Opinion: Reclaim your gazing-into-space moments in the workplace

It’s time to reclaim your time in the workplace because everyone needs some gazing-into-space moments, writes Nigel Leaney

At the start of my working life I recall media soothsayers proclaiming that the most pressing problem over the following 20 years would be the increased leisure time we would all have due to the advances in technology that would shrink our working hours.

Yet the problem with what to with this sudden abundance of leisure once we’d all tired of drinking fine wines, reading poetry and having sex never materialised. It is now all but a cruel joke. Evidence suggests we are working harder than ever.

Caught in an insanity of industry, how we manage our time has never been so crucial. Our stress levels depend on it. And apart from the cost to ourselves there is that old mathematical theorem to consider: the level of stress ­experienced is directly proportionate to a decrease in the ability to function. Bad news if you’re one of our clients.

Time management courses are a waste of time. Forget them. Their function is to keep the wheels of the department turning at a decent speed without ­employees claiming excessive sick leave. We need to do better than that.

First give Benjamin Franklin a thorough drubbing for his pronouncement, “time is money”. It is a whole lot more than that. Time is priceless and it costs nothing – except our souls if used unwisely. Therefore you need to reclaim your time in the workplace.

Meetings are as good a place to start as any. Be gone with them! Most are a waste of energy as well as time. Added to which they can seriously put a downer on the rest of your day, being the forum of choice for handing down an extra week’s unnecessary work. Arrange the meetings you have to attend so you still have plenty of white spaces in your diary.

As well as travelling time you also need a generous slice of gazing-into-space time. That’s if you want to stay ­creative and not become one of the Undead. You can spot them in any office with their thousand-yard stare, trailing maggots in their wake.

In residential care residents depend on staff having enough time to speak to them. And not just about care plans. Good, unstructured time.

Don’t be fooled by staff rushing around, bug-eyed on ­caffeine, clutching mountains of paperwork. The Pre-Undead. They are not to be trusted, either. Certainly not emulated.

Rather, ensure they are returned immediately to their crypts – with a stake through their hearts.

Nigel Leaney manages a mental health residential service

This article appeared in the 3 May issue under the headline “Windows and my diary


More from Community Care

Comments are closed.