📤This is the Latest Work Trend to Cure Burnout and Stress! But is it all that it’s Worked out to be?

Talking to people about work the number one thing they’re all saying is how they feel burnt out, stressed and a general sense of feeling overworked and pushed to the edge. Working-from-home, or in some cases working-from-anywhere(!) opened itself up to all sorts of possibilities and flexible working meaning we have way better work-life balances but has the balance been skewed? 

During the pandemic and the never-ending lockdowns, we were home all day. Working all day. Many found it hard to switch off. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, many felt glued to their screens. Since many bedrooms had to become a quickie makeshift office, it meant you slept with your work. 24/7. No wonder many found it hard to turn off! When you leave the office, you don’t come home and finish where you left off. No. There’s a barrier to your work that the commute gives. It forces us to leave work where it belongs: at work. 

But lockdown blurred the lines. Most workers were commuting from their bed to their desk which, for many, (myself included!) was less than 2 feet. It took real effort to split work and life. And for some workers (especially mums) who had young kids at home it was like trying to juggle 25 pineapples on your head while trying to walk the plank. Speaking to a teacher who had 5-year-old twins and a 2-year-old in lockdown said she felt herself working to the bone. Burnout is an understatement. 

Slow down in order to speed up

It’s no wonder we’re seeing ‘25 is the new 35’ emerge as a slogan of sorts. A cure for burnout, stress and career fatigue. Often, slowing down is how we speed up. Different parts of your career life (and life life) will need different things. And after a really tiring few years for many workers, part-time work looks to be the silver bullet. Putting in fewer hours to get a better wellbeing. That is how many are seeing it. 

A friend of mine quit her gruelling job at an American investment bank during covid. She said she was being worked to the bone and felt like she had to be on-call 24/7! Literally. They’d email her at all sorts of crazy hours and the worst part was she felt like she never truly got a break. To breathe. She has a super-supportive partner how was able to support them both while she took time off to search for something new – and less crazy! She’s now pursuing a Phd, hoping to secure a scholarship to study what she loves most: art. 

Fewer working hours means more time for yourself 

The number of Americans who now work part-time rose by 1.2 million in Dec and Jan 71% of that was driven by people who chose to work part-time rather than being unable to find full-time work or having their hours cut. The total number of people choosing to work part-time is now almost 6X the 4.1 million who are working part-time but would prefer full-time hours. That is the highest ratio it’s been in 2 decades! 

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

The numbers are telling us something here: workers are overwhelmed and one sure solution to work burnout is working less! This rise in part-timers shows us just how tight the labour market has become and what with our still-high, very much double-digit inflation that’s lingering like a bad smell, some retirees are coming back to the workforce since they need that extra income and so they’re taking on part-time work rather than chugging out 35+ hours a week. 

Not everyone can afford to do it 

But not everyone has the luxury of being able to say no to working more and take a salary cut for working less. Since it’s not like our bills are going down with it! We still have our mortgage payments, electricity bills, food ect. Plus with inflation still being high (it’s stubbornly sitting at 10% here) and interest rates giving our money a real kick in the butt, not all of us can afford the luxury of cutting down on work. 

Luckily, there are other ways to get your mojo back and cure career burnout!  

Your career is like a marathon not a sprint. And it took me 6 months into my job to realise that. I can’t keep chugging out excellent work 24/7, while still making time for my studies (yeah, I have to take exams!), socialising and all the other things that are important to me and make up my life. I realised I was feeling burnt out, a little on edge and not delivering as I’d normally have liked. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

And that’s when it hit me that I had to take regular breaks and schedule that as part of my routine. We are not robots. Much as we think (or wish?) we are. We humans need breaks. Breaks are like fuel. Without them, you’ll run outa steam and come to a crashing halt. 

I recently took 5 days off work simply to recharge my batteries. I didn’t travel anywhere, didn’t do anything crazy other than binge 3 books in the space of 3 days and spend quality time with the people I love most. 

We have annual leave for a reason! Use it! And space it out throughout the year. There’s no point going away for 3+ weeks gobbling up all your holiday in one go. Spread it out. Every so often take some time off. Unwind, relax and indulge in what makes you happiest. For me that’s people + books! 

So no matter whether you’ve chosen the 25-hour work week as a part-timer and found it gives you that cure for easing stress and burnout or whether you’re still grinding out those 35-hour work weeks (or more!) make taking a break a priority of yours. 

We all need different things and career fulfilment comes in loads of shapes and sizes so find your fit! 

Disclaimer: This blog is not investment or financial advice. It is my opinion only. This blog is not a personal recommendation to buy/sell any security, or to adopt any such investment strategy. Always do your own research before you commit to any investment