Why you should leave work on time and how to do it

With competition for jobs and career advancement never greater, employees are under increasing pressure to be seen as the hard worker who ‘puts in the hours’ and is among the last to exit the office each evening. This is a worrying trend: a study by Kansas State University showed people working more than 50 hours a week were more likely to skip meals and experienced higher rates of depression.

With your work performance, not to mention general wellbeing, at stake, it’s time you took some steps towards a timely exit each day:

1. Lose the guilt
Be prepared to get tough with yourself: staying beyond your allotted work hours might be an occasional, necessary requirement but avoid getting into a mindset where putting in face time each evening is the norm. Start putting your own work and wellbeing first and ignore what the rest of the office are doing.

2. Know what’s expected of you
Not all organisations want their employees burning themselves out working late into the night. A number are even introducing policies such as R.O.W.E. (Result Only Work Environment) that expressly contradict this approach. It’s worth taking the time to understand what’s really expected of you before making assumptions.

3. Maximise your time
That said, it’s hard to justify a dash for the door when you’ve frittered away company time on online shopping, polishing your LinkedIn profile and long chats by the water cooler. Capping these distractions to 15 minutes or so each day will stop you feeling like you need to worker longer to make up for it.

4. Structure your overtime
No matter how organised or productive you set out to be each morning, it just takes one issue or email for everything to start spilling over. Structuring your overtime, perhaps allocating a set evening or early morning each week to deal with any add-ons will help to stop these diversions from eating into the rest of your week.

While workplace pressures can be hard to ignore, the good news is that employers are coming round to the concept of work-life balance. Though easier said than done, being satisfied with your own performance and achievements at the end of each day should really be what matters most.

2015
wellbeing, organisation,
Reference: Forbes; Entrepreneur; The Muse; LinkedIn
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