Sometimes the issues that can gnaw away at our well-being, and will eventually negatively impact engagement at work, are hidden. I read this piece from TSI, “Putting well-being at the heart of engagement,” with my intellect fully engaged when a sentence grabbed my heart:
“While a traditional employee engagement survey might pick up that staff are highly motivated by their work, it may not discover that they are beginning to feel stretched or under pressure, or that they feel their work/life balance is out of kilter.”
“Feeling stretched” and “under pressure” were the phrases that got my attention.
Feeling Stretched and Under Pressure
I live in a household that includes my parents (who are both retired), my husband who works full time, my 11-year-old daughter who is a social butterfly, and a dog who seeks constant attention. I work from home full time when I’m not traveling. Although our household functions well, it is ever evolving.
My daughter seems to grow and mature before my eyes, with emerging interests (drama, piano, drums, friends, etc.) that require varying amounts of my attention and nurturing. My father continues to decline in a way that causes him great frustration – also requiring varying levels of my attention. My mom is very active and is often out of the house due to volunteering or other interests. My work at Bright Horizons is exciting and thriving. No status quo there! This usually leaves my husband (and dog) to get the part of me that is left over at the end of the day before I fall asleep. So, I sometimes feel stretched and under pressure, which can impact my overall well-being.
Being Supported and Staying Engaged
I imagine that my story is replicated among thousands of households across the country, although the details will likely vary. I feel very fortunate, however, that I work for an employer who views me as a whole person. I am not expected to compartmentalize my life. I don’t have to hide the fact that I am “stretched.” I have formal programs available to me through our Employee Well-Being Help Center as well as informal support through my supervisor and coworkers.
I may be “under pressure” but not to the point of breaking. Having an employer that cares about my well-being makes a tremendous difference in my ability to perform to my potential and look forward to going to work. So, it is possible to experience well-being while living the sandwich generation but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy!