The key to achieving a work/life balance

The work/life balance is getting worse for Australians, with the average full-time worker doing six hours of unpaid overtime each week.

Unfortunately, many workplaces have created – and cultivated – a clock-watching culture where everyone races to be the first in the office and the last to leave.

This might come as a surprise to you, but at the Institute of Careers our message is simple; don’t be afraid to arrive on time and leave on time.

A lot of people who put in the extra hours also waste a lot of time chatting at their desk so the key to being a productive, 9-5 kind of worker is to be organised and have an effective time management process in place.

By all means, if you’re working on a major project and need a few extra hours to get the job done, so be it. But don’t get into the pattern of thinking that you need to get in early and stay back late to be seen as a diligent or committed employee.

In fact, if you are having to constantly stay back late to get through your workload, the company you’re working for is probably under-resourced. Providing you’re not wasting time, you may have a strong case to put forward for more resources so you’re not chained to your desk when you could be at home with your family.

Although many organisations have all but done away with clock-in clock-out cards, we think they should be used more frequently because the majority of people are working too many hours during the day and not getting recognition for it. The clock-in clock-out model was seen to discourage a work/life balance but by clocking in just before 9am and leaving eight hours later, it actually shows your employer that you are running a tight ship and using your time effectively to get your work done.

Learoy Training

R-rated workplace culture thrives at Learoy

Ever heard of an “R-rated” workplace where the team come and go as they please, take it in turns to bring in fresh juices and stop work for 15 minutes every morning to “hang out” and connect?

If the answer’s no, then you haven’t heard of Learoy.

Aside from delivering an innovative approach to education and training, the Melbourne-based start-up has a fresh attitude to cultivating culture in the workplace.

“Culture is number one for us – it’s the thing that creates business success so we engineered the culture before we even thought about the business,” Ben Roulston, a Founding Partner of Learoy, says.

“We looked at what we wanted the culture of Learoy to be and came up with an A-Z of cultural standards for each letter,” he says.

“The letter ‘J’, for example, stands for juice so someone in the office makes a different juice for the team every day.

“Another thing we don’t do is mandate start and finish times – people have kids and don’t want to work 9-5, they want to put in the work to succeed but on their own terms.

“It’s these little things that create spark in the workplace.”

Sitting in a quiet, chill-out space within the Lifestyle Working building on Collins St where the 22-week-old Learoy company is based, Mr Roulston speaks with infectious energy about the significance of workplace culture.

“It’s about putting people back into the heart of the business and tapping into their motivators.

“Process and systems are great but if you haven’t got the people engaged and feeling like they’re working to a higher purpose, it’s not going to work.

“Every single person in our workplace is here because they share Learoy’s vision – to transform people’s lives through education. So if you can find people who want to help you achieve that goal then the business will thrive.”

Rather than focussing on individual weaknesses, Mr Roulston says Learoy has introduced a “feed-forward” policy as opposed to feedback, thereby encouraging employees to focus on their successes.

“When you bring highly competent people into the workplace there’s an expectation that they have to be great but they don’t, they just have to be themselves.

“The challenge for the guys is to have trust in themselves and what they do.”

Learoy, which launched in late 2014, develops innovative content for Diploma of Management and Diploma of Business courses.

Instead of creating stock standard, outdated curriculums, the company aims to take students on a journey and change the way they think.

“We actually hired a scientist to research trends in business, which we documented as learning angles and now our design team has created innovative learning content.

“We don’t just feed content into a student’s mind – we focus on core competencies, such as what skills you need to be a leader, and capture that through practical exercises, engaging workshops and in impressive e-learning system.

“Learoy is basically a personal trainer for your mind.”