We live in a society that glamorizes the hustle. We feel like we’re accomplishing something when we’re busy. We’ve allowed technology to make it nearly impossible to punch out for the day, and the problem has only grown since the pandemic. Those working remotely struggle to walk away from their work at the end of the day. Their tasks creep into their personal time.
Research has “found that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared with a working week of 35 to 40 hours.”
We’ve created a pace for our lives that is unsustainable and dangerous. Chances are, you already know the pace you’re running at isn’t healthy. You might find yourself on the edge of burnout and exhaustion, but as the leader, you don’t see an option to work less.
Reasons for long work hours
There are several common reasons why people are working too many hours:
- Company culture demands it. It’s hard to punch out and head home at 5 pm when you know your boss’ unspoken expectation is for everyone to work late every day. You know you’re working in a company with an unhealthy culture when it seems workers are competing to see who can show up first and stay the latest.
- The work never stops. It feels impossible not to work extra hours when the tasks are piling up. When there is a shortage of workers or a business is in growth mode, it’s easy to hit the point of too much work and not enough time. As a responsible person, you feel the need to get the work done even at the expense of your personal life.
- You don’t know how to delegate. We see this in people often. You either think you are the only person who can get the job done right so you hold onto it, or you try to delegate it but don’t really let go of the controls. So, you micromanage your team because you don’t trust them.
- You have poor time management skills. Some people have enough time in their workday, but they don’t use it properly. Doing things like stopping tasks to read an email every time you receive one, taking calls all day long, and being addicted to looking at the numbers slow you down. You can’t get in a flow for deep work because you’re constantly distracted.
Whatever your reason is for working long hours, it’s essential to acknowledge that it’s not sustainable long term. In addition, if you’re a manager, your work habits may be rubbing off on your employees. They may feel the need to work long hours because you do. For example, if you’re working on the weekend and sending them emails, they may feel pressured into responding. This can result in a lack of boundaries and burnout, resentful employees.
Tips for working less without accomplishing less
There are four keys to working fewer hours while accomplishing more:
When you properly include these four things in your workday, you will work less. You will make better use of the time you have. In addition, implementing these four keys will also transform the way your team works together.
If you want help learning how you can implement these strategies in your company and workday, schedule a consultation with a SPEARity business consultant today.