National Go Home On Time Day November 17th, 2010, by Ken Buckley

Wednesday of next week – 24th November – is National Go Home on Time Day – an undertaking by the Australia Institute to try and get some work/life balance back for Australian workers.

You might want to read the article we wrote a few weeks ago about the benefits of incorporating work life balance based initiatives into your corporate health program for better mental and physical health for your employees and better morale and productivity overall.

According to the Australia Institute, Australian employees are working some of the longest hours in the world. Coining the term “time poverty”, the concern is that excessive workloads are leading to vital healthy behaviours such as physical exercise and proper nutrition falling by the wayside.

Many overworked employees compound this problem by being “too busy” to get regular health checks, with some unfortunately not even seeking medical help for serious health concerns. Mental health also suffers with lack of sleep and pressure on relationships leading to stress and depression.

It’s bad for the employee, but also bad for the employer. Companies need to be aware that staff are not necessarily more productive the more hours they put in. In fact, with too much overtime linked to many debilitating illnesses such as obesity, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, headaches and heart disease, all those extra hours could be severely undermining productivity on the whole and increasing absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace.

Conversely, when we proactively tackle the issue of work life balance with open negotiations and policies for flexible working hours, we are supporting employees to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing.

Staff are able to strike a healthy balance between work and life outside of work, and also work better in an environment that encourages greater employee wellbeing and mutual respect. Not only is productivity maximised, but also employee retention in the long run.

Australian bank ME (Members Equity) have put their hand up as an employer fully embracing a culture of work life balance and have said they will be encouraging their employees to go home on time next week, and hopefully as we approach the day other companies will also be taking the opportunity to address ‘time poverty’ and incorporate it into their corporate wellness program.

The Go Home on Time Day website suggests a range of ways to get involved, including a BBQ or morning tea to raise awareness of the day, and cute downloadable leave passes to help people commit to a time and stick to it. So turn off the computer on November 24th, put down the phone, and head for home, your corporate gym, to meet some friends or whatever may relax and restore you. I bet we’ll all feel more refreshed and ready for the next working day!

For more information on Work Life Balance, contact Healthworks on 1300 90 10 90 (International: IDD 61-2-9954-1888 ) and be sure to quote: “post842” for eligibility of Healthworks latest online offers and Corporate Health initiatives.

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