Careers Advice: Finding a work-life balance in Planning
The planning sector is buoyant with both the private and public sectors under heavy workloads. A heavy workload can mean long hours for planners, but it is crucial that you still find the time to strike a balance between ‘work and ‘life’, so to speak, and the sector is quickly moving to accommodate the need for balance.
Balance is needed for all and whilst this issue resonates most commonly and rightly with those who juggle family life with work, it is essential that everyone gives it consideration. It is often said that working within the public sector provides you the best flexibility, but this is quickly changing as many of our clients across the private sector adapt their working policies. I regularly assist planners seeking new opportunities whose needs include flexibility in the form of earlier/later starts and finishes or a reduced working week. My advice for securing such agreements is to be upfront with your needs from the beginning of your search; the sector has a wealth of opportunity across the UK and many employers are willing to be flexible to secure the right skill set.
Consequently, it is crucial that we all find the right balance. For those who don’t have family responsibilities and are happy to work 9-5/5.30 I believe there are still plenty of ways and ample support from employers to ensure you find a balance. City centre consultancies often encourage employees to engage in after-work social events at the invite of the many networking groups now available. Notably, the growth of Women in Planning and generalist planning networks means that there is something for everyone and it’s an opportunity to build your network whilst enjoying yourself.
In addition to the social elements many clients we work with now have extensive benefit packages in addition to your base remuneration. These benefits packages often include opportunities to contribute a day to charity, to undertake a sabbatical (usually after a period of time within the business) and access to private healthcare, supermarket discounts and other perks which help promote a balanced lifestyle.
One of the many perks of finding the right balance is a genuine uplift in performance/output. The majority of planners that I encounter who are able to find a balance often remark that they feel it has a positive impact on not only their ability to do the job at hand, but they feel that they enjoy the role more. As the demand for experienced planners increases, we anticipate that conscientious employers will always be willing to listen when it comes to how they can help you achieve the right balance so don’t be afraid to ask the question!
Jason Moore is principal consultant at recruitment agency the Blayze Group.