Overworking? How to fix your unhealthy work habits

During the global pandemic, so many of us got used to working from home and no longer commuting to the office. Given this new-found flexibility, we finally had the opportunity to rethink our work-life balance, or in some instances, our lack of one. But even though we recognised that a lot of us harbour unhealthy work habits, overcoming them and making sure we live a more balanced work-life lifestyle is much harder than it sounds.

Ioana Lupu, an associate professor at the ESSEC Business School in France and her research team interviewed 78 professionals working in London where they discovered that people were fine with putting up with jobs they described as demanding, exhausting, and chaotic.

To help achieve a better work-life balance, the employees came up with various ideas, the most common one being the need to combine reflexivity with intentional role definition. Lupu adds onto this, stating that the journey to achieving work-life balance is like a cycle. Five stages make up this cycle:

  • First, stop and denormalise the things that are causing stress
  • Second, pay attention to your emotions and ask yourself how you really feel about the things you’re being asked to do at work
  • Third, reprioritize your workload by putting your tasks into perspective
  • Fourth, examine your choices to make sure you’re happy
  • Lastly, implement your changes. These could include a “public change” that modifies your colleagues’ expectations of your availability or a “personal change” involving your own mindset.

Overall, if there’s one thing that we should learn from working from home, it’s that we should not be back-sliding into ‘business as usual’ once we’ve decided to address over-working. If Covid-19 has taught us one thing, it is the need to work smarter, not harder.


This article is based on a research piece ‘Overworking? How to fix your unhealthy work habits’ authored Academy Reporting, for WORKTECH Academy.


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