Hard work? It’s something to be proud of. And working hard means putting in a lot of hours. Five days a week, eight hours a day. And those with real ambition will not hesitate to do much more.
There remains a lingering idea that this is the only way to get the most out of your career, that this is the only way to achieve your goals. In some circles, one even hears boasting about it: “I work sixty hours a week. – ‘I have often reached eighty.’
The only thing that can be concluded is that the people who say this don’t care about their own priorities, they care about someone else’s priorities.
But sitting in your desk chair, Googling your own name, waiting for the boss to leave the building, is not – I repeat: none – a job.
Fortunately, there is also another visible trend. There is a growing understanding of working from home and flexible working hours. The idea that a job can be more than just sitting at your desk in the morning and leaving at night might not be too groundbreaking, but it took a pandemic for many to realize that work is more than just present.
If your personal life suffers from your work, your work will eventually suffer too
A good time to take it seriously is better for everyone. Because what we have also learned in recent years is that a disturbed work-life balance does not help anyone at all.
In short, if your personal life suffers from your job, your job will eventually suffer as well.
Trials with 4-day work week
Employers increasingly understand that a good balance is also in their own interest. It is therefore not surprising that all kinds of experiments are launched around the world to achieve this. The most popular attempt is the four-day work week.
In the UK they took it this year thoroughly on. With government support, 3,300 people went from five to four days a week in one fell swoop, while maintaining full wages. In return, employees were asked to at least try to do the same amount of work.
With 80% of Brits saying they prefer a four-day working week, the motivation to get the job done will be high. The hope is that it will ultimately be good for employees and businesses. It is certain that 20% less trips are good for the environment. As beautiful.
Less stress, work better
The four-day work week is not the Holy Grail either. You can’t take a day off in all sectors and do the same job. For a chief, a firefighter or a train conductor, this becomes rather inconvenient. It is therefore always good to discuss with the employees themselves how you can improve work-life balance.
After a day at work, how often do you feel like you haven’t accomplished much?
But with classic office jobs, it always pays to at least try. A number of similar small-scale experiments have already yielded excellent results.
To the Perpetual Guardian company in New Zealand for example. 78% of the 240 employees said they had experienced a better work-life balance. They had less stress at work, felt more motivated and worked better.
Do the same thing in less time
It’s not that surprising. It’s quite simple: try to do the same job 80% of the time and you will do the same job 80% of the time.
After a day at work, how often do you feel like you haven’t accomplished much? And how often is it because you have too much time to finish something? Why take longer than necessary to do something? Who wins with this? Nobody.
It’s the 40 hour work week, the fact that you work 40 hours is paid, it makes you feel like you have to do at least 40 hours as well. But just try to do it in 32 hours or 28 hours. We’ve already shared some tips for doing just that: get rid of unnecessary meetings, stop the whirlwind of replies, and work offline whenever possible.
Bottom line: make it easier for yourself to focus on what you really need to do and you can take an extra day off.
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