3rd September 2020

Take a break and enjoy the time-off

How, when and the way we work are changing, and greater flexibility with work has led to more synergy with our lives.

But as businesses have become more accommodating of people’s non-working lives, even more so in recent months, daily schedules suddenly look a lot different and people find work and non-work related activities intertwined. Coordinating between family priorities and work ones, finishing early to then resume work later in the evening, and working weekends to make up for lost time during the week, have all become the norm.

Although having the ability to set our own schedules is empowering, it can come at a cost. The lines become so blurred work can start to encroach on downtime. Many employees are likely to have voluntarily been contactable whilst enjoying a day off or find themselves checking emails when on holiday abroad. The always-on culture can lead to a sense of guilt or a need to do that ‘one quick thing’. But one quick response can easily become many.

Research being conducted by professors at London Business School, University of Oxford, and Cornell University have shown that regularly working extra hours and when others are not, can undermine one of the key motivating factors for continuing in a job, intrinsic motivation. This is described as when people feel motivated to do something for the pure enjoyment of it, and with no reward attached. The shift in mindset to work during conventional leisure or personal time and the pursuit of a good work / life balance is having a conflicting impact on some people, now presented with greater freedoms to prioritise personal and professional goals for themselves.

Flexible working has potentially made it easier for an employer to ask employees to work different hours. However, there is a responsibility on both the business and its employees to work collaboratively to ensure a better working relationship and that people get the time to recharge, do activities they enjoy, and spend time with friends and family.

Here are a few of our tips that can help

  • Set boundaries for time off and reinforce these
  • Ensure your team and clients have all been notified ahead of time
  • Improve internal communications and talk more to ensure that everyone is updated
  • Work collaboratively as a team to support each other to ease handover of responsibilities
  • Share diaries and provide greater transparency to help with planning
  • Talk, be honest and realistic with clients about timings and deadlines

Everyone treasures their time. So, the more accommodating businesses can be to ensure that employees are confident about taking downtime then the more productive and engaged the team will be.