Work-life Balance

What you need to know:
Canada Post aims to create a work environment that recognizes the need for employees to be able to manage the demands of work, family and personal life.

In order to do right by our people at Canada Post, we strive to provide proactive, appropriate and meaningful support so that team leaders and employees can navigate life’s challenges. In addition, it is necessary to continue to adapt, adjust and improve our organization in order to meet the changing needs of our team leaders and employees. Delivering for others includes creating a caring culture that empowers team leaders and employees to pursue work-life harmony. This requires balance at work and outside of work. You can learn more about the National Standard’s workplace factor Balance by watching the following video:

Click here to Learn about the National Standard – Balance

What you can do
1.1. Rethink how you work

Have conversations with your team leader, peers and employees about ways that work can be less stressful. Some examples for consideration could include incorporating flexibility into schedules or processes; delegating tasks and limiting overtime either on a weekly basis (i.e. no more than “x” hours per week) or, recognizing that overtime may be required during peak periods, limiting the duration that this continues (i.e. aim for working regular hours every 2nd week during peak periods). All collective agreement provisions must be respected.

1.2. Prioritize your work

Recognize that not everything at work can be urgent every day all day. Refer to the section “Prioritize your work” under the workload management section to help with work-life balance.

1.3. Take breaks

As they say in the airline industry…” put your oxygen mask on first.” Taking regular breaks from work helps reduce fatigue and increases energy and creativity. Lead by example and encourage your peers and employees to do the same. Some suggestions to consider, depending on your work environment include:

  • Take the opportunity to connect socially with team members on a weekly basis.
  • Subscribe to weekly healthy break idea emails at Healthy Break Activities
  • Change your physical environment—go outside or inside if you work outside.
  • Identify whether you need an energy boost or a calming break and pick your break activity accordingly:
  • Try a yoga for mental health break
  • Change your physical demands—where feasible, sit down if you’ve been on your feet for a while and vice versa.
  • Change your state of mind—take some deep breaths or try meditating if your day has been dynamic; or call a friend or listen to some upbeat music if you’ve been alone or isolated at work.
  • Take frequent, micro-breaks if you have trouble focusing.

1.3a. Micro-break ideas

  • Build in short breaks before/after meetings
  • If working on a screen, focus on something in the distance for 20 seconds every 30 minutes
  • Refill your water bottle frequently to increase hydration and movement
  • Finger/wrist stretches for those working on a keyboard for longer durations.
  • Set an alarm to remind you to change position, especially if you are seated for long periods

1.3b.Share the “Breaks Matter” micro-learning on Keep wellness in mind site Psychological Health & Safety Micro-learning videos

1.3c. When to defer a break

When you are ”in the zone,” meaning completely absorbed in a task, concentrating effortlessly, and taking pleasure in the task itself, it makes sense to defer your break. Simply enjoying what you are doing may be a sign that you still have plenty of energy for your current activity.

1.3d. When you can’t take a break

Sometimes changing focus can help when taking a break is not possible. Shifting to using slightly different cognitive skills, such as switching from solitary work to consulting with a colleague, can still be beneficial.

1.3e. What kind of break(s) work for you

Everyone’s needs are a bit different. If you pay attention to how you feel after different types of breaks you can determine those that help you feel creative, motivated, and productive versus distracted or interrupted. While the information found in the section “Take breaks” above is geared toward the general population, individual needs will vary.

1.4 Homewood Health/EFAP Resources

Homewood Health is Canada Post’s independent third-party provider for the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), including mental health support services. The EFAP helps employees and their families live healthy lives and deal with stresses at home and work. You can confidentially access expert advice, content and programs – in person, by phone (24/7), on Homewood’s website and app, or via video and instant messaging. Click here to learn more about Homewood resources.

1.4a Homewood Health Work-Life balance tools and training can be accessed below:

Register or log in to Homeweb here to find the following Work-Life Balance Tools:

1.4b Participate in the Homewood Wellness Challenge

To help you take that step and keep your wellness in mind, Canada Post invites you and your family to join the Wellness Challenge presented by Homewood Health, our Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider. Participants are encouraged to create their own model of wellness and to take action to improve their overall health. The challenge runs from August 22 to September 23, 2022.

1.5 21-day team healthy nutrition challenge

Encourage your team to participate in a 21-day challenge that requires taking mindful snack and lunch breaks. Your work-life balance benefits from improving your physical health. Engage in healthy nutrition habits by adding healthy choices such as:

  • Planning your meals in advance so that healthy choices are available
  • Snacking on nourishing foods such as vegetables and fruit
  • Drinking water throughout your day]
  • Practising mindfulness while eating by avoiding multitasking
  • Keeping a journal of your nutrition will help you see where you may need to adjust your habits.

1.6. Unplug from work

Many Canada Post employees continue to receive email, text and phone notifications after work hours. Balance in our work and home lives requires us to step away from electronic devices when we’re not at work or on call. Your team may choose to establish a guideline for creating separation from work and home life. Consider establishing team norms regarding:

  • Sending emails, texts or phone calls during breaks, after hours or during scheduled vacations or time off
  • Responding to emails, texts or phone calls during breaks, after hours or during scheduled vacations or time off
  • Monitoring devices during non-work hours
  • Discuss and define clearly “emergency situation” and related expectations

1.7. Try a free work-life balance mobile app

Find apps that have been tested and recommended—some free and some paid.

https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/resources/mental-health-apps

1.8. For work-from-home employees – physically separate work and home life

Working from home can blur the lines between work and home life by making work constantly present and accessible. Some ideas for creating/maintaining separation between work and home include:

  • Mimic a commute by walking around the block to start your day before logging on and after logging off to end your day.
  • Keep your workstation out of sight when you are not at work
    • If you have a designated home office, close the door at the end of the day.
    • If your setup is easily portable, put away your equipment at the end of the day.
    • If your setup is not easily portable, avoid using a space in your home where you are frequently reminded of your work after hours.
  • Designate a “break area” for yourself so you can change environments during the workday.

1.9. Burnout

Burnout is exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. Factors contributing to burnout can be internal and/or external including: expecting too much of oneself; feeling inadequate or incompetent; feeling unappreciated; unreasonable work demands and a job that is not a good fit.

Identifying burnout early can reduce the risk of more serious mental illness. Signs and symptoms include reduced efficiency and energy; reduced motivation; increased errors; fatigue; headaches; irritability; increased frustration; suspicion; more time spent working with less accomplished.

Click here for burnout response tools for leaders including:

  • Understanding the issue
  • Consider workplace factors
  • Recognize signs and symptoms
  • The lies we tell ourselves
  • Prevention strategies
  • Strategies for overachievers
  • Support recovery at work
  • Workshop materials for Putting Balance on the agenda: creating awareness workshop
  • Workshop materials for Putting Balance on the agenda: creating change workshop
  • Additional resources: Am I at risk for burnout? A tool to assess your work-related stress

Additional resources: Is your organization at risk for burnout? A tool to help assess your organization’s response to work-related stress.

Additional suggestions:

  • Create spaces where staff can work uninterrupted
  • Establish a team norm or agreement to set work boundaries such as:
    • Turn off email and other messaging services at predefined times.
    • Agree on typical workday expectations.
    • Establish parameters for flexible work
    • Agree on how to communicate with your team leader when extra work hours accumulate
    • Establish an organizational response to working beyond regular work hours.
  • Ensure time is spent nurturing social life outside of work
  • Put in place essential personal expectations for engaging in behaviours that contribute to physical health such as minimum daily step rates; exercise on certain days; avoiding substances
  • Ensure that you have a hobby or activity you enjoy outside of work hours.
  • Consider establishing a mechanism to determine psychological competencies and demands.
  • Find ways to develop work spaces that feel safe for everyone ED&I Safe space team leader toolkit

1.10. Create a self-care plan

  • Include at least one self-care activity such as keeping a journal, meditation, massage yoga or mindfulness exercises on a daily basis.
  • Evaluate your self-care progress on a weekly basis.
  • Determine priorities for the week/month and year.
  • Refer to the resources available through our EFAP provider at https://infopost.ca/keep-wellness-in-mind/providers/
  • Consider inviting Homewood Health to host a wellness session for your team.

1.11. Headversity

  • Team training
  • Solo training