Nurturing a work-life balance for a more inclusive workforce

Nurturing a work-life balance for a more inclusive workforce

By Sam Wright, ESG Director

The world of work has certainly changed since the dark days of lockdown.

Hybrid working is now routine for many businesses, including ours. It doesn’t come without challenge. Firstly, not everyone in utilities can split their time between home and office, field based colleagues for example. For others, the pandemic proved how much many of us rely on face-to-face human interaction. We’re sociable animals after all.

National Work-life Week provides a timely opportunity to take stock and think about how we as employers, and the utilities industry on the whole, can meet our people’s evolving needs.

Supporting a healthy work/life balance

At Energy Assets, we know a healthy work-life balance is vital, and take a flexible approach wherever we can to support it.

We have a range of policies to govern how it works in practice, and have put in place various initiatives to promote it:

  • all of our colleagues receive a generous holiday allowance, and we close completely over the festive period
  • the health and safety of our people is extremely important to us, we regularly remind colleagues of the risks of over-working and have issued detailed instructions covering the importance of breaks and rest
  • we also offer a range of third-party services supporting physical and mental health, for example:
    • our Employee Assistance Programme, which provides free, confidential advice 24/7
    • access to the lowest available corporate rates at over 3,300 health clubs and gyms
    • discounts and vouchers for a range of high street retailers
    • life assurance and wider protection schemes to provide peace of mind.

The contribution of a positive ethos to work/life balance

It’s well reported that people prefer to work for organisations who have a positive impact on society and the environment. Colleagues like to see how their contribution during the working day goes some way to doing good outside of their working environment.

A positive social and environmental focus is ingrained in the Energy Assets culture – from how we operate, to the propositions we offer. It’s a constant topic of conversation.

We have a range of initiatives in flight to continuously improve our social impact. Such as, setting up a panel of local charities, chosen by our colleagues who we’ll support with fundraising, donations and awareness activity throughout the year. Office-based colleagues also get the opportunity to take a paid volunteering day each year.

We also have a strategy and plan in place to reduce our emissions and some of our propositions in turn help our customers to do the same. Our colleagues can take pride that we’re focused on the future of our environment and doing our bit to help the nation on the road to Net Zero.

Harnessing the potential of a diverse workforce

There’s a wider industry consideration for engendering a positive work-life balance however. Every day, we’re reading about recruitment challenges in every industry.

We know there’s a particular issue in utilities and construction in attracting female applicants, particularly into field-based roles. Rightly or wrongly, mothers, female guardians and female carers face greater challenges in the workplace than their male counterparts. However, the wide adoption of more flexible practices presents our industry with a new opportunity to harness the potential of a more diverse workforce.

As an industry we need to become better at communicating the great careers options we can offer to women and other under-represented groups – and demonstrate we can provide a flexible, welcoming environment that fits work and family requirements.

It’s something we’re passionate about at Energy Assets, and we’ve recently appointed additional female representation to our Senior Leadership Team to help drive it. Some of our senior leaders are also mentors for and participants in the activities of the Women’s Utilities Network (WUN) – supporting industry wide change. You can find out more about the WUN here: Womens Utilities Network | Developing and Encouraging Women (

In summary, our industry, as well as those beyond it, needs to view work/life balance not as a ‘nice-to-have’, but as a fundamental pre-requisite for ongoing business success.

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