Where are you going to be at 5pm today?

Read the full article at: www.telegraph.co.uk

We women try to do it all.  Like Superwoman or the mythological Amazon warrior. This can be a blessing and a curse.  Well…that’s a bit melodramatic. Better to say, it can be good or not so good, depending on the circumstance.  

Take, for example, the career and wife / mother balancing act so many of us do. Some days, it’s smooth sailing.  We are strong, in command, queens of our castles. Other days, it feels like we’re magnets being pushed or pulled by anyone who waves a stronger magnet. Office deadlines vs. unexpected school emergencies, corner office vs. nursery, the need to travel vs. the desire to be at home, face time with the boss vs. quality time with the family.  You get it.    

Yet we still try, working within the reality of our lives.  While we chose this (though there are a good number of us who have no choice), we need to be smart about it.  As Louisa Symington-Mills points out, there are dire consequences if we aren’t smart, and if we don’t take care of ourselves. 

“A recent study published by the Ohio State University found that – for women in particular – long working days can actually be risk. Researchers found that women who put in long hours in their careers greatly increase their risk of developing life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.  

“Working weeks that averaged 60 hours per week or more, over three decades, were found to triple the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart trouble and arthritis. The risk begins to climb when women put in more than 40 hours and takes a decidedly bad turn above 50 hours, researchers found.

“Crucially the same pattern was not seen in men. In fact, they got healthier the longer they worked. Researchers believe it is because women face additional pressure in their home lives.” 

It’s nice to have some data to prove it, but we could have told you that. We’ve known it for years; it’s part of that reality we live in.  So, what can we do?  As a starter, Symington-Mills offers a simple, straight forward suggestion:  leave work when it’s quitting time.  Ahhh!  Good idea.  Definitely worth a try.

Realizing this may not be as easy as it sounds, Symington-Mills also offers six tips for helping us leave work on time.  “Make sure you’re prioritising, start saying ‘no’, don’t over promise,” she suggests.

Sure, we can try, and it would be easier with some help.  So what can leaders do?  They can do a lot. They can create a work environment that allows employees to maintain healthy life balances and a culture that empowers employees to openly embrace all aspects of their lives.    

Contact us and we can help you better understand how your company’s environment can impact the quality of the workplace and the health of your workers.