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Campaigns Mental health - news

Better Work/Life Balance for Business Leaders

20 Jun 2019

Stressed woman with post-its stuck to faceIn this hyper-connected world, business leaders can feel under pressure to be available anytime, anywhere; but to what end? Responses to the IoD Survey, Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace: Your experiences, thoughts and feelings, reflected that a huge 66%* of business leaders felt that a lack of work/life balance contributed negatively to their mental health at work.

How do you keep on top of the juggle between home life and your business and ensure that your quest for company success doesn’t restrict your capacity for fun, family and friends? Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at IoD campaign partner Westfield Health, discusses 5 signs that your work is impacting on your home life and how you can avoid job burnout.

With a rise in longer working days and flexible hours, it can often be hard for the head of an organisation to switch off from work whilst at home. In most cases, employees are completely unaware that their job is slowly taking over their life, however, no matter what your position, it’s important to maintain a good work/life balance to ensure you stay happy and healthy.

1. Developed unhealthy or out of character habits Constant overworking may cause you to take your eye off things that are important to you or pick up unhealthy habits like over-eating or excessive drinking.

It’s important to take time to look after yourself and do what you love outside of work. Sticking to a routine will help you stay organised and on-track with other aspects of your life whilst busy at work.

2. You’re a victim of ‘leavism’ Leavism is the latest coined phrase to define working during non-paid hours or annual leave. If you’re heading up a company, you may feel the need to be constantly on-hand or too scared to book annual leave through the fear of missing out on work. Leave your laptop at the office to avoid being tempted to work during your spare time.

3. You’re always tired If you are stressed and over-worked, you are likely to feel tired both on the job and at home. New research has revealed that almost half (46%) of working Brits say they regularly turn up to their jobs feeling too tired to work and a surprising 1 in 10 say they have purposefully taken a nap at work.**

Not only does fatigue impact on performance, it will impact on your physical and mental health which may result in having to take sick leave.

4. Spending minimal time with loved ones If you are so engrossed in work that you have neglected your favourite hobbies or lost interest in socialising altogether, you may need to restore some work life balance. Leadership responsibilities can often take up a lot of your personal life, but it’s vital to ensure you are still seeing friends and family. To help stick to this, be strict with allocating a certain amount of time each day to socialising or doing activities outside of work.

5. You talk about work all the time When running an organisation, you may find the time you are with loved ones is spent thinking about work-related problems or discussing your latest project. It’s good to share some workplace worries with those closest to you, but discussing every aspect of your working day will mean you struggle to switch off. The key to a healthy work life balance is to understand the need to talk about important work problems whilst restricting the time spent doing so.

For more tips on how to manage the mental health and wellbeing of yourself as a business leaders, as well as that of your workplace, download the IoD’s Mapping Mental Health for Business Leaders action pack, available here.


IoD Survey, Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace: Your experiences, thoughts and feelings, conducted between November–December 2018, number of respondents: 529

** Westfield Health Survey, The Exhaustion Epidemic: Fatigued on the Job, conducted in September 2018, number of respondents: 1001

Return to the IoD Mental Health hub

Contact Press Office

Euan Holmes, Press Officer

020 7451 3280


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