By: First Union
Should You Work On Weekends?
With businesses slowly starting to open up again and the economy starting to show signs of life, many small business owners are trying to make up for the lost time. It makes sense. After a very prolonged period of lockdown, having companies close their doors and lay off employees, many are eager to come roaring back and hopefully start making some money again. And certainly, working as much as you possibly can seem like a good plan moving forward as you strive to recoup lost earnings. However, before adopting a 24/7 "nothing but work" mentality, you might want to reconsider spending ALL of your time trying to rebuild and get back on track. Many experts say that not taking time off, or not allowing yourself to relax on the weekend can do more harm than good, especially right now, after everything we've just gone through.
Setting boundaries for your life and work is essential. That phrase worklife balance is so readily used for a reason. You need this. So what can you do to ensure that you're not running yourself ragged working and consequently getting that much-required downtime…
There Are Health Risks Associated
A recent UK study conducted with both women and men came back with some pretty eye-opening results regarding people working weekends:
- Of those women who did work on weekends, they tended to be more depressed than those who did not.
- Men also fell into the same categories, and those men who did work weekends tended to resent their working conditions.
- When women worked more than fifty hours per week, their depression rose.
Given the time we live in now, the rise of the gig economy, the shift to remote work which was greatly sped up by the virus, it is quite easy to be always connected to work and thus feel that you always have to be "on." We most definitely have the capacity and the technology to run our business or do our job throughout the entire weekend, and yet this doesn't mean that that is the smart thing to do.
We live in a culture that demands we work even when we're supposed to be off; it's a culture that expects that we drive ourselves without letting up. However, if we learned anything from the past few months, it should be that we need critical time for self-care. Be it relaxing, getting outdoors, meditating, reading a good book, whatever people need to do to recharge and refuel themselves to face that workweek, then they have to carve out time for those activities—and weekends are great for doing just that.
Numerous health experts are quick to point out that always being "on" takes a pretty significant mental and physical toll. Stress then builds up and while certainly, it is harmful from a health standpoint, stress also has a way of decreasing productivity. The longer ours we put in, the higher the stress levels, the less we get done. So working weekends doesn't necessarily mean you're being more productive—in fact, the opposite could just as well be true.
Working Weekends Affects Women More
Several studies have shown that working on the weekends tends to have a more measurable impact on women than it does their male counterparts. This could very well be attributed to the fact that in many households women do tend to hold down more of the parenting responsibilities, not to mention they perform the bulk of the household chores to include cooking. Now, certainly, this is not the case everywhere, but in several instances, women are feeling the pinch in light of such circumstances.
A study conducted by the United Nations in 2018, did find that women do approximately 2.5 times the amount of domestic-based work as men. This coupled with many women taking work home on the weekends seriously hampers the amount of time they get to spend on themselves. Which again leads to greater stress. Another 2015 study concurs, showing that on average women do spend over twice as much time cooking, cleaning, and engaging in other such household tasks. Men on the other hand were cited to spend twice as much time attending to lawn care and outdoor-related jobs. Many of those interviewed in both studies were aware of the apparent gender gap when it came to household responsibilities.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries
So what can you do (women and men/) to set necessary boundaries so that you do get some "me" time and consequently not allow your weekend to be swallowed up solely by work?
- Do Things You Know Need to Get Done. In other words, if during the week you have a project that needs to be dealt with, don't procrastinate and put it off. The more you can do during the actual workweek, the less will be waiting for you when the weekend rolls around.
- Have Expectations for Your Downtime. Meaning, be proactive about allotting time on the weekend for you, for the activities you enjoy, for just relaxing. Maybe refrain from taking your work laptop home; this way it'll be less of a temptation.
- Disconnect. This isn't to say turn everything off for the entire weekend, but do give yourself a break from all of the "noise." It's okay to put that cell phone down now and again.
- Don't Leave Co-Workers with The Expectation that You'll be Checking in. If you and your co-workers are friends outside of work that's one thing, but if you intend to get a hold of them solely to talk about work, that's another. If you leave the door open, then odds are they will send work emails or work-related texts and of course, expect you to answer. Just say goodbye, have a nice weekend and I'll see you Monday.
First Union Lending has been helping small business owners get back on their feet during this difficult time, and we can certainly help you. Call today to see how our financing solutions can meet your business needs.