What you need to know:
A healthy work-life balance is key to the well-being of our people, our customers and our country.
At Canada Post, we acknowledge that our employees juggle various responsibilities from work, family, and personal life. Our aim is to establish a work environment that recognizes these demands and provides the necessary support to both our team leaders and employees. Our objective is to offer proactive, suitable and meaningful assistance that enables our employees to successfully navigate life’s challenges together.
To fulfill this goal, we understand the significance of continuously enhancing and evolving our organization to meet the needs of our team leaders and employees. We firmly believe that delivering exceptional service to our customers entails fostering a caring culture that empowers our team leaders and employees to strive for work-life balance.
What does a healthy work-life balance look like? It means devoting effective time to our work while still ensuring there is meaningful time to spend with our loved ones and toward personal pursuits.
We encourage you to watch the following video to learn more about the workplace factor of “Balance” in the National Standard. By understanding this concept, we can collaborate in cultivating a supportive work environment that promotes well-being, productivity and overall success.
What you can do
- Take this quizto assess your work-life balance.
1.1. Rethink how you work
The workplace can be a stressful environment. At Canada Post, we aim to help you take steps to make your work life more manageable. If you find you are overly stressed in the workplace, we encourage you to reach out to your team leaders, peers, and employees to discuss strategies to find a better balance. For example, you may find ways to incorporate greater flexibility into schedules or processes, delegate specific tasks and limit overtime hours.
To implement these strategies, it may be helpful to set guidelines and limitations, such as considering how much overtime is healthy to take per week or during peak periods*.
*Please note that all collective agreement provisions must be respected when implementing any changes.
1.2. 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:
- Socialize: Take the opportunity to connect with team members on a regular basis.
- Subscribe: Get healthy break ideas sent to your email inbox weekly by visiting Healthy Break Activities.
- Change of scenery: It’s beneficial to change your physical environment — go outside if you work indoors or take a break and head inside if your workday is spent outdoors.
- Assess: Identify your state of mind to determine whether you need a calming break or an energy boost activity. Here are examples of both:
- Move: Try some light exercise, like a walk or doing yoga to help clear your mind.
- 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; 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.
Recognize that not everything at work can be always urgent and that your well-being is important. Refer to section 2.2 (“Prioritize your work”) under the Workload Management section to further help with work-life balance.
- Build in short breaks before/after meetings.
- If working on a screen, focus on something in the distance for 20 seconds. Repeat every 30 minutes.
- Refill your water bottle frequently to encourage movement and stay hydrated.
- Do finger and wrist stretches if you are working on a keyboard for long durations.
- Set an alarm to remind you to change position, especially if you are seated for long periods of time.
1.3b. When to defer a break
When you are “in the zone” (completely absorbed in a task, concentrating effortlessly, and taking pleasure in the task itself) you may choose to defer your break to another time. Enjoying what you are doing may be a sign that you still have plenty of energy for your current activity.
1.3c. When you can’t take a break
Sometimes simply changing focus can help when taking a break is not possible. Even slight changes to your work routine could have positive advantages. If you are working alone on a project, for example, consider seeking input from a colleague. Finding different ways to engage with your work can be beneficial in the absence of a formal break.
1.3d. What kind of break(s) work for you
Everyone’s needs are different. Paying attention to how you feel after different types of breaks will help you determine which feel creative, motivating, and productive versus distracted or interrupted. While the information found in the Section 1.2 above (“Take breaks”) is geared toward the general workforce, individual needs will vary.
- 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.
2.1 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:
2.2 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.
2.3 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.
- 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
- Try a work-life balance mobile app
Find apps that have been tested and recommended—some are free, and others paid. Here are some available apps to help you achieve a healthier work-life balance:https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/resources/mental-health-apps
- 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.
- Avoiding burnout
Burnout refers to a state of physical and emotional depletion or loss of motivation, which commonly arises from prolonged exposure to stress or frustration.
There are many factors that could lead to burnout both in and out of the workplace. Unrealistic personal expectations, feelings of incompetence or unappreciation, excessive job demands, and poor job fit are examples.
Indicators of burnout may include reduced productivity and energy, lack of motivation, increased errors, fatigue, headaches, irritability, heightened frustration, suspicion, and a longer duration of work with less progress. Through early detection and treatment, we can mitigate the likelihood of more severe mental health complications and ensure we are taking the necessary steps to recovery.
Effective ways to prevent burnout include:
- Understanding the issue
- Considering workplace factors
- Recognizing signs and symptoms
- Implementing prevention strategies
- Identifying strategies for overachievers
- Supporting recovery at work
Additional suggestions to avoid burnout:
- 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 hours and expectations.
- Establish parameters for flexible work where applicable.
- Agree on how to communicate with your team leader when extra work hours accumulate.
- Make sure to allocate time for nurturing your social life beyond the boundaries of work.
- Engage in healthy practices, including behaviors that promote physical health, like a regular exercise routine or setting minimum daily step goals, and abstain from harmful substances.
- Ensure that you have a hobby or activity you enjoy outside of work hours.
- Find ways to develop workspaces that feel safe for everyone.
- 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.
- Many options for wellness sessions can be found here: Homewood Wellness Session Catalogue
- Several wellness sessions are also available in shortened versions here: https://infopost.ca/wp-c/u/sites/17/2020/09/shortened_wellness_sessions-e.pdf
- Quality sleep
You can access articles on how to develop healthy sleep habits on our EFAP provider, Homewood Health’s website by creating a free confidential account.
- Not-So-Simple Sleep
- Sleep Facts and Fiction
- Sleep Better, Feel Better
- Sleep: Getting a Good Night’s Worth
- Sleeping Through the Night with Colds or Allergies
- The Impact of Sleep on Your Health
- Bedroom Makeover: Create a Sleep Sanctuary
- Getting Adequate Sleep
- How to Improve Sleep
- Importance of Sleep
- Dreams: The Mysteries of Sleep