‘Do you fancy helping us out, David?’
‘Yes, occasionally.’
‘Great! When can you start?….’

It’s an innocent enough question, but before you know it (or before I knew it), you’ve been sucked into a world of high expectations, uber-excitable stakeholders and a culture that, to sum up in one word, is mind-blowing.

No, I’m not talking about work. Believe it or not, I’m talking about the wonderful world of Scouts!

In the space of just a year, I’ve gone from being an ‘occasional’ helper to running my local Beaver Scout group!

And it’s really given me the bug.

Right now, some of you may be thinking ‘So what David?’, but there’s a lot to it, way more than you could ever imagine.

The best way to describe my new-found role is that it’s a bit like being a programme manager, but with a much more demanding client group!

The buzz and energy from over 60 members is just great and most definitely infectious. And while running my local Beaver Scout group may be a job in itself, in addition to my full-time job, family and the rest of my life outside of work, it’s actually helping me maintain a good work-life balance.

On the days that I need to be at Beaver Scouts, I make sure I clock off from work, so that I can get to my group on time.

Yes, it’s a big commitment, but I’m really enjoying it and have done since day one.
Why am I sharing this little snapshot of my life with you? Well, it’s important to remember to keep that perspective during our increasingly busy day-to-day lives. It can be very easy to become over-consumed by work, particularly with technology and the push for remote work blending work-life balance by the day. We can access our work emails on our mobile phones, complete work from pretty much anywhere, oh, and the modern office no longer operates from 9 to 5….

Before you know it, you’ve spent the last ten years, working flat out, with very little time for anything else. And there are all sorts of other implications to this too. For instance, YouGov’s Work-Life Balance: The Tools for Retention report revealed, amongst many other things, that poor work-life balance can result in people feeling more disengaged with life in general (34%) and alienated by modern life (46%).

Outlets, like my Beaver Scout role, are really essential in helping people strike the right balance between their work and personal lives. But do we recognise these skills and this type of experience in the workplace enough? I think not.

How can we draw upon these valuable attributes and incorporate them? And how can we make sure we look beyond boxes and boundaries?

I’d like to think there are lots of employees out there who are just like me, with another, or maybe even multiple, ‘secret’ roles up their sleeves. Well, I’d like to think that there are, as it means they’re hopefully pushing back on work and making more time for out-of-work pursuits. Most people have a story to tell, managers – do you know your staff as well as you thought you did?