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Reclaim your life today!

With rising mental and physical health problems linked to the workplace, CABA President Sue Field urges us to take action now and reclaim our personal lives, but doesn’t underestimate how hard this will be, as no one wants to be seen as a shirker.

Sue Field

May 2018

The workplace has changed dramatically since I started work. It used to be the case that once the workday finished, leaving work meant switching off until you got back into the office the next day.

This is sadly no longer the case. Now, technology enables us to keep an eye on work whenever, wherever. It intrudes on our evenings, our weekends and our holidays – no wonder our research has shown that 58% have experienced reduced mental wellbeing, due to poor personal wellbeing at work.

As technology has connected us to the workplace, the trade-off has been the loss of our ability to connect with ourselves. The result is that the working population’s health is deteriorating rapidly, with rising levels of obesity and mental illness.

To rectify this situation, we need to take action now, to reclaim our work-life balance and prioritise our wellbeing.

I don’t underestimate how hard this will be. It takes a lot of courage to push back on workload, especially for those wishing for career progression or wanting to make a good impression.

But if we are to improve our physical and mental wellbeing by reclaiming our free time, this is a necessary first step. These conversations can be very difficult at first, as no one wants to be seen as a shirker.

However, I have learnt that by making a well-thought-out business case, I won my colleagues over. My rationale that taking the time to recover and relax would boost the next day’s productivity was proven over and over, and I would urge anyone at work to take steps – big or small – to enhance their wellbeing.

Whether it’s taking the time to visit the gym three times a week or going for a lunchtime walk, we must not forget the benefits of getting away from work regularly. The irony is, the more time we spend at work, the more our performance will suffer, as we can’t operate at our best levels when tired, anxious or demotivated.

A small amount of pressure is good for us; continuous, peak levels are not.

Sue Field is President of CABA, the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association

For more information and tips on wellbeing, visit the CABA website. CABA provides free independent support for ACA students and chartered accountants.

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