Learn why you might want to reconsider working after hours and on the weekends.
While staying up to date with the latest news regarding what seems to be a never-ending pandemic, you might have come across a new law Ontario has put in place attempts to establish better work-life balance.
Over the last two years, the work landscape has shifted in an enormous way. From WFH and hybrid models to the Great Resignation, professionals are thinking more and more about the proverbial pedestal on which they’ve been placing their jobs. In turn, employers are having to take a serious look at the needs of their employees and how they can provide them with just as much value as they bring to their companies on a daily basis.
And with this new law in place, it begs the question: Why do we often feel the need to work after hours or worse, on the weekends in the first place?
The point of the act is to give Ontario employees the “right to disconnect,” a concept that has been attracting more interest since remote working became the new normal in North America. But even with the absence of a nagging boss, will it be enough to keep busy professionals from doing too much on their own accord?
Let’s discuss a few reasons why you might want to reconsider putting in all those extra hours at the office and sacrificing your potential for better work-life balance.
1. Reduced Productivity
Contrary to what you might think, long work hours are often counterproductive. Ford Motor Company proved this in the 1990s through a series of studies that showed every additional 20 hours of work above the recommended 40 hours resulted in an increase in productivity only for three to four weeks before productivity turned negative. If you consistently work long hours, you get burned out and inevitably start falling behind in your duties. Productivity declines, and you have to spend more hours trying to catch up on neglected tasks.
2. Increased Fatigue
Fatigue sets in when you work extended hours over a long period of time. Symptoms of fatigue from extended workdays include sleepiness, weariness, poor concentration, irritability, and increased susceptibility to illness. These symptoms are a significant hindrance to productivity. If you don’t stop and rest from work, fatigue will increase and become overwhelming.
3. Neglected Social Life
You will find your home life, including your friends and family, inevitably get pushed to the wayside as you try to maintain a 50+ hour workweek. Free time to spend with family and close friends is simply inadequate with this work schedule. Extended work hours can also reduce the quality of your life by conflicting with quality time for family and time for other responsibilities and needs outside work. Stop working long hours and get a life outside of work.
4. Health Risks
Odds are, when you work long hours, you are doing it at the expense of not only your family and close friends, but also your diet, exercise routine, and sanity. The more you try to prove you are a passionate and productive team player at work, the more you get forgotten by your kids, spouse, and dog; and the more your mind registers stress. Not to mention, all those deadlines you’re trying to hit – which if you keep up at this pace, you won’t, by the way – are likely to fill you with constant anxiety.
When you consistently work after hours and on the weekends, consider who this is serving in the long run. Managing how to be efficient in the time given, vs being less productive during the day because you can “do it on the weekend” is a terrible mindset for you, your employer (if you have one) and your clients!. Remind yourself that no gold star at the end of the day is worth the strain it will inevitably put on your life. Don’t wait for a new law to get passed in your region to demand necessary downtime from your employer when you need it.