Welcome back to another Freedom Works blog and, if you just happened to miss last week’s International Women’s Day blog, then have no fear as you can still access this and other previous posts through our website!

This week we are looking at just how important it is to switch off from your working day and the effects that not doing so can have on your personal well being.

Inevitably working in a fast paced and demanding career you may expect to do an hour or two overtime here and there.  But are you working longer because you have time management issues or underestimate the time frame you have allowed yourself for each task and are you putting yourself under too much pressure?

A recent study from TUC revealed that more than 5 million UK workers put in a total of 2 billion unpaid hours in 2019.

UK employers claimed £35 billion of free labour last year because of workers’ doing unpaid overtime, according to the latest analysis. This means more than 5 million people put in an average of 7.6 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2019. 

So what can happen if you do not switch off from work?

  • Risk of stress related heart conditions:  Research carried out by the long-running Whitehall II study shows a 60% increase in heart-related illness such as non-fatal heart attacks and angina in those who work for three hours or more longer than a normal seven-hour day. This study followed the health of more than 10,000 civil servants since 1985. Although one or two hours' overtime made no difference to people's health, three or more hours led to a 60% increased risk of coronary heart disease.

  • Social isolation: Being too busy with a heavy workload will decrease the amount of time you dedicate to social plans whether this is a family occasion or simply a meal out with friends. In the short term you may not notice that you have self isolated but the long term effects could lead to loneliness or other mental health conditions.

  • Anxiety: If you do not allow yourself to switch off properly from a busy day, this work related stress will follow into your evenings and leave you feeling anxious when you are doing something unrelated to your working expectations.

  • Bad diet and lifestyle choices: After a very long day at work you would naturally lose a lot of motivation for completing a physical activity or cooking yourself a healthy meal. 

These are just a few of the many effects that you can endure if you are working well above and beyond every working day, so what can you do to prevent this happening and properly switch off?

  1. Write a to do list: In order to de-stress after a long day simply set yourself a to do list to complete on your next working day. It is also important to put this list in order of priorities and hitting the tougher tasks first or manage your time using a project management tool such as Trello.

  2. Take part in a physical or calming activity i.e yoga or pilates- You can use this time to either relax and relieve endorphins or simply get out some pent up stress at your local gym.

  3. Keep your work emails off of your phone where possible: By keeping your work emails on your personal mobile you will be distracted from some casual socialsing by every email notification so it is important to keep your personal emails separate from your work emails.

  4. Hobbies- It is so important to take part in some kind of recreational downtime whether this is adult colouring, reading a book, playing a sport or simply baking a cake. Allow yourself some ‘YOU time’

  5. Book a holiday or event in your calendar in advance- On the most stressful of days it is a real relief when you realise you are just a few working days from a dinner catch up with your friends or a weekend trip away. Booking social events into your diary is vital to bring motivation to every day.

And just like that you have read this week’s blog and please remember to refer back to this when you are stressed from either overtime or needing that extra push to switch off from your busy work loads.

*helpful hint- each of our co-working spaces includes large communal spaces and events such as our Free-beer Fridays to allow that social time between like-minded business people. Whether you are using our meeting room facility or hotdesking come down and join us for a social each Friday!* Looking forward to seeing you soon…….

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