It’s almost too simple for most of us to admit: The cure for being overworked isn’t wellness programs but simply working less:
Nothing can alleviate the stress of overwork except working less. Like the road signs say, only sleep cures fatigue. We need to be reminded of this because tired long-haul drivers can be deluded into thinking that coffee, a can of Mother or an upbeat bit of music might help them stay awake.
For the madly overworked, we need reminding that the only cure for working too much is to stop. It’s as simple as that.
This is especially difficult in startup world where the long hours are part and parcel with how work gets done, at least historically.
But, after being in this world for so long I wonder if we’re really doing it right and whether we are leveraging the growing technology solutions that are available to us in the very best of ways.
You’d think that the techno-savvy would be working smarter, not just harder with all of the great tools that we’ve got. Yet, there’s some sort of pride associated with long hours that’s tough to combat. It’s insidious and unspoken.
It’s culturally expected but never written down in a way to keep anyone accountable because no one would join a startup willingly if it said something as explicit as: “Must be willing to put in 100-120 hour weeks, on occasion.”
Corporate wellness is about the leaders building in culturally acceptable practices that include healthy and open dialogue about the ever-changing challenges of the work involved and an attitude of understanding and empathy towards the exhaustion that exists and, finally, a willingness to change things up for the good of the staff and employee.
These things are tall order, let’s be honest, but it isn’t impossible.