A report this week released by the World Health organisation estimates that there has been a 29% increase in deaths from working long hours since 2000. In fact, in 2016 the figure of those dying from heart disease and stroke directly related to work was a whopping 745,000 worldwide.
This is alarming, and we are certain that the recent lockdown has not helped. In fact, many of our colleagues working from home have admitted that its harder to switch off when there is no physical separation between home and work.
So, as the world slowly returns to normal and we get back to events, perhaps its time to pause for reflection. Here are some ways we recommend to get back that perfect work / life balance:
Switch off – we mean physically and technologically switch off. Have a point where you turn of your computer, work mobile and any other electronic devices and unwind. You may have work to complete, but you have to be realistic with yourself, your boss and your clients as to what can be achieved within working hours. It’s as much about managing everybody else’s expectations of you as managing your own time.
Get enough sleep. Avoid caffeine after midday and take time to relax and unwind before bed by reading a book, listening to music or watching a film. Your electronic devices emit blue light which stimulate sensors in the brain to send signals to your internal clock, so avoid using your mobile, tablet or computer within an hour or two of going to bed.
It’s easy to continue responding to calls, emails and text messages late into the evening when you have your work mobile with you 24/7, but it sets up unrealistic expectations between you and your work colleagues, in that they can contact you at any time of day or night and expect an instant response. Get into the habit of responding to communications within your next working day.
Take a lunch break. Sounds easy right? How many times have you eaten on the go or taken a quick ten minutes out because you are in the middle of something and don’t want to interrupt your flow? Force yourself to take at least half an hour out every day, go for a walk, go to a café or if you are working from home go into the kitchen and cook. Just do something different that means you get a break from work in the middle of the day.
Exercise and stay healthy. Stress is compounded by a poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle. Get fit and you’ll have more energy and be more productive, meaning that you can work less hours. If you are feeling sluggish and tired during the day, you may naturally feel that you have to work longer to get results… so get out and walk, join a gym, swim… whatever it takes to get that feel good factor and get your body and brain in tip-top condition.
Stay safe this summer and enjoy work, but don’t let it dominate your every waking moment – after all, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we simply can’t take life for granted!