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Lessons in Work Life Balance from Mr. Frostick

You may have come across the recent story of Jonathan Frostick.

Mr Frostick is a contractor, managing a team of 20 people for HSBC. In the middle of April he sadly suffered a heart attack. Starting his recovery in hospital he wrote a post on LinkedIn, vowing ‘to restructure his approach to work’ and confessing that his first thought as the heart attack struck was that ‘it wasn’t convenient: I had a meeting with my manager tomorrow.’

Mr Frostick’s post went viral, gaining more than 200,000 likes and over 11,000 comments – as he said that life ‘literally is too short.’ This story came hot on the heels of young bankers at Goldman Sachs complaining about their ‘inhumane’ working hours – and calling for an 80 hour a week cap.

There is no doubt that the pandemic and the last 12 months have brought working practices under the spotlight. Many people have used lockdown and the new experience of working from home to reassess what they want from life and work.

They’ve realised that they haven’t missed time spent commuting: the same sandwiches from the same sandwich shop. That they’ve enjoyed spending more time with their families, or simply having time to exercise, think and re-evaluate their lives.

Even though many people are now going back to the office, it is likely that the process will continue. It is easy to think that a lot of people will initially go back to the office with enthusiasm – and three months later walk in to see their manager and say, “I need to have a word…”

Of course, we will always recommend investing in long term financial planning. But as we’ve seen above, the last 12 months have shown us that there are equally important things to invest in.

The most important of these – obviously – is your own health. With more limited options for both exercise and socialising, getting out for walks has become a popular past-time over the pandemic. Given all its health benefits – improved posture, a stronger heart, weight loss, improved mental health – perhaps we should all invest in a pair of walking boots! But whether walking is an option that works for you or not, it’s important to take care of your mental health.

The pandemic has been tough on many levels and for a lot of people – especially frontline staff – the true mental health cost may only be seen as the pandemic comes to an end and they are no longer ‘living on adrenaline.’ Juggling work, family, home schooling and perhaps elderly relatives will have taken a big toll.

As the pandemic ends it is important that we don’t simply slip back into our old ways of doing things: of never having enough time and getting our work/life balance completely unbalanced. We need to heed the lesson of Jonathan Frostick!