How to acheive a working life balance

Cafe retro

How to achieve a work-life balance when working in security

Do you work in security, or are you planning on a career in security in Australia? How flexible are the job roles available and what can you expect from a typical arrangement in terms of work-life balance? The figures are encouraging: the average security officer or guard works 39.9 hours per week. Full-time men work (on average) 40.4 hours per week (this is just slightly above the national average). Part-time men (in security roles) work 19 hours per week.

Full-time working women in security work (on average) 36.8 hours and slightly longer part-time hours than the men, at 20.5 hours per week. There are also many casual and contractor roles within this profession, according to the Australian government’s JobOutlook website.

Why is a work-life balance so important when you work in security?

Work–life balance is a concept which aims to balance proper prioritising between "work" (career and ambition) and "lifestyle" (health, pleasure, leisure, family etc.) The theory is all about lifestyle choice, and has been a growing focus point of employers all over the world, including those who operate security companies in Australia. Put simply, workers are now expecting and demanding more job flexibility and a better work-life balance.

Work is a major part of our adult lives but everyone needs balance in their world. The ability to balance your leisure time and family time with your work commitments in security is essential. The “typical” nine-to-five corporate day is slowly going the way of the dinosaur. People simply need more flexibility these days and we operate in a 24/7 world – especially when working in security. Often businesses needed someone at work “around the clock”.

Could you ask for more job flexibility?

Often, getting more flexibility within your job role is all about looking for opportunities, being clear about what you need and approaching your boss or company in the correct way.

“Don’t Quit Your Job, Flex Your Job!” is the saying of WorkOptions.com. They provide a range of strategies you can employ to introduce more flexibility into your working life. They suggest that it’s important the broach the topic with a new employer from the start, if you can.

Luckily, more businesses are open to the idea of flexible working schedules, and technology has improved the ability of workers to work remotely, in many cases. When you work in security, you may find that there are a variety of career options: full-time, part-time, casual and contractor.

What are your needs? Do you need to pick the kids up from after school activates a couple of times a week? Are weekends the best days for you to work because of penalty rates? Do you prefer working the night shift so you can have your days free? Talk to your boss about potential options for you. You’ll never know, if you don’t ask!

Is work-life balance getting worse?

The answer seems to be “yes”. According to a report that was recently released by The Australia Institute. Director of Research, David Baker, said fear about job security was widespread, so often workers were afraid to approach their bosses to ask for more of it, even when they may be entitled to it. However, roles in security tend to be bucking this trend.

"It's time that employers and industry groups started to talk about how they are going to tackle this problem. It's time that governments took this problem a lot more seriously. Work-life balance should be on every company’s agenda,” says Baker.

"For many Australian workers rocking the boat appears to be a genuine concern. If seeking better balance is perceived to be a threat to career prospects people are unlikely to freely raise the issue with their boss," he mentioned.

"A simple thing they could do is require all large companies to survey their employees each year on work-life balance and publish those surveys on their websites." Would this approach work?

Have you spoken to your boss?

Dr Timothy Sharp from the Happiness Institute believes flexible conditions can reap huge rewards for employers. He suggested Australians should simply speak to their bosses and propose a trial of flexible conditions to see whether it would work for the company. In security, some flexibility with shifts and hours may be possible.

“To make the whole thing less daunting workers could approach their employers and propose working flexibly as a trial,” says Sharp.

Whether you’re already in the security industry, or whether you aim to enter it, thinking about your work-life balance is an important conversation to have with yourself. Prioritise your health, your family, your interests and of course, your career – balance is the key!