Overworking causes people a great amount of stress and anxiety. This, in turn, can lead to an array of medical and mental health problems, and in worst-case scenarios, even death.
And the COVID-19 pandemic is largely seen as an aggravating factor. For many companies, the pandemic didn’t result in a reduction of work; it simply upended the way many employees work, resulting in undue stress. Before you know it, you are losing sleep over fears that if you don’t put in extra hours at work, the business’s future may be at risk.
Is there an ideal number of working hours?
Poor sleep is one of the many negative effects of overworking. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get at least 7–9 hours of sleep at night to recharge the mind and body. When it comes to determining the ideal number of working hours, however, there is no exact number that can reasonably be recommended to any person. Differences in working style, nature of work, life pressures, personal motivations, and a variety of other factors make it impossible to determine what the ideal number of working hours should be.
Needless to say, working too little or too much is not ideal. Here are some smart working tips you can follow to beat overworking.
1. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries is essential to determining what is considered permissible workplace behavior. In terms of time and schedules, communicating your work hours to your team sets their expectations as to when you are expected to be present (ie., online) at work and when you are not.
Boundaries can also refer to something other than workplace availability. For instance, setting intellectual boundaries means encouraging workers to engage in respectful discussions about important projects and other critical issues. Setting emotional boundaries, on the other hand, is necessary for situations where disagreements are likely and emotions may run high, such as when colleagues provide feedback or express differing opinions during meetings. As a business leader, you have to demonstrate how to pull away from situations that do not benefit anyone and take time away from engaging in productive work.
2. Schedule rest activities
Cramming your calendar with tasks, meetings, and other work-related activities can be detrimental to your well-being. Make room for leisure or non-work activities and take frequent breaks. Whether you work in an office or at home, your lunch breaks should be used to eat a filling meal. After your workday is done, turn off notifications on your phone. Stop answering emails during your breaks.
3. Prioritize tasks based on urgency and focus on them
Organize tasks according to urgency, set reasonable deadlines, and focus on one goal per day. Determine which projects or tasks should be prioritized, communicate this to your team, and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Studies suggest that a long burst of work is optimal to accomplish tasks: around 52 consecutive minutes or so. In any case, you want to make the most of the hours when you tend to be most productive. When you’re not feeling energetic, you can do less intellectually stimulating tasks such as sorting your mailbox, reading work-related blogs or company newsletters, and the like.
4. Manage distractions
If you work from home, inform people that you’re living with of your work commitments. Ask them to keep noise levels at a minimum on hours when you’re bound to be busiest or in a call with important clients or colleagues.
At the same time, practice self-discipline to get more done in less time. Refrain from checking social media while you’re deep at work. Read non-urgent personal messages during your scheduled breaks. Practice going on “deep work”, which essentially entails doing activities in a distraction-free state, rid of big and small distractions such as social media, instant messages, meetings, and other distractions that get in the way of work.
5. Leverage automation tools
Companies should also leverage different automation tools that can perform tedious tasks more efficiently to let staff focus on tasks that require critical and/or creative thinking. A business IT consultant like SpectrumWise offers sound advice on which technology tools are best to make your workflows more efficient. These are tools that let you finish early and avoid having to work beyond your normal working hours.
6. Empower your team
At the start of the pandemic, there was increased pressure to work longer hours to ensure business survival. However, after over a year of dealing with COVID-19, it has become more and more evident that it is equally important to create a humane workplace.
As a leader, there are much better ways to keep a business afloat than driving a workforce to overexertion and stress. So instead of asking people to work overtime, encourage innovation and creativity at work to adapt to the changing business environment. Do away with unrealistic goals that jeopardize people’s well-being. Cultivate the skills of staff who have the potential to become leaders who can help build your business through changing times.
SpectrumWise is the business partner that will relieve you of all your IT-related burdens. We can provide your business’s every technical support need so you can focus on building your company and still keep staff morale high. Ask us about the best business technology solutions for your organization.