If you thought your love affair with your smart phone and your ability to work a 20-hour day made you a super employee, think again. New research is uncovering just how destructive the forces that keep us connected to our jobs really are in non-work hours. If you want to maintain your sanity this year, and your sense of work life balance, read on…
According to new research from Kansas State University the ability to detach yourself from work (and that means physically, mentally and technologically) is the most effective way to recover from job stress when you are not at the office and avoid burn out. It’s a fundamental step in maintaining work life balance but, as most of us already know, one of the most difficult to assert.
While technology may have given us different ways to manage our lives and perform better at work it has made severing the connection during non-work times significantly more difficult to manage. As competition between organisations and professionals heats up, employees can go the extra mile by making themselves available after hours. There are obvious benefits to be able to being able to work from remote locations, at all hours of the day and night, but this research has focused on the negative spill-over that blurring the boundaries between work and play can cause, affecting home life, family and relationships.
The researchers acknowledge that when a person is under stress they have limited physical and psychological resources so it becomes more difficult to self-regulate hostile behaviour. By contrast people who can detach themselves have high levels of life satisfaction and positive emotion. They also show higher levels of proactive behaviour for problem solving and more engagement with their work.
A poor work life balance can lead to…
… Tiredness and fatigue, and productivity and clarity of thought suffer
… Loss of quality time with family and friends, affecting different levels of relationships
… Greater expectations because working longer hours and investing more time can lead to more responsibility, putting you under more stress.
Regaining Work Life Balance
– Learn to say “no”. Don’t feel guilty or obliged to do things that don’t improve your quality of life
– Create clear boundaries between work and home and be prepared to enforce them
– Become a master at time management and learn to develop your skills in this department.
As we move forward in 2013 and the pace continues to gather momentum, facing your work and life with a balanced approach will help you to avoid burn out and be able to face whatever gets thrown at you.