by Valbona Shameti
5 pm hits, you’ve completed your work for the day, and you’re on your way home- but your phone is still dinging with email notifications from work. To check or not to check, that is the question. Over the last few years, I have noticed that many people keep working even when the work day is done or it’s their day off, whether that be checking their emails after hours, picking up phone calls on vacation, or doing extra work on their day off. Where is the time to unwind and destress? This only causes people more stress. And I can say that I was a victim of this mentality at one point too. During a job I had in college, I had my work email synced to my phone- mistake #1. I would hear emails coming through at 8 or 9 pm sometimes and my first thought was “you need to respond to these, or they will think you’re a bad employee.” That’s not the case. If your employer is a good one, they will understand that there needs to be a work life balance and they won’t think you’re a bad employee if you receive an email in the evening and don’t respond to it until the following morning during office hours.
So often the mentality of constantly working overtime and always being about your work is glorified, but the truth is that’s not healthy and Gen Z is the generation that is really starting to notice that and place more value on having a work life balance than their parents and grandparent’s generations. I mean we are actively looking for jobs that prioritize that balance and don’t want us to make our lives revolve around our work. Yes, it’s cool to hustle and grind to further your career to propel you to where you want to be, but what’s not cool is when it starts to take a toll on your mental and physical health. Stress, burnout, and overworking yourself are all very real things that have consequences on your mind and body. This is why it’s so important that we set boundaries for ourselves when it comes to our work and personal lives. We can still complete all we need to get done in our set amount of weekly work hours- there’s no need to overwork ourselves. As I continue working, I’ve learned to set those boundaries for myself. I no longer sync my work email to my phone, I don’t check my emails on my days off/on vacation, and if I have completed all I need to for the day I don’t work past my set end time. And I can tell you that I feel more relaxed and less stressed mentally and physically now than I did at my past job.
I encourage everybody who works to set these boundaries for themselves. Start by simply letting your colleagues know that you will not be checking your email on your days off. This will help you, and encourage those around you, to set up healthy work life balance habits. Our physical and mental wellbeing are very important to ensure that we can 1. Enjoy our lives and be healthy and 2. Ensure that we are working effectively and efficiently at work, so let’s make it a priority to treat ourselves a little bit better.