I always have my phone on me, so it only seems natural to respond to emails and messages when I’m just lounging on the sofa in my pyjamas, right? In fact, the latest data from CV-Library has found that 48.4% of UK workers work longer than their contracted hours, with just under a third of them working 5+ extra hours a week – an extra hour a day on the standard 9-5 office job.
To anyone that knows me knows that I eat, breathe and sleep marketing, but a few weeks ago, for the first time in four years, I began to dread Monday’s – not because I hated my job, but I just really started to dislike the marketing industry as a whole. I felt like I lost my creative-mojo, I would lose sleep thinking about what I could be doing to further improve my clients’ marketing activity and began to sufferfrom extended periods of frustrating brain fog.
To the point where I think my partner had enough of me staring blankly at my new assignment, and so booked us a getaway weekend for my birthday at The Gilpin nestled in one of our favourite getaway spots – the Lake District.
To those that haven’t longingly looked at The Gilpin’s gorgeous lodges, rooms and (more importantly) food, then please do – you can thank me later. The hotel offers picturesque views of the rolling hills of Windermere, the most amazing, luxurious rooms and funnily enough, poor signal – so, with a sigh of relief, my phone stayed in my bag for most of my weekend away.
Now I’m not going to lie, during the first few hours I sat their worried about all of the ‘what ifs’ of work life worries, but I soon relaxed into my new-found digital deficit and gave my undivided attention to my partner for the first time in what felt like a lifetime, drank countless pornstar martinis and ate the most amazing food at The Gilpin’s Michelin star restaurant, HRiSHi.
I woke the next morning feeling refreshed (despite a slight cocktail-hangover) and spent the first 30 minutes of my day taking in the views with a cup of coffee at hand instead of endlessly scrolling through social media – I felt my brain begin to clear of that fog, and my stresses melt away.
After just 2 days of bliss, I returned to work after my digital detox with a spring in my step, feeling refreshed and more creative than I had in MONTHS. My love for my career had finally returned, and I could not wait to get back into the office to smash it, not just for me, but for my clients.
However, this got me thinking – how many people fall out of love with their dream career due to long working hours?
Technology clearly plays a huge role in the ability to work outside of traditional office hours, with the ability to log in to work emails, take calls and action tasks from home. But what does this mean for a healthy work-life balance?
“Employees who integrated work into their non-work life reported being more exhausted because they recovered less,” said study co-author Ariane Wepfer in a press release. “This lack of recovery activities furthermore explains why people who integrate their work into the rest of their lives have a lower sense of well-being.”
Bruce Daisley, VP of Twitter who visited Yogurt Top HQ during January, has recently released a book that touches on the matters at hand. Daisley suggests that we turn off our email notifications on our smartphones in a bid to reduce stress levels and take a digital sabbath.
He states that “we often feel helpless when it comes to disconnecting ourselves from the incoming traffic of messages; yet disconnecting can have the effect of making expectations on us feel less claustrophobic. It also reduces our anxiety levels: as I mentioned before, half of all workers who check their emails out of work hours show signs of being highly stressed.”
The #nodaysoff hashtag on Instagram has nearly 5 million posts. Being exhausted and never taking a break isn’t a glamorous or enviable thing — it can actually be dangerous.
I challenge you this national unplugging day to turn off your phone for an extra hour and take some time to reconnect with your loved ones, take a walk in the outdoors or gaze at the night sky to feel at one with the world again – you’re actually helping your company out in the long run, and you’ll become a better worker in the process.
The real O.G(rady)