“Work is killing off the great Australian weekend and starving kids of family time”, (Adelaide Advertiser August 3).The article quotes research done by The Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW:
- Weekend work has nearly trebled over the past 20 years
- Half of all business owners, 42% of contractors and 30 per cent of employees now spend their weekend in the workplace, to the detriment of family life.
- One in four workers are on call or on standby, “as technology contaminates leisure with messages and emails from the boss.”
The mind is now the centre of the workplace, accessible 24/7, courtesy of pressing work demands and modern technology. It's another product of a society driven by the expectations of others rather than self-determination.
It’s virtually futile to resist. All but the most disciplined will grin and bear it. Many experience sustained excessive stress, leading to mental illnesses, depression, family breakdowns and suicide.
If we can’t beat it we have to learn how to not just cope, but to be proactively creative, innovative, alert and calm in crises. It makes the search for good leaders even more difficult.
The answers I believe are all to do with the management of emotional energy. Creating energizing experiences, totally remote from the stress-generating areas of life. Like alcoholism, results don’t come quickly but with perseverance, the resilience needed will gradually build. It’s an element we have to build into the everyday culture of society – at work and in personal life.