By | Rohan Widdison | www.theceomagazine.com
Picture this: waking up on a typical day, you’re lucky to scoff a muesli bar before rushing out the door to jump on your daily commute to work. You say hurried goodbyes to your family members as everyone goes their separate ways, perhaps realising you may have to wait until the weekend before you’re able to slow down enough to properly catch up with them.
As a CEO managing a demanding business, work–life balance may be an unexpected addition to my lexicon, but it has saved my health and sanity. The kicker is my work hasn’t suffered either.
“I caught myself wondering if this cult of overwork was worth it.”
How is it possible, I hear you ask? While my CEO counterparts are getting up at 4am and experimenting with micro-dosing, my mandated day off has staved off the ever-present spectre of burnout and given me a bounce in my step – and I’m far from the only one.
Cost of today’s working world
In modern work times, life is relentlessly fast-paced and while there are no easy solutions, in the name of work–life balance I’m taking a stand to say enough is enough. The Great Resignation is upon us as millions of workers from all sectors leave their jobs in droves. It’s time to hunker down and reassess where we want to go from here.
The tipping point for me occurred as I was catching up with a high-level executive mentor. I caught myself wondering if this cult of overwork was worth it. I got my work ethic from my mum and working hard was the one thing you never questioned.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led us to rethink our priorities – as mobile work becomes more entrenched, a better way to live and work is within our grasp. Our culture of workaholism comes at a cost to our relationships, health and mental wellbeing. Work stress causes employees to feel edgy, anxious and overwhelmed, and costs Australian businesses an estimated US$7.3 million (A$10 billion) a year in lost productivity. Chronic stress is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune dysfunction and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.