Is Sunday really the new Monday?
As out of hours emails rocket, commencing the working week on a Sunday, rather than the traditional Monday morning, is fast becoming the new norm. A resulting LinkedIn study showed that 80 per cent of working adults experience a rise in work-related stress on Sunday evenings.
And according to a survey, people now spend one-third of their time at the office, and half of the time they work at home, reading and answering emails.
The rise of a 24/7 working culture has been expedited as we find ourselves with ever increasing access to office technology on our smartphones. But if job responsibilities are slowly eating into our supposed leisure time, this will surely disrupt the finely tuned work-life balance that we so desperately strive to achieve.
This means that the ‘Sunday Blues’ could quite simply result in even the most keen of workers becoming disillusioned, unmotivated and even close to burn-out. The World Health Organisation recently turned its attention to burn-out, describing it as an “occupational phenomenon” which results in chronic workplace stress.
All of the above will inevitably take their toll on morale, wellbeing, productivity and, ultimately, profit margins and company reputation.
This means that there is a strong argument to say that working over the weekend or after hours during the week should not signal commitment, but rather poor time management or bad job design.
Here, we look at ways in which businesses can tick off their entire workload, and keep their employees happy, during opening hours only:
Operate a strict no out-of-hours emails policy
Some businesses are now pushing back against working on a Sunday by creating and enforcing no nights or weekends email policies and that the delivery of such messages must be delayed until at least Monday morning. Some companies go one step further and implement blanket work blackouts during annual leave and holidays.
Communication is vital for a productive workforce and technology allows us to contact one another at the click of a button. But as research reveals that people spend a total of 17 hours per week reading and responding to emails, both at work and home, businesses need to think about operating differently. Try not to be so reliant on emails and social networking tools. Simply pick up the phone or book in a face-to-face meeting to swiftly settle a matter that might have taken hours to resolve via email.
As the World Health Organisation embarks on the development of evidence-based guidelines on mental well-being in the workplace, it makes sense for businesses to promote and support employee well-being.
This can be achieved through wellness programs, which may take the form of therapy sessions and workshops which cover mindfulness, resilience and performance. The benefits of these schemes are that they can help people to cope when life feels difficult, while improving concentration and performance, which has the added bonus of reducing the number of sick days taken.
Once reserved for a limited number of employees, flexible working now provides the perfect solution for people’s varying lifestyles, enabling them to strike a realistic work-life balance. Examples of this could include later morning starts, early finishes, remote home working a few days each week or compressed hours, whereby someone does their full-time hours over a fewer number of working days.
If businesses introduce flexible working, they would find that they are officially open outside of the less traditional 9 to 5. This could benefit international operations and means that your business is available for clients to contact during a wider scope of hours.
Evaluate task distribution and delegation
Companies should review their internal processes and assess whether they have the right levels of task distribution across their workforce. Taking the time to delegate correctly will ensure maximum efficiency across your business. Give larger responsibilities to longer-serving or more qualified employees and trust they will step up to the challenge. Meanwhile, give more junior staff members the chance to gain skills and leadership experience that will ultimately benefit your business. This will motivate them to prove they are right for the role.
Match skills to tasks
Knowing your workers’ skills and ways of working is essential for maximising efficiency. Think about their personality type and the types of task they would be best-suited to. Try to create a workforce whose core strengths, when brought together, bring variety, creativity and vibrancy to your business.
By following our tips you can manage your workload and increase productivity, all while banishing those Sunday Blues for good.