By Donna Berrie, Corporate Audit Manager at Deloitte
We don’t live to work, we work to live – a motto to consider for National Work Life Week, and a reminder to employers that staff have lives outside the four walls of the office.
I’ve heard that the math behind a healthy work-life balance is made up of eight hours’ work, eight hours’ sleep and eight hours’ play. I’m sure a good amount of us are guilty of putting off life plans because we are too busy and we will get to it when work calms down. But if we begin to live by the simple work, life, play equation, maybe we’ll have more time for our personal lives and, in turn, become more focused at work.
I’ve always been keen on the outdoors and thought myself to be quite the avid cyclist, so when I heard of Deloitte’s sponsorship of the Ride Across Britain I wanted to get involved. Little did I know that the 20-mile leisurely cycle wasn’t going to cut it.
Following a secondment in New Zealand, I returned to the Edinburgh office and entered the ballot. To my surprise, in December 2016, I was picked to take part, purchasing my first ever road bike in January, when I started training with the three other Scottish Deloitte team members.
Deloitte offer agile working, which means staff can juggle demanding careers as well as personal interests, with flexibility in where, when and how they choose to work. Without agile working, I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with training, and I certainly wouldn’t have been prepared to cycle 970 miles over nine days. I would either come into work later and leave earlier, as well as taking long weekends, making sure to cycle long distances each week ahead of the challenge.
We also get corporate social responsibility days, which means we have extra days off each year to donate time to a charity supported by the firm’s One Million Futures campaign. This was another benefit that allowed me to spend time training and getting ready for the gruelling nine days I had gotten myself into.
Deloitte also sponsor Team Dimension Data (TDD), who were training for Tour of Britain in Edinburgh in September, and I was lucky enough to join four members of TDD for training. Having the chance to train alongside Mark Cavendish as my last training ride was all the motivation I needed ahead of the Ride Across Britain.
The cycle fell during a busy period for client work, and as a manager in Auditing, it’s hard to pass work across that is your responsibility. However, the partners, directors and assistant managers in my office stepped in to ensure I could take part and wouldn’t have to worry about work.
The support offered to me by the company went a long way in ensuring that I could do this. Not only did it give me the initial idea to get involved, but the entry costs of me taking part were covered and I was supported from start to finish.
When we eventually made it to the cycle, we had been training as a team for months and built up a strong team spirit – this was the highlight of the challenge for me. I couldn’t have made it the whole way if it wasn’t for the support of the whole Deloitte team. I knew that it would be tough physically, but I was shocked by how much of a mental challenge it was. Luckily the team, the support crew and the medics helped me get through the hard parts.
The cycle was a life-changing experience and something I will never forget. It’s important to have these experiences and push yourself outside of the office, it will surprise you how much it positively effects your work.
Deloitte not only recognises the importance of a healthy work-life balance, but ensures that the benefits offered to staff encourages them to enjoy their lives outside of work. Personally, I have found that the more you enjoy your personal life and relax at home, you become more productive, effective and inspired.