Rest Well to Excel
The recent heat wave has been welcoming and yet exhausting to us that are used to damper climes in Ireland! Our Summer is producing great weather for us to enjoy this year. Long, warm evenings allow us to finish work at our usual time and yet still have several hours to spend in the brightness of the day.
These long evenings allow us to feel there is more balance to life than just work!
In the western world of commerce and economics, work ethic is important in the work place. Strong work ethics and endurance are admired as positive personal characteristics for successful people in the work place. However, nobody can continue to run at full steam without stopping at some point for a rest.
“Any animal will eventually die if not permitted to sleep.
Rats will die after 2 to 3 weeks of total sleep deprivation or after 5 weeks of partial sleep deprivation.” (Rechtschaffen & Bergmann, 1995).
Athletes have realised this for years. In face, the training technique of HIIT (High Intensity Training) works on the basis that hard work followed by rest in a repeated fashion is the optimum way to burn calories. HIIT is almost like a synopsis of what hard work followed by good quality rest in our daily lives looks like!
How many times have you worked crazy hours to achieve a target or project deadline?
How often have you found that you were no longer productive after a certain number of hours in the day?
Research has shown time and time again that productivity declines as the number of hours increase beyond the standard day. Quite a few people feel that long hours gives the perception that they are working harder and producing more results. Presenteeism does not add to the productivity of a company in a cost effective way. If anything, it will result in burn out and a possible exodus of the hardest working employees due to unsustainability!
Millennials in the work place have brought a freshness to the work place.
As a generation, they place work-life balance at a higher priority than previous generations. Whilst older generations may be cynical about this, this new generation has had a positive impact on the market.
Companies now offer flexible working, remote working and various other fun benefits to satisfy this new generation. It’s an offering that works for both employer and employee. Look at New Zealand – people work hard there and they also spend their personal time with family and friends, rather than pastimes such as Netflix!
We have been taught throughout our lives in education and work that effort produces results.
We are taught that “putting our shoulder to the wheel” will give us the desired outcome. It goes against this teaching to leave the work place to rest when a project deadline is nigh!
However; what is often surprising to us all that when we do take that break or lunch hour – that is often the time when we think of a solution to achieving our outcome faster!
This was shown to be scientifically accurate in a study completed in 2012 by Benjamin Baird and Jonathan Schooler, psychologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. There were four groups of students; one group of which was given a break with undemanding activities to complete. The students who had done the undemanding activity performed an average of 41% better than the other three groups (who showed no improvement) at the repeated tasks the second time they tried them.
By resting and allowing our mind to wander, we allow our creativity to kick in and suddenly solutions and ideas spring to mind. It certainly sounds like a positive benefit to working to a point where sufficient rest is obtained.