Bringing Your Work Home (and on Vacation) With You

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By: Marie Donlon

Are you constantly checking your work-related emails after business hours or lugging your laptop with you when you and your family go on vacation? If you answered yes to either of those questions, your personal well-being might be suffering, according to a recent study from the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

Publishing their findings in Springer's Journal of Business and Psychology, researchers enlisted 1,916 participants from a number of industries in German-speaking countries to take an online survey with questions gauging participants’ work-life balance.

Participants were asked questions such as how often they worked from home, how often they worked on the weekends, how often they thought about work and if they participated in hobbies outside of the office.

Not surprising: those participants that spent much of their personal time engaged in work had little time to participate in hobbies that relaxed them and reported feeling exhausted. Likewise, they also reported feeling less of a sense of well-being in areas of their life outside of work.

"Employees who integrated work into their non-work life reported being more exhausted because they recovered less,” explained study author Ariane Wepfer of the University of Zurich in Switzerland. "This lack of recovery activities furthermore explains why people who integrate their work into the rest of their lives have a lower sense of well-being."

A possible solution, according to Wepfer, might be enlisting companies to help employees achieve boundaries between personal life and career, making sure that employees nurture both.

"Organizational policy and culture should be adjusted to help employees manage their work-non-work boundaries in a way that does not impair their well-being," says Wepfer. "After all, impaired well-being goes hand in hand with reduced productivity and reduced creativity."