Work-Life Services Home Page
Work–Life Services (WLS) are six negotiated benefits programs for Executive Branch employees resulting from a collaboration between NYS and the public employee unions. These programs are designed to increase employee productivity and morale by improving the quality of work and life for employees and include: Employee Assistance Program, NYS–Balance, Worksite Child Care Centers, Flex Spending Account, NYS–Ride, and Pre–Retirement Planning. To view a short video about WLS benefits click here. 12:11
To view or print the Work-Life Services Brochure click here.
EAP: Managing Holiday Stress
Although it is easy to envision a wonderful, relaxed holiday season full of pageantry, positivity, and perfect pies, this is not what the splendor of the season always delivers. For many, this time of year is the most stressful. If you feel stressed out by the thought of holiday chores, obligations, and family dropping in for a visit, or if this year’s circumstances make the holiday season particularly difficult, start preparations now to manage your holiday stress.
Holiday Myth Busters
Along with good tidings come high expectations based on the commercialization of the holiday season, past childhood memories we may long to duplicate, and the expectations of others. If family members count on your “holiday magic” to make every year special the cooking, cleaning, baking, decorating, and gift-wrapping you face a bigger challenge letting go or finding balance. Here are some tips to help you cope better with the expectations, demands, and added pressure of the holidays.
Start with the decision to take charge and manage your holiday stress. This mentally prepares you to meet the challenges of the season with greater confidence and enables you to find greater joy in the holidays.
Decide on which priorities will make the season most meaningful for you. Did you miss the tour of homes last year because your next door neighbor had their open house on the same day? The idea here is to plan a few “non-negotiable” events for yourself.
Now the Rest
What activities are important to your family this year? Seek to trim the “must do” list to reduce the stress of trying to fit it all in. A family meeting to gather ideas can be helpful, and chances are activities you thought everyone still wanted to do are no longer of interest.
Avoid the Rush
Are holiday lights on the house critical? If yes, go for it, but if it seems more like a “chore” than a pleasurable activity, that’s a clue about its priority and importance to you. Activities that feel like chores get delayed, so pay attention to procrastination. It is insight to help you decide whether it is “thumbs up or down” on something that may have seemed desirable.
Fight the Blues
If the holidays are a sad time of year because of difficult memories or because a loved one can’t be present, then develop a personal coping strategy, such as volunteering. Volunteering has been shown to combat depression, increase self-confidence, and improve mental and physical health. Volunteering for a local charity is a two-way street. It is good for you and for your community.
Navigating Family Conflict
If you can’t avoid holiday gatherings with family members that are constantly bickering, try discussing your desire to avoid conflict this year up front and ask that differences be set aside. Older adults criticizing teenagers is a well-known trigger. So are statements from in-laws that appear critical, interfering, or meddlesome. Self-awareness is power, so you stand a good chance of at least minimizing this behavior if you address it up front, with respect and sensitivity.
Take Care of Yourself
What improves your mood exercise, positive affirmations, alone time? Have you been promising to do something for yourself, but keep putting it off? The holiday season is a perfect time to reaffirm your love, not only for those you care about, but also for yourself.
EAP Can Help
Holiday stress affects everyone differently, so these suggestions may not address your unique situation. However, you don’t have to face the stress alone. Instead, consider talking to your EAP coordinator who can help you find the resilience and strength you need to face whatever challenges the holidays may bring.
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For information, support, and local resources, contact your EAP coordinator.
Does the month of December fill your life with stress? For tools to help address this stressful time, go to the NYS-Balance website, at www.nysbalance.ny.gov. There you will find numerous articles, resources, skill builders, free educational materials, audio resources, and online seminars dealing with the topic of stress management. Click on the Educational Materials tab on the right side of the homepage to order a free relaxing CD called, Moods of Nature. Click here for a single page document that lists information on stress management, available on the NYS-Balance website.
The NYS Work-Life Services Employee Assistance Program recently launched a wellness initiative called WellNYS Everyday. The initiative is dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering New York State employees and their families by encouraging participation in healthy behaviors, particularly the Monthly Challenges. In addition to the Monthly Challenges, the WellNYS Everyday website features a portal titled Eating for Your Health. Click here to find monthly food themes with recipes, and general tips for healthy eating.
How Are We Doing?
We would like your feedback on the NYS-Balance program. There are three feedback tabs on the NYS-Balance homepage where you can complete a short five-question survey. The three feedback locations are: at the top of the homepage, under the NYS-Balance logo; the Feedback tab; and on the bottom right side of the homepage under Employee Resources.
NYS-Ride allows eligible state employees to pay up to $130 per month for certain work-related transportation expenses on a pre-tax basis. More than 8,000 participants who use public transportation to get to work currently enjoy the savings this program provides, while contributing to a greener environment by reducing carbon emissions, greenhouse gasses, and dependence on foreign oil.
The NYS-Ride website provides employees with quick and easy access to all the information they would need to learn about the program, calculate their savings and impact on the environment, enroll in NYS-Ride, make changes to their elections, or view their accounts. Please visit the website at www.nysride.com.
Retirement Planning Videos
A series of short videos — the Planning Your Successful Retirement Video Guide — highlighting key information from the popular DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars is now available. Designed for executive branch employees, the 23 videos were created in partnership with the Office of the State Comptroller, the Department of Civil Service, the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan, and the Social Security Administration. Employees can view the videos along with other pre-retirement planning information on this Work-Life Services website and also on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/GOERWebServices. More
Free NYS–Balance Resource Materials
We are very pleased to offer a wide variety of new, free, resource materials available through the NYS–Balance program. To order materials, go to: http://www.nysbalance.ny.gov. After logging in, on the right side of the home page, in the Employee Resources section, click on the Educational Materials tab, complete the form and submit. The materials will be mailed directly to your home.
Retirement Planning Resources Workshops
The Retirement Planning Resources Workshop is a free, one-hour training, available to state agencies for their employees, regardless of years of state service. The training will not cover specific retirement information, and is not a substitute for the full-day DIRECTIONS seminars. Instead, the goal of this training program is to educate executive branch employees about the resources available so they can begin planning their retirement.
If you would like to schedule this one-hour training, you may contact Beth Brumaghim, Seminar Program Manager, at Beth.Brumaghim@goer.ny.gov or 518.473.4018.
Welcome to the Family Packet
Work-Life Services introduces the "Welcome to the Family Packet". Parenting is an exciting and challenging experience. Today's parents often face unique circumstances balancing their work and family responsibilities. As a New York State Executive Branch employee parent, you are entitled to several negotiated benefits designed to assist you with balancing work and life. The "Welcome to the Family Packet" will outline these benefits programs as well as provide educational child care and parenting brochures. We invite you to request a "Welcome to the Family Packet" if you are expecting or recently added to your family through the birth or adoption of a child. Email your request along with your name and home address to: email@example.com.
"Parenthood, it's not a job. It's an adventure" – –author unknown
NYS-Balance makes life less complicated by providing referrals for Child Care and Parenting, Elder Care/Adults with Disabilities, Education, Health and Wellness, Daily Life, and Legal/Financial. Many NYS executive branch employees have used the service and here's what they have to say
I was very surprised and impressed by the info provided and have recommended NYS-Balance to others. I was impressed with the amount of detail in the information I requested.
I learned a lot following the various webinar/seminars that NYS-Balance gave.
I am very surprised by the helpfulness of the staff and the information they provided. I dont think other state workers know how helpful this benefit is!
Funding is provided by the negotiated agreements between the State of New York and CSEA, PEF, UUP, GSEU, DC-37, Council 82, and NYSCOPBA, and by the NYS Governor's Office of Employee Relations for employees designated M/C.