I am one of millions of people who start every year by making New Years’ resolutions to improve my life. My resolutions for 2012 are amongst the most popular resolutions made each year: ‘improve my health’ and ‘spend more time with family and friends’……. In the first People Matter blog I will see if I can I increase my chances of achieving my personal resolutions by taking advantage of schemes provided by my place of work.

My first resolution to improve my health, is one of the top new years’ resolutions every year. I have broken my previously good exercise routine in the last year and so it is time to get back to the gym! It is really helpful when employment benefits are in line with our wants and needs – so I would like the opportunity to access health club discounts and to see my employer investing in providing healthy snacks such as fruit. I also love Japan’s tradition of group exercise before work – it would be a real incentive for me, but I am not sure it would be adopted in Western society. 

What is in it for the employer’s I hear you ask?!….. Business in the Community’s analysis of FTSE 100 employers in 2009 showed that companies implementing health and wellbeing initiatives in the workplace had an average enhanced financial performance of 10%, and International Labour Organisation reports that a poor diet on the job is reducing productivity by as much as 20%….. This is on top of developing a happier workforce and a company that staff want to work for!

Did you know that around 35% of new years’ resolutions are broken within 1 month. 60% of gym memberships purchased during this period go unused and attendance is usually back to normal levels by mid February…..  With this in mind I can understand that employers will want to think carefully about their investment decisions.

So onto my second resolution: spend more time with family and friends because sometimes you realise the importance of what you are missing out on (yes – even after just having spent a whole three days together at Christmas)! To achieve this I feel I will need to be more proactive about achieving a better work life balance and improve my productivity levels.

Considering genuine needs to travel alongside opportunities for ‘telecommuting’ – I have access to simple and low cost systems which can be used to achieve the same levels of collaboration. Many companies are embracing a ‘Digital Transformation’ and encourage use of virtual meeting places such as lync or communicator and even iPhones have an application called FaceTime. I need to manage this though as there are issues associated with working in this way:

 –    Some technology means that I am accessible for work 24/7– so I need to be disciplined about its use.

 –    Working in this way can sometimes leave me feeling isolated, so it is really positive when there is a clear ethos that all employees are part of a team even when not physically in the office!

Email can have a negative impact on my productivity because I get so many that contain irrelevant information. Therefore in the future I will try to review emails only 3 times per day, write emails as direct and simple bullet points of information and unsubscribe to newsletters that I immediately file (incase I need them one day).

Some companies have started to find increased productivity and motivation through ‘connectivity detoxing’, for example ‘no email Fridays’ where all work is completed face to face on this day. I think this would be a great idea and well worth a try – however I am not sure how this would be welcomed by my clients! I will try a connectivity detox when at home to ensure the time I spend away from work is centred around good old fashioned talking rather than texting or email.

So the question is: can I enhance success of achieving my personal resolutions through my work place practises in 2012?

Yes! I have identified several opportunities and features available in my work life which will help me to achieve my personal New Years’ Resolutions in 2012.

…………..Now all I need to do is: analyse my opportunities to enhance success outside of work, develop and implement my plan and stick to it! Wish me luck!