Today (23 September 2015) is ‘Go Home on Time Day’, a campaign set up by the Working Families charity to raise awareness for the need for a better work-life balance for everyone.
Here in the UK we work some of the longest hours in Europe. Studies have shown that long hours are linked with stress, heart disease and mental-health issues, and that long working hours do not equate to increased productivity. Stress accounts for one of the most common causes of long and short-term sickness absence and long hours are often cited in stress related claims against employers.
But what about the employee who won’t go home on time?
Employers need to be clear on the difference between pressure and stress. It is healthy for employees to have challenges to meet and a reasonable amount of pressure can in fact have a beneficial effect in improving performance and job satisfaction.
However, too much pressure can be harmful to health and result in stress-related claims.The common early warning signs of stress at work include: loss of motivation; poor timekeeping; uncharacteristic displays of emotion; isolation; an increase in poor decision making; missing deadlines or poor planning and individuals working extra-long hours.
Whilst well meaning, encouraging an employee to go home on time does not of itself help the employee to achieve a better work-life balance or reduce stress levels. An excessive work load won’t go away simply because a manager encourages the employee to go home on time. The key is to spot and act on early warning signs of stress and encourage practices within the workplace which help your employees achieve a better work-life balance. For further information read our blogs on the top ten tips for helping employees to achieve a work-life balance, and the most common mistakes employers make when dealing with workplace stress.
So do ‘Go Home on Time’ today if you can, and encourage your teams to do the same!