One of the primary concerns that employers had about the idea of mass remote working before the COVID-19 outbreak was whether they could trust their employees to stay productive and work as effectively as they did pre pandemic in the office. However, now interestingly, our workforces have shown the contrary has proven to be true and actually people are over working predominantly from home.

People are now working longer hours than usual in order to appear to be more productive and as a means to justify working from home. Also, with our desks being within the home predominantly and only a few metres away at all times, the lines between work and personal life are becoming increasingly blurred.

Why do people over work?

Millions of us overwork because we believe it is a status symbol that puts us on the road to success, whether we define success as wealth or an Instagram post that makes it appear as if we're living a dream life with a dream job.

Importantly, overworking isn't just a problem in London, Wall Street or in Silicon Valley. People throughout the world work long hours for a variety of reasons. Long hours and persistent weariness are considered a sign of success in today's society. Why do we give in, knowing all we know about burnout?

Workplaces can sometimes feel like toxic settings at times and if there was ever a time to rethink how we work, now is it. Over working can lead to health issues such as obesity, heart attacks, migraines, sleeplessness and headaches. Burnout too can result in a variety of physical health issues. Employees may have trouble sleeping and have a higher risk of stroke. The risks to one's mental health is understandably worrying, with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even in worst cases links to suicide.

Top 5 Tips To Avoid Over Working:-

To help you avoid overworking, we’ve written 5 top tips out that help us especially when working from home in our jobs:-

1. Well-structured day – You'll need to find a dedicated work area within your home to help separate our working life and home life, complete with a desk, upright chair, and decent lighting. 

Within your calendar, clearly mark out your start and finishing time with breaks as well as block out your evening in your calendar. Strict boundaries are key and a well-structured day will focus your mind and energies.

2. Regular breaks - While remote work offers the advantage of being more flexible to both you and your employer, you should still make every effort to keep regular work hours with regular breaks. Working a 9-5 schedule may not always be possible, but you do need to set out time for turning off your computer for the day.

To have lunch, make sure you get up from your desk. If at all possible, try to get some fresh air by going outdoors for a brisk walk or just to sit in the sun. This will ensure that your lunch break is actually a break, and that you return to your desk feeling rejuvenated, focused, and ready to work.

It is crucial that you get a balance regarding your own time and boundaries, as well as the expectations of the people you work with, whether explicit or implicit.

You will also sleep better if you get a lot of exposure to natural daylight during the day. According to studies, moving around improves cognitive function, and taking frequent breaks, roughly every hour or so, actually improves concentration on tasks. So once you've finished a burst of work, go get a glass of water, catch up with colleagues perhaps, take a break outside for fresh air or use the washroom – this will enhance your productivity in the long run.

3. Prioritise tasks - Prioritising your objectives can help you make the most of your limited time and turn you into a goal-achieving machine. The first step is to put down your objectives.

Within working life, it is critical to focus your efforts on the tasks that are truly vital. That does not mean working on things that are urgent; rather, it means working on things that are actually important and contribute to you’re the growth of you and your workplace specifically. People who work long hours are frequently "people pleasers," willing to help with other people's initiatives and say yes to taking on more responsibilities. A crucial part of prioritisation is to say no when you need to.

4. Minimise distractions during the day - Distractions during your working day can often be stressful, costly and expensive without you even realising it. According to Dr Gloria Mark from the University of California who is Professor of Informatics, it takes an average of 23 minutes for a person to fully regain focus on a subject after being disturbed.

By making a list of what distracts you the most and considering ways to limit these whilst you’re working will help you focus and use your time most effectively.

5. Put your devices away- According to leading health studies, the combination of smartphones and rising workplace pressures has blurred the lines between work and home, making it impossible for individuals to switch off at the end of the day. It is crucial that you make time away from devices and learn to switch off.

Electronic gadget blue light disrupts your circadian rhythm, or sleep cycle. It tells your brain to wake up when it's supposed to be sleeping. In one study, even 2 hours of blue light exposure during the night reduced or prevented the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. It is a really good idea to limit device usage to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle

Take these small steps today!

When we're unwinding, we're at our most creative and this time can make us more effective in everything we do. Sometimes the solution to a problem might be found by doing something completely unrelated to working life, such as socialising with friend, painting, DIY or gardening. It's like running a hundred metres; some people can do it quickly, but as time goes on, they get slower and slower as they become over tired. You become more creative, involved and empathetic by unwinding and stepping away from your working life more often than not.

During the pandemic, you may have noticed an increase in business productivity since the Covid outbreak began, making it seem inevitable that you felt the need to work longer hours. A sense that you need to work more right now is worrying as it’s a slippery slope that can lead to undesirable behaviours  which can jeopardise your health and wellness and lead to burnout. 

We hope these simple yet effective steps, such as the ones listed above, will help you avoid overworking during and make positive enhancements to your wellbeing!

 

Adrian Davison

Written by Adrian Davison