A colleague said the other day "all women dread Christmas" - not really in the festive spirit, but she's got a point. The balancing acts required to commute, meet dead-lines before the festivities, fit in extra trips to school events, shop manically for presents, do those endless cards, decorate the house, stock up on food and drink, and oh yes …. those stockings! Not to mention ensuring that all the generations and in-laws are satisfied with the diary arrangements for Christmas and New Year. This pressure quite often leads to illness and exhaustion over the holidays - what a waste.
With that in mind, is it any easier for the self-employed or those working part-time from home? A fascinating report just published describes the social, economic and environmental consequences of home-working across Europe, from the giants BT and BAA to a tiny internet company employing just 10 staff. For the companies, the key economic benefits are improved staff performance, reduced staff turnover and absenteeism, and major cost savings due to reduction in space requirements, all resulting in greater productivity.
Since children go to school in the UK for just 165 days (private education), 190 days (state system), that leaves 175 - 200 non-school days for parents (OK, not just mothers) to juggle family life and work… and the build up to Christmas. The survey showed big pluses for home-workers: the employees found they were more in control of the way they worked and managed their family life. They saved on average 5 hours and 50 miles per week by not commuting and the vast majority confirmed - as I see with many self-employed clients - they had more time available for non-work activities.
Another impressive finding of the European report is that over half of those surveyed felt healthier as a result of working from home. We can't all do that, but our health, particularly during winter months and at this hectic time of year is of vital importance. With that in mind, CLE Consulting & Training has teamed up with Corazon Health, a company specialising in private and corporate medical screening services delivered at home or in the work place.
Stress and illness are intrinsically linked and prevention is better than cure, so enjoy the festivities as much as possible, and consider your needs for the New Year.
We would like to thank you for your practical advice and sensitive support which was much needed and hugely appreciated by both of us. Thank goodness we found you and managed as civilised a separation as possible we are so grateful, both for ourselves and for our children.