ACHIEVING WORK/LIFE BALANCE
By Justin Power, SDA Assistant Secretary
One of the most common complaints I hear from members is that they struggle to achieve a good work-life balance.
This is not surprising, as most people now carry a mobile phone with them everywhere – it’s just so easy to give another staff member a ‘quick call’ on their day off to ask them a question, get them to complete a task remotely or even to come into work with little notice.
This is not okay! You deserve your time away from work to rest and relax. Being constantly interrupted is bad for your mental health. If this is a common occurrence for you, it may be time to set some boundaries.
These boundaries can vary depending on your position, but some ways to address this could be:
- Remind your manager that all time worked should be paid and this includes work you’re asked to do while you’re not ‘at work’. Compensation could include being paid overtime, or being allowed to take TOIL (paid time off in lieu). This is likely to be a deterrent against receiving unnecessary calls, and when you do choose to work, you are compensated for the time.
- Discuss with your work mates under what circumstances you would be happy to take an urgent phone call, and give examples of scenarios which may be able to wait until you’re at work again. If you’re a supervisor or manager, you may be able to provide more training to allow staff to solve issues on their own on your days off.
- In the retail, fast food and warehousing industries it’s not uncommon to be called in to work for an extra shift at short notice. Many are happy for the opportunity to earn some extra money, but remember, it’s okay to say ‘no’ – you don’t need an excuse. You should also keep your availability up to date so your employer knows when you may be happy to work an extra shift and when you’re completely unavailable.
- Communicate with your colleagues to let them know about any notable changes, what you have completed and what needs to be done still. A quick note or five minute chat at the end of the day could make the difference between a hectic and peaceful day off.
- Leave the phone at home! Unless your position requires you to be always contactable, and compensates you for this – you can leave the phone at home or just not answer the call. You cannot be punished for not answering a phone call on your day off.
SDA’s policy on unpaid work
Our policy is very simple – DON’T DO IT. All work must be paid for whether it is in the workplace or remotely, including online training.
The SDA is here to help. One of the advantages of being an SDA member is an individual member can always ask for reinforcements. SDA Shop Stewards, Information Officers and Organisers are here to assist you with any issues, big or small.