There is a misconception in many workplaces that working harder and putting in longer hours will lead to success, but in fact working overtime can lead to a lack of relaxation time and tip your work-life balance in the wrong direction.
A recent study by HR Magazine found that “34% of people check their email as soon as they wake up every day, 38% of people check their email after work at home every day and yet 46% felt that it was a task and not email that detracted them away from more important work they prioritized.” Taking on too many tasks and needing to rely on working late to complete them can affect your mental wellbeing.
As employers, we want our employees to work hard and meet targets and deadlines, yet there is some degree of pressure associated with this. Pressure can be a great asset to productivity, but it can also cause detrimental effects on the health of your employees and in turn on the business.
Let’s face it, there’s no catch-all solution to a stress-free day in the office, or a cure for eliminating stress altogether. But there are positive steps you can implement on a day-to-day basis to ensure your staff is working smarter and not harder, yet still ensuring you meet your business targets and deadlines.
- Take Frequent Breaks
Although the employee standard at many companies is to take 15 to 20-minute breaks after 4 hours of steady work, it is rarely put into practice. In fact, on average, your brain is able to remain focused for only 90 minutes, and then you need at least 15 minutes of rest. (The phenomenon is based on ultradian rhythms.) By giving your employees breaks roughly every 90 minutes, you allow them to renew their mind and body and be ready to fire off another 90-minute period of high activity.
- Improve Time-Management Skills
Provide time management training for your employees. It will help them use their working hours more efficiently, feel more in control, be more productive and more secure in their jobs. Good time management skills lead to increased job satisfaction because it allows your staff to feel more relaxed and in control.
- Schedule Concentration Time
Encourage workplace culture that allows staff to block out some time every day when they can’t be disturbed except in an emergency. Let them use that time to get the most important tasks of the day done. Allow staff to close the door to their office, or move to a meeting room for an hour to ensure they have this blocked time.
Although the number of hours in the day will always remain the same, letting your staff know there are ways to adjust their habits that will allow them to work smarter and buy more time for the things that matter most.
What tips do you have for working smarter?