International stress awareness week puts spotlight on worker stress 

In a recent workforce survey done by Cape Town coworking company Venture Workspace, the most popular new year resolution for 2020 is to achieve better work-life balance.  Workers listed practicing work-life balance as the factor that would most help reduce their stress, followed by getting more exercise.  40% surveyed rated their current stress level as high, while 20% said their levels were extremely high.  More than half reported experiencing burnout this year.  

Observing International Stress Awareness Week (4 – 8 November), the International Stress Management Association defines stress as the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on them at work. 

“Finding the right balance can be hard given the pressures of the modern working world. As South Africans, we are known for our work ethic, but I urge workers not to work at the expense of their happiness. Take time for yourself in 2020, says Louis Fourie, director of Venture Workspace. 

Fourie also highlights flexibility and accessibility as key factors in achieving work-life balance.  “In our survey, respondents listed office accessibility and traffic as a major concern when it comes to work. Capetonians are currently losing 162 hours a year in traffic, which doesn’t’ make for a very stress-free start or end to the day.” Given Cape Town’s traffic congestion, Venture Workspace are opening a second space in the new year in the suburb of Constantia, as an alternative to the typically city-centered coworking spaces. 

Here are Fourie’s tips for achieving better work-life balance in 2020:

  • Set aside ‘offline’ time – we are constantly connected on multiple devices across multiple platforms which can lead to overwhelm. Dedicate time each day to ‘unplugging’ and stick to it.
  • Make your workday as productive as possible – structure each workday so that your time is properly managed.  Block out time for priority tasks and avoid checking emails or answering calls when completing these tasks. 
  • Stick to working hours – decide when you will work and when you will not and set these boundaries upfront. If you don’t have these boundaries in place, you will find yourself never really switching off.
  • Find the right working environment – Research shows that the working environment plays a huge role in employee mental health. It’s important to find an environment that suits both your personal and professional needs, your personality and your working style.
  • Remember that you are more than just your job – when you feel yourself getting sucked into working overtime, take a moment to remember all the other things in your life that are important to you.

Leave a Reply