PwC Scotland staff share our work/life balance tips

| Oct 03, 2016

This week is National Work/Life Week, aimed at highlighting how people can achieve the best work/life balance possible. A number of PwC Scotland staff have shared some of their advice and tips for helping to achieve this.

"Family first"

Colin Slater, partner in cyber security said:

"I have a rule where if I don't see my young daughter in the morning I make a point of seeing her for dinner or at the very least bath and bedtime. Sometimes it can't quite work but I always organise my diary to at least be there one end of the day as much as possible.

"Facetime also helps when I am away for a few days, we do a digital Dad story at bedtime which always goes down well or a Facebook Live feed usually from her favourite spot which is curiously Piccadilly Circus - I've no idea why, so sometimes you will see me chatting to my phone there at 6:30pm.

"For me it's very simple, family first. Work can be overwhelming but there is nothing I do which can't wait a bit and when I do put time aside I make sure I am absolutely focused on it and not half doing it."

"It's not about the hours"

Jon Shelley, partner in corporate finance said:

"I sail competitively. There are so many variables to think about (wind, waves, tide, speed, direction, sail trim and so on) it's impossible not to be in the moment and think of anything else whilst on the water. I find I come in physically tired but mentally refreshed. 

"Best piece of advice I ever got was that it's not about the hours it's about the impact."

"Walking the dog helps me think"

Douglas Shand, director and head of innovation at PwC in Scotland:

"I take time to walk out dog as often as I can. This time is ideal for unwinding and finding some time to think. A brisk walk around the stunning Dean Gardens helps me reconnect with nature and do it right on my doorstep.

"The great thing is that I never have to convince or bribe the dog to go for a walk. She is always willing and enthusiastic and enjoys every minute of our walks." 

"Making cakes makes you focus totally on the cake, it needs 100% concentration"

Julie McKee, PA, said:

"I make cakes in the evenings and weekends. It takes an incredible amount of attention and focus to do them properly, so that takes all thoughts of work away and I find it relaxes me and helps me unwind.  I especially enjoy making sugar flowers and more recently, figures.  My children like to help, which makes it an activity for all of us, although they mostly just eat the leftover buttercream/fondant.

"By putting the effort into the cakes it means that I'm mentally clear and sharp for when I return to the office. It's important to have something non-work related that you can put your energies into."

"Avoid checking email out of hours"

Lizzie Luckman, CMD said:

"For me it's really important that I am able to switch off at evenings, weekends or holidays and therefore checking email (unless there is an imminent proposal deadline) is something I really try and avoid.

"I do this by having a work and a personal phone, and turning the former off. Funnily enough, the world has yet to end as a consequence of me doing this (I know a lot of people who worry that it might) and as a result I am refreshed and focused during the working day, because I have properly switched off in the meantime."

"Structure, use digital tools and remember, it's about family"

Craig McGill, Communications said:

"Aside from the flexibility of options like working from home when required, I try to structure my day and use digital tools to make sure I have a good work/life balance. Each day starts and ends with a review of what had to be accomplished. I also - thanks to a tip from my friend Stewart Argo - use train and travel time for CPD and relevant material reading.

"Aside from that, I ensure colleagues know that out of hours it's better to email me and only call in emergencies. These little things - and using tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck for scheduling online engagement, having my mobile handy for doing work in downtime - ensure I'm home most mornings for breakfast with my children and at least five nights a week for dinner. When I'm away from home I'll use Google Hangouts, Facebook or Facetime to check in if possible.

"It's about family. My children didn't ask to have me as a parent. I choose to work at PwC, so the responsibility is on me to make them both work."


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