Do you ever feel like there’s no time to take annual leave, or if you do, have you ever cancelled or cut it short as there’s too much work for you to leave? If so, you’re not alone, as research by Direct Line* has discovered that almost 1.5 million SME owners in the UK haven’t taken a single day off in the last year. Getting the balance right between work and family time can be difficult. And in today’s busy society, it can be difficult to take the time to reassess lifestyles.
A study by Indiana University Kelley School of Business, which explored the amount of work, time pressures, responsibility and concentration demands of a job, found that time poor, stressful careers, such as frontline service jobs, manufacturing, construction and entry level service jobs were linked to higher deaths. In contrast, agricultural workers who experienced higher freedom and less stress experience “really low” death rates.
So, is it time you reflected on your career?
Long work hours, colleague expectations and the desire to progress can all have a detrimental effect on an employee’s health and wellbeing. However, getting the work life balance right can lead to an increase in productivity, motivation to succeed, better workplace cultures and a happier family lifestyle.
To help employees find out whether they should reevaluate their work life balance AXA PPP Healthcare have built a simple visual quiz to challenge the SME owners to reassess their lives.
If you find out you might be suffering from an out-of-kilter work life balance, these practical steps by Psychological Health expert Eugene Farrell will help you get back on track:
Prioritise work tasks rigidly and stick to doing the most important first.
Schedule work into the day in time slots as you would with meeting appointments and work to that time.
Take regular breaks, get up every hour and walk. Go and get some water or a drink and return to your work refreshed.
Ensure you take a proper lunch break away from your desk where you can eat and drink.
Take all of your annual leave each year, with a least one full week, and preferably disconnect from work once a quarter.
Use out of office message and a nominated cover when you are away from work so that you don’t have to check emails all the time.
Understand your limitations of work that you can successfully and reasonably achieve.
If you feel uneasy about saying no to more work from your manager then negotiate taking on the work whilst delaying something else.
Being fit for work is as important as work – get good sleep, eat healthily, exercise, spend time with family and friends.
If you are a leader of people, set the example and send the right message.