrating a holistic and healthier lifestyle without being condemned?
An essential point is the rethinking of the older generations. These groups have acted in a different value system over the last 30 years. We should develop a new courage to move away from old belief systems. Who does not know these discussions and boasts about the “hard work”.
“I’m going on holiday now, but of course I’m always available – I’m just changing my location.”
“I’m so overwhelmed, I’m in the office until night – but there’s no other way!
“My family has already filed a missing persons report!”
“Friends, concerts, sports – I don’t have time for things like that!”
This list could be continued indefinitely and everyone of us knows these examples. On the one hand it make us smile, on the other hand it creates an enormous pressure for “dependent” people in the direct environment.
More than 20 years ago I already had discussions with senior consultants in my PR agency which, of course, set up meetings on the evening after returning from a business trip to discuss the “important” details of the client discussions. Regardless of the family situations, especially with mothers. We need to change the perception when we want to establish a healthy work style .
It is not sufficient to implement company guidelines that employees are allowed working from home, when we comment this work style in a derogatory way towards colleagues on the other hand.
We need courageous, life-affirming bosses and a new form of leadership that values health, relationships with other people and a happy partnership or family life etc.. Beside this we need flexible time models and a new awareness of the meaning of fulfillment. The active establishment of topics such as health, fitness, sustainability, family etc. in the “Corporate Health Culture” is a one of the main topics in the necessary change process.
In the past, a health-promoting and family-friendly environment was usually designed by people in companies who were not affected or who came from another generation. This leads to a rather loveless and above all passionless offer of opportunities for the employees.
The recently published UNICEF study shows, among other things, that Sweden is far ahead in the area of childcare services and that a new culture of equality has led to more humane and family-friendly systems in companies as well.
If you talk to people who have already lived in Sweden or Scandinavia, this is always underlined with a lot of enthusiasm. In Scandinavia people live happier and with a satisfying work-life balance. For the Scandinavian it is already normal not only to work successfully, but also to live successfully.
Especially in German-speaking countries the working environments of google or Twitter are rather ridiculed and condemned as “kindergarten”. There, stairs were partly replaced by slides and yoga and pilates are offered for reducing stress. Table tennis courts and creative rooms for brainstorming sessions are established to motivate the team. But in the end the success of such measures speaks a different language!
I am a person who never develops pioneering ideas at my desk. I need my morning walk in nature, cleaning up or driving to an appointment while listening to an inspiring audiobook or a good podcast – these kind of inspirational activities are my personal set-ups for a creative processes.
We should involve the young generation better in these change processes and motivate them positively to communicate their needs in such a way that we come to a new “Corporate Health” culture that leads to a balanced life between job and family!