Being motivated and ambitious in your professional life is a good thing, right? You have big dreams to achieve and you don’t want to waste a minute of your time, so you work hard and you work long hours, doing whatever it takes to get ahead. While having a strong work ethic and a willingness to hustle can be positive traits, they could also be screwing you over.
New research out of Virginia Tech that was published in a report titled “Killing Me Softly: Electronic Communications Monitoring And Employee And Significant-Other Well-Being” (that’s a mouthful!) reveals that continuing to work after hours is not only screwing up your health but also the health of your relationships.
As study co-author and associate professor of management William Becker explained, “The competing demands of work and nonwork lives present a dilemma for employees, which triggers feelings of anxiety and endangers work and personal lives.”
The research also discovered that “bringing work home” is another thing that can cause unnecessary strain in relationships as it keeps you from completing non-work related tasks and interferes with valuable time you should be spending with your loved ones.
But that’s not all—the willingness to be available after-hours, even if you don’t actually do any work, is enough to be harmful. That’s right, something as simple as checking your work email after you’ve left the office for the day is unhealthy.
“The insidious impact of ‘always on’ organizational culture is often unaccounted for or disguised as a benefit—increased convenience, for example, or higher autonomy and control over work-life boundaries. Our research exposes the reality: ‘flexible work boundaries’ often turn into ‘work without boundaries,’ compromising an employee’s and their family’s health and well-being.”
In other words, it’s probably a good idea to finish up what you need to do at the end of the work day, step away from your work email, and go home and spend time with the people you care about and who care about you most. Whatever you have left to do will still be there tomorrow, and it’s the connections with our family, friends, and partners that matters so much more.