Thea O'Connor [1] of Intheblack magazine offers the following tips for helping employees avoid overwork:

•    Highlight and discuss any workplace “cultural norms” that would encourage employees to work excessive hours
•    Make overwork an Occupational Health and Safety issue
•    Regularly review staff workloads, deadlines required, and available resources to determine if the organisation has the balance right
•    Train employees in delegation and time management skills
•    Encourage personnel to focus on the rate and quality of their work rather than number of hours worked
•    Provide uninterrupted focus-time for employees
•    Limit “out of hours” accessibility to employees
•    Celebrate milestones and successes regularly
•    Invest in work-life balance initiatives that promote healthy self-care
•    Model desired behaviour so that staff will understand that they are permitted to stop for lunch and to leave on time
•    Become familiar with following signs of work addiction:

o    Spending more time at work than anything else
o    Promising to reduce work hours and failing to follow through
o    Denying working too hard
o    Having difficulty releasing and delegating work
o    Deteriorating health due to an excessive work schedule
o    Impatience, irritability, weight changes, high blood pressure, stress, or depression
o    Work eroding your intimate friendships, hobbies and social life
o    Not being able to relax when not working
o    Having unrealistic expectations for yourself and others

 [1] R10954 O'Connor, T., (2006), When work becomes your fix, Intheblack, Vol 76, Iss 4, pp 74-76, CPA Australia, Melbourne

Neil Crawford

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