Report on Work-life Balance Talk
Report on Ruth Walker’s talk – Work-life Balance?
17th September 2008
The Business Matters Trust is very grateful to Anderson Strathern for their hospitality in providing the venue and the buffet lunch.
Iain Archibald welcomed those attending this, the first talk in a new series with the umbrella title “How do I help a client, colleague, friend or relative who…”, and introduced Ruth Walker, Director Customer Relationships in Scottish Enterprise head office in Glasgow. Iain noted that Ruth was well qualified to speak to us on this topic since she has a wide range of responsibilities in business, charity work and family life. It was with eager anticipation, therefore, that we prepared to have Ruth speak to us.
It turned out to be one of the best lunchtime talks ever.
The PowerPoint presentation which Ruth used to accompany her talk can be accessed using the icon at the foot of the page. In addition, we were fortunate to be able to record both the main talk and the discussion session which followed – these are also accessible below. What follows is a substantially abridged prose summary of Ruth’s talk.
Ruth introduced her talk with a little bit of information about herself and her recent involvement in the “Moonwalk” in Edinburgh. The route for this led past Portobello beach and Ruth asked us to imagine a businessman, already stressed out by mid-day, pausing for a short rest on the beach, only to find the proverbial “magic lantern”. He rubs the lantern, and out pops the genie and grants him a single wish. “Peace in the Middle East” is his response but, when challenged by the genie that this would be terrifically difficult, the businessman opts for achieving work-life balance instead. A few moments’ reflection on the genie’s part convinces the genie that the Middle East option is actually far easier to grant! With this amusing tale in our minds, Ruth led us through some statistics from various studies on working hours, stress and effectiveness at work and concluded that work-life balance, or integration as she preferred to call it, is a real issue.
Ruth suggested one or two resources which might help us to identify our own strengths and developmental needs so that we could start to manage ourselves and our lives a little better.
The rest of her presentation was a most interesting and relevant overview of the issues and strategies to deal with them under the headings:
- value yourself
- value your work
- manage yourself
- manage the moments
- recognise the mistakes
- recognise the seasons
It was clear from Ruth’s presentation that much of what was highlighted and suggested was drawn from her own deep well of experience. While she clearly stated that not everyone benefits in the same way from doing the same things, all of us will have found much to think about and we gained from her insights.
This was clear in the discussion time which followed when many points were raised and answered.
Iain then thanked Ruth for her time and willingness to share her experiences and wisdom with us.
For two other angles on the same subject, we would recommend you look at the report on Antonia Swinson’s talk to us in 2007, and Chris Horne’s talk earlier in 2008.
Consultant to business matters