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28 October 2014
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Time to go home?
Stressed
Stressed?
Last updated: 16 June 2004 1609 BST
lineWorking too hard? You're not alone, it seems. Britons put in longer hours than any other nation in Europe. Find out how to improve your work/life balance...
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Do you find it hard to switch off from work?

Are you counting spreadsheets instead of sheep? Still logged on during your lunch break?

If your work/life balance leaves a little to be desired, you're not alone.

Britain boasts the longest working hours in Europe, something which may not only be affecting the health of the workforce but also, surprisingly, economic output.

Performance

A recent survey carried out by the Department of Trade and Industry and Men's Health magazine showed that 71% of men believed their failure to strike a balance between life and job was affecting their performance at work.

Gloucestershire-based Tracy Meachin-Adams is managing director of Dynamic Solutions, which provides training to companies and individuals to help them work more effectively.

"You have to create a work/life balance, it doesn't naturally come, I know that from personal experience," she said.

"I was very stressed, I was very unhealthy.

"When I wasn't working I was absolutely shattered. You've got to draw the line in the sand."

Tracy Meachin-Adams
Tracy Meachin-Adams

Cultural Factor

Part of her work is helping people to find this balance.

"It's become a cultural thing that people think you have to stay at work as long as possible, you've got to be seen to be there longer.

"But often these people are not as working as effectively as they could be because they are operating at quite a stressed level."

quoteI was very stressed, I was very unhealthy.
quote
Tracy Meachin-Adams

She recognised two simple steps which could help people towards improving their quality of life.

"Talk about it. Even if it's just to your mates, this acknowledges the situation and that will encourage you to do something about it."

Regular exercise is an effective means helping to deal with the stress of a hectic lifestyle.

"I was a member of a gym that I never went to, so I spent a little more and got myself a personal trainer.

"It was the best present I ever gave myself - I have more stamina, sleep better, am less stressed and have lost weight."

Experiment

In 2001 The Money Programme conducted an experiment where they forced the staff of a Devon-based crystal factory to work only within their set hours for a week.

Speaking to BBC News afterwards, warehouse manager Mark Jordan said: "It's made me sit back and realise that there is more to life."

 

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