- Ricka Robb Kohnstamm
How do you model work hour limits to your team?
Back in the "olden days" of my childhood, my father worked Monday through Friday and Saturday until noon. He came home for lunch, went back to work, and then came back home around 6:00 for dinner with the family. I didn't pay much attention to his schedule but I do remember that he was around and that his being around was expected.
Times were different then. When he locked his office door, work stopped.
Now, it's possible to work almost nonstop - first at the office, then over email or via texting, way into the evening. Personally, I need to discipline myself to "shut it off" because the constant stimulation of being online can be intoxicating.
I know I'm not the only one.
But how does this behavior affect our health? And what are we modeling for people on our teams?
A recent study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine reports that working 61 to 70 hours a week (and yes, being on email late into the night counts as working) increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 42%. Coronary heart disease is already the leading cause of death around the world. The Lancet reports that working long hours increases the risk of stroke, too. Ugh.
And by the way, does working long hours actually help productivity? Studies (and highly productive countries in Europe) show otherwise. There are better ways to be productive.
Hold yourself and your team members accountable for productivity goals, and as a leader, model your understanding of the importance to your health of turning work off.
Lead by example. Your team members (and your family) will thank you.