4 reasons you should take time out over the festive season

Sometimes it’s easier to just get it done, right? Even if it means cutting back on sleep, missing meals and ignoring that niggling cough for a while. We’ve all been there, and most of the time we’re lucky enough to escape from super busy periods relatively unscathed.

But there are genuine risks to working too much. In fact, it’s entirely possible to work yourself to death, in extreme cases, as work-related fatigue can lead to a lack of concentration or awareness that can prove fatal.

The truth is, no matter how much we want to do it all, working too much is bad for us. Here are four reasons why you need time out this Christmas and why taking a break will help you work better in the long run:

1. Presenteeism is a thing – and it’s costly

Psychologist and organisational management specialist Cary Cooper has coined it presenteeism – the loss of productivity that occurs when employees come to work when they’re sick. Presenteeism is what sees that virus spread throughout the office, or a little chest infection turn into something far more serious, and it makes employees more prone to workplace accidents too.

According to a 2011 research study conducted by Medibank, the annual cost of presenteeism to the Australian economy exceeds $34 billion. So, working when you’re sick is not only bad for your own health, it’s damaging to the business’s bottom-line.

2. It’s harder to make decisions when you’re tired

Do you pride yourself on your good judgement? Turns out sleep deprivation can severely impair your concentration and decision-making abilities – and that sleep you sacrificed to finish the job sooner may in fact slow you down. Sleep is intimately connected to productivity, and lack of sleep – like presenteeism – can come at a real cost to your performance, and that of the business as a whole.

3. Setting a bad example regarding work-life balance

When your employees want to know what you really think, they’ll watch how you act. You might be telling them that work-life balance is important to the business, but if they see management working to the point of exhaustion, they’ll soon catch on that this is a cultural requirement.

It’s not just when you refuse to take sick days, either. When you consistently email after hours or come in to work during your annual leave, you may unintentionally signal to employees that they themselves shouldn’t take the breaks they need.

4. You miss the chance to enjoy your success

There will always be more work to do and another goal to achieve. When you don’t allow yourself time to take stock, you miss the chance to enjoy your success, and you don’t give yourself the opportunity to understand what really motivates you in your working life.

After all, working hard is not the cause of your enjoyment, right? What is it about your job that motivates you to work so hard? If you understand what it is you really love, you’ve got an insurance against working too hard, and consequently, burning out.

By taking a well-deserved break this festive season, you’ll work better, not harder, preserve your motivation and your health – not to mention that good judgement! – in the process.
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SEEK Insights & Resources

SEEK is the destination of choice for job-seekers and hirers in Australia, acting as the conduit between hirers looking to fill vacant roles and candidates looking for work across many and varied industries. SEEK's mission is to help people live...

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