The Secret of the Workplace Oscars: Staying in CharacterLast week, the film industry was shocked to hear that Daniel Day-Lewis was retiring from acting.

Considered one of Hollywood’s best, Daniel made history as the first man to win three best actor Oscars – a tally only beaten by Katharine Hepburn – and he starred in just five films over the past 20 years.

When asked by the BBC about the secrets to his success, Day-Lewis credited his immersive acting method and staying in character: "What would drain me much more, in my case, is jumping in and out of that world that we've gone to such an inordinate length to create for ourselves".

Jumping In and Out

Taking on an apprenticeship role as a butcher for his role in Gangs of New York and asking the cast and crew to refer to him as Mr Lincoln off-set are just two examples of Day Lewis’ immersive acting. And this got us thinking about how we balance multiple roles and characters in our own lives.

Today’s working families have many roles, from being an employee and colleague to a parent, sibling, carer and more frequently grandparent. Trying to juggle responsibilities and jumping from one role to another is undoubtedly challenging and often not possible: on one side, families are increasingly working extra hours outside of work time to cope with work pressures and on the other side, they are hiding personal responsibilities at work, worried to work flexibly and taking annual leave, sick leave and even considering reducing hours and leaving  - all to manage the challenge.

Staying in Character

Whilst we’re not suggesting that we should be called Mum, Dad, Son or Daughter at work and Colleague at home, understanding the roles that people play in their lives could prove to be beneficial – not just in helping people to integrate work and family life but also in ensuring that our people are able to reach their potential and be the best they can be – in every character.

Creating an Award-Winning Set

Creating an organisation and offering practical support which enables people to stay in character isn’t only for Hollywood. With 8 out of 10 mothers and 7 out of 10 fathers assessing childcare before taking a new job or promotion, practical measures such as childcare can support recruitment and retention and help us to keep our talented people. A culture which promotes flexibility is also proven to help people integrate work and life, with fathers and mothers seeking flexible arrangements but worried that they will be seen as less committed or thinking it will negatively impact their career.

For employers who offer a good balance and support, there are rewards too with 57% of working families saying they would be more loyal and over half saying they would be motivated and productive employees.

To echo Daniel’s words, we go to great lengths to create a world for ourselves and we must embrace the roles we and our people play each day.

We think they’re going to need a few more Oscars this year!