In a year which has seen many people blend their work and home lives, the idea of wellbeing and maintaining a ‘work-life balance’ has been discussed by almost every workplace – however, one insurance manager says the whole idea of ‘work-life balance’ has become obsolete.
Suncorp’s executive manager, general insurance sales & service Annabelle Thompson says she personally dislikes the phrase ‘work-life balance’, and that sometimes, it is important for wellbeing to let the two concepts connect. She says that ‘fluidity’ is going to become more important as more people move permanently out of their offices, and that it will be more vital than ever to keep your own wellbeing front and centre.
“This year has been a challenging one for us all, and one thing this year has really taught me is that when a crisis strikes in our lives, it can really affect us in different ways,” Thompson said.
“Some of us may weather the storm coming out stronger and more resilient, and for others, we might be just afloat surviving the event, and one more blow could really see us go down. Some of us might be really starting to sink and feel like we’re trying to bail out a leaky boat, and that the water is coming in faster than we can handle.”
“Whatever you’re facing, no single person will respond the same way,” she continued. “I really resonate with the quote “we may be facing the same storm, but we are not in the same boat,” because I think it captures the essence of wellbeing. What it looks like for you could be really different to your friends and colleagues.
“What I do know is that when we invest in wellbeing, we are more resilient, open minded, and have healthy strategies to cope with stressors.”
Thompson says that when it comes to work and personal life, it is more important to be flexible and fluid than to try to place either one into a strict, time-limited box. She says the key to wellbeing will often be having choices, and allowing yourself to respond to challenges in the way you know works best for you.
“The concept of ‘work-life balance’ suggests something being up at the sacrifice of something else being down, and it also suggests that everything has a defined border,” Thompson said.
“I don’t believe that work and play can never mix – at the right time, it promotes and supports wellbeing. This is why I reject the concept of balance and propose a new concept, which is fluidity.”
“Fluidity is more flexible, less defined, and allows you to do many things by choice,” Thompson explained.
“It allows you to bring other parts of your life together when you choose. Sometimes home and work can come together, and at other times they are completely separate.
“The key is that I feel I have choices to change in the moment, rather than compartmentalising my life to fit everything into a set period of time.”