The Meetings Show
Emirates Old Trafford
Smart Group - Electric Xmas

Brits spend a year worrying about work in their free time

The average Brit spends almost five hours a week worrying about work outside of working hours, according to new research.

Survey data of 2,000 participants has been released by standing desk retailer, EZ Shopper, to uncover how WFH and the pandemic has blurred the line between personal and work life.

The data concluded that the average Brit will spend 4.8 hours per week feeling anxious about work in their free time. That’s ten and a half days (10.4) days a year, or 371 days (just over a year in total) in a lifetime.

Nearly half of respondents (45%) confessed to worrying about work more now than before the pandemic, compared to just 9% who worry less.

35 to 44 year-olds were found to spend the most time feeling anxious, worrying 5.2 hours on average.

Londoners are the most affected by the stresses of working life, worrying on average for 5.9 hours a week – 20% more than the national average. A quarter of Londoners also confessed that they worry “much more” now than before the pandemic, indicating that an increase in home working could be a primary cause.

To help reduce work anxiety where possible, EZ Shopper’s founder, Will Driscoll, has some top tips to reduce stress via your home workstation.

  1. Create a schedule and stick to it

“Without the discipline of arriving to work on time and establishing a routine, it can be easy to slip into an overly-flexible mindset about work. When working from home, instead of being too easy-going with your timings, ensure that you maintain a routine each day to make a clearer division between work and personal time.

“Wake up, eat breakfast and get out of your pyjamas every day and act as though you’re travelling into the office despite only going to another room. Some like to schedule a ‘commute time’ and spend it exercising, reading or practising mindfulness in the time they would usually spend travelling to an office. But most importantly of all, when the workday ends – stop working. Establishing a convention of shutting down your laptop and switching off will allow you to focus on your personal time and shake off the workday.”

  1. Find a dedicated workspace

“Much like establishing a routine, establishing a dedicated workspace can help to maintain that all-important work/home life balance. A quiet, comfortable workspace away from all distractions, whilst containing everything you need to work is perfect. Though it may be tempting to work from your bed or on your sofa, emulating an office desk will improve your productivity (and help you to avoid snoozing in the middle of the day!). Additionally, following guidelines on how best to sit at a desk can improve your overall health and productivity, reducing stress in a physical sense.”

  1. Create a safe space on your desk

“Your desk is where you spend the majority of your working day, therefore creating a supportive environment is a great investment to make. There are many things you can do to make your workspace more comforting; adding greenery to your space can make you feel calmer, natural light supports your mood and scented candles can aid relaxation. If you feel comfortable in the space where you work, it is inevitable that the work you produce will be of higher quality.”

  1. Make time for breaks

“During the workday, it is important that you aren’t fixated on your screen for the entire duration of your hours – taking breaks is incredibly important to help reduce stress and tension.

“Dedicating time for a regular lunch break and getting away from your screen will improve your overall focus when you return to your workspace. Spending time outdoors is even more beneficial for decreasing tension and can break up your day whilst also allowing you to enjoy fresh air and exercise. Setting aside time for simple things such as a cup of tea, walking your dog or a stroll and a stretch outdoors for ten minutes will really help your mental health and you will finish the working day more refreshed.”

  1. Keep in touch

“Working from home can be really productive, with no outside influences getting in the way of your focus. However, it can lead to increased loneliness and isolation. Making sure you stay in touch with others as a priority will help feelings of loneliness and benefit your work/life balance. Instead of solely emailing and messaging, video chats and calls can help you feel more included in your work life. Your other WFH colleagues likely feel the same way and will appreciate the contact. Making time to socialise both virtually and in-person is so important for your wellbeing, and the wellbeing of others.”

  1. Be kind to yourself

“When you begin to experience stress it can be really easy to blame yourself, but making sure you allow yourself time to relax can stop these feelings. Small acts can also change your working mindset hugely. For instance, staying hydrated throughout the day can keep you alert and creative. Spending time on making healthy lunches and going for walks are all things you can do to benefit your mind, which is the most important thing of all.”

Driscoll added: “Since the start of the pandemic, working life as we know it has considerably changed. The majority of office workers now find themselves with the option to work from home, which can have countless benefits on workers’ mental and physical health.”

“However, working from home is not without its drawbacks. It’s no surprise to see that Brits worry about work more than before the pandemic, with the lines between home life and work-life blurring without the physical separation between an employee and their workplace.

“It’s important to make small changes to your home working environment to increase separation from your work as much as possible, ensuring that there are as few reminders of work in your home outside of working hours.”