As a director, partner, entrepreneur or business owner you are probably like myself. Focused, driven, determined and hard working. Also like myself you probably find it difficult to switch off ‘work mode’.
Occasionally I manage to work less than 60 hours a week. But vary rarely. Some statistics have been brought to my attention recently which mean that I must change this pattern of behaviour.
Long Hours = Bad For Business
Is there any positives to work these hours? Not apparently. According to research by Pencavel in 2015, “Long weekly hours and long daily hours do not necessarily yield high outputs.” In fact he found that it, “increases the probability of errors, accidents and sickness.” This means while I and others may think we are working for the greater good of our business, in reality we may actually be harming it.
Harmful to our Health
We are also not just harming the business, but also our health. A study carried out by scientists at the University College of London has concluded that those working 55 hours plus face a 33% increased risk of strokes, compared to those working 35 – 40 hour weeks. There is also a 13% increase in heart disease. The study involved nearly 530,000 men and women who were followed for up to an average of 7.2 years. This increase in risk is thought to be connected to the levels of stress that those working longer are faced with.
Although this isn’t something which can be pinpointed, the scientists involved in the study stated that, ‘sudden death from overwork is often caused by stroke and is believed to result from a repetitive trigger of the stress response.” I am almost certain that no business will do well from the unexpected loss of it’s director. Not only are we harming our health, but we are putting the business in serious jeopardy.
Harmful to the Business
In fact a study by Legal and General has highlighted that,
‘95% of businesses have at least one key individual, but the majority have no contingency plan to protect the business, should that person die. In fact 39% expected their business to fold due to the death of that key person.’
This fact is quite shocking.
What Can You Do?
What can you do about it? Well thats where it gets pretty simple. Either continue down your current path, over work and high stress…or start delegating. Cut down on your hours, use some strategies to help lower stress levels. This is what I personally will be endeavouring to do. Here are a couple of strategies that I will be implementing:
Tips To Lower Stress
– Take up an absorbing hobby. Physical activities are apparently great as they allow your mind to immerse itself in something other than work, providing you with the opportunity to ‘think laterally’.
– Create a relaxing ritual which tells the brain the work day has finished. Stay away from screens, at least for the first 30 minutes. Sit in the garden, read a book or just have a bath or shower as soon as you come home. Make sure you are allowing yourself the time to switch off and relax.
– Separate life and work by having separate phones, iPads or computers. If they’re used for work they should either be left at work or switched off when at home. Having easy access to work materials is too tempting.