We live in a fast-paced world where we rely on technology to keep us in the loop and keep us connected; to the outside world via news channels, to friends via Facebook and to work via apps such as WorkBase.
But being accessible around the clock is becoming a turn-off for many, with employees in particular feeling tied down to a virtual desk during the evenings or weekends – sacred times that are meant to be spent with friends and family.
Creating a Work Life Balance seems to be a challenge for many who are unable to balance life and work, or at least invest the same amount of time into both. I work for an incredible start-up called KnownFour who prefer to call it Work Life Integration, understanding that there’s a fine line between the two and that they can’t always be easily defined.
Sometimes life takes over and we have to prioritise it over work: to look after sick relatives, to attend personal appointments or to improve our own health. While at other times we’re required to prioritise work: to finish a project, end of month reports or simply to catch-up on admin if it’s been a busy month.
So, when it comes to being constantly ‘switched on’ does the problem lie at the hands of the employer or the feet of the employee?
Stylist magazine recently featured an article titled ‘The growth of the workend (and why you should avoid it)’ which featured some pretty hard-hitting facts.
According to the article (click here to read it in full: http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/work-life-weekend-working-at-weekends-careers) latest figures from the Labour Force Survey shows that 5.3 million UK workers are putting in an average of 7.2 hours of overtime per week.
This is then backed up by research carried out by insurance company MetLife that showed that the majority of those questioned are doing this overtime at the weekend.
An article on The Conversation recently stated that the French President, Francois Holland is imposing a ‘right to disconnect’ so that all employers must allow their employees to switch off during the evenings and weekends (see article in full here: https://theconversation.com/the-proposed-right-to-disconnect-after-work-hours-is-welcome-but-not-enough-56381)
How this will be governed doesn’t seem to be a question that has been raised, but as a business owner with previous experience of agency life I’d say that the attitude towards working outside of traditional office hours in engrained in the culture of the agency. Arriving early, leaving late, working through lunch and again during ‘down time’ is seen to be a positive and not a negative.
Unless something is super urgent I think it’s wrong that people feel pressurised into working outside of their contracted hours when they should be resting. After all, performance is affected when we don’t look after ourselves.