“Employees who integrated work into their non-work life reported being more exhausted because they recovered less,” the lead study author said
Draw some boundaries or suffer the consequences.
Folks who blur the lines between work and personal life can wind up more exhausted, according to a new study from Switzerland’s University of Zurich and the University of South Florida. That’s because people who don’t forge those work-life boundaries are less likely to partake in activities that help them decompress.
“Employees who integrated work into their non-work life reported being more exhausted because they recovered less,” lead study author Ariane Wepfer said in a statement. “This lack of recovery activities furthermore explains why people who integrate their work into the rest of their lives have a lower sense of well-being.”
The online study recruited 1,916 workers from German-speaking countries — aged 42.3 years old on average — and asked about their capacity to handle work-life boundaries and the frequency with which they thought about work off the clock, brought work home and worked over the weekend. The researchers also asked participants how hard they worked to ensure work didn’t seep into their personal lives, plus whether they carved out post-work time for hobbies, sports or social life.
Unsurprisingly, the workers who failed to establish that work-life boundary “reported less recovery activities and in turn were more exhausted and experienced less work-life balance.”
These findings have implications for HR professionals and company policies, the authors wrote. “Organizational policy and culture should be adjusted to help employees manage their work-non-work boundaries in a way that does not impair their well-being,” Wepfer said. “After all, impaired well-being goes hand in hand with reduced productivity and reduced creativity.”
Companies had better hurry: A third of full-time employees said juggling work and life had grown harder over the last five years, according to a global 2015 Ernst and Young report — and almost one in six American millennials said they’d experienced a negative consequence due to a flexible work schedule.
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