With the launch of Keller’s global wellbeing framework, we’re marking International Men’s Day 2021 by talking to colleagues about the challenges they face, and how they look after their physical and mental health.

two people smiling at the camera together

“My back was all the way up against the wall before I could open up”

Art Baker
Superintendent, Keller North America

I always try to keep a positive attitude and I pray a lot – that’s important to me. Growing up I was told you can’t spend a lot of time worrying about things you can’t change, so I always try to be positive.

But getting the right work-life balance is hard. At times I’ve put work before personal life, probably because I’ve spent too much time away on the job. I’m not only the one, we all make a lot of sacrifices. You’re gone a long time and then you’re home and it can be tough.

Not getting the balance right in the past cost me a marriage. I was struggling, my back was all the way up against the wall before I could open up and accept I needed help. I had counselling, through the company and privately. It really helped things move in the right direction and I learnt a lot about myself.

When you care about your guys on the job and they trust you, they talk to you. In the first 30 minutes of a shift you can be a marriage counsellor, financial adviser and psychiatrist! At work I love to help people – I love developing and motivating them – but one day I realised that I had the answer for everyone else, but not for me.

Sometimes as men we like to put on a macho persona – I’ll be alright, I don’t need to talk to anybody about anything. But there’s nothing wrong with talking to friends, and sometimes you need professional help. It’s good to talk to someone who knows nothing about you and can give you a pure, honest reaction.

Man on construction site and then with his family

“I walk the dog and it clears my mind after a busy week”

Daniel Cordes
General Counsel, Europe 

Like many people, I find juggling work and family life the biggest challenge.

I have two kids aged eight and six and sometimes I leave work early to pick them up, instead of my wife. It’s something I want to do; I want to be there for them.

Thankfully the leadership in the division is very supportive – they don’t mind as long as you get the work done. It’s something I’m mindful of with my team. If we want to attract the best people, we have to help them find a good work-life balance and I think Keller is doing a lot to show it cares about its people.

Of course it can be hard when you’re away on a business trip for a few nights – I’m aware I’m leaving my wife to do everything. When I get back I try to do as much as possible with and for them. Whether I’m at work or at home I try to be 100 percent present. So when I’m with my kids I put my mobile aside and give them my full attention.

I find exercise good both physically and mentally. I play tennis regularly and also run once or twice a week. Saturday morning is the most important time for me. I go to a forest and walk the dog for an hour and it clears my mind after a busy week at work.

For the past few weeks I’ve also tried to wind down more in the evening. I do a few push-ups and turn off my work mobile. An hour later I don’t look at my personal mobile for the rest of the night. I also drink green tea – it’s a signal to my body and mind that it’s time to be calm.

Published on
19 Nov 2021