Men neglecting themselves to please the boss

May 28 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Seven out of ten men think that their performance at work is damaged by a lack of work-life balance, according to a survey of more than 4,000 men published this week.

The survey, published by Men's Health magazine in association with the Department of Trade and Industry, also says that many men are working harder and longer than they realise.

A quarter of men also admitted that they are still struggling to strike the right balance between their work and home lives.

Many feel this could be damaging their ability to perform in the workplace, as over half of men (55 per cent) surveyed think that having enough time to exercise regularly improves their productivity. Indeed, six out of ten (63 per cent) men believe exercise helps increase their energy levels when they're at work.

Half (49 per cent) believe that getting out of the office to exercise regularly helps improve motivation and concentration, with seven out of ten feeling that it boosts their self esteem to give them more confidence in meetings.

Despite over half of men (52 per cent) citing their personal relationships and almost a quarter (23 per cent) naming their health as their main priorities, many are working harder and longer than they realise.

Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary, said that better work-life balance brings men a broad range of benefits.

“It gives them time to spend with their friends and families, look after their health and pursue other interests. All this can also improve their performance at work, which is good news for their employers too.

"But this survey shows it's still hard for men to get the balance right, especially if there's an old-fashioned culture where they work. That's why I'm glad that bosses are leading by example, and that flexible working opportunities are becoming more common."

Morgan Rees, editor of Men's Health magazine, added:

"Many people are working harder than ever and before we know it, we can be working long hours and not looking after ourselves. It's natural that people sometimes have to work late, but we urge men - and women - not to let it become a habit.

“Getting out of the office and being active is one of the best ways to get the right balance between the 'slog' and the 'social' - especially with the summer months approaching."

If men are finding their working patterns are leaving them feeling overwhelmed and tense, Men's Health magazine have identified some quick ways to de-stress at your desk:

  • Before leaving the office, start cleaning: take the last 15 minutes of your day to organise your work area. Creating order out of chaos gives you a sense of 'closure' on the day. Even if the area where you sit or stand at work looks like a small rubbish tip, try to create priority piles before you leave.
  • Make a 'to do' list for tomorrow: listing tasks is more than just a way of remembering things, it's a way of dealing with them.
  • Take a diversion: on your way home, take a breath. If you're catching the bus, don't hop on straight away but walk to the next stop. If you're heading for your car, stow the keys and walk around the block instead. Take in some fresh air and use the extra time to walk off some of the day's stress.
  • Take charge: Stress often comes from the feeling of not being in control, so remind yourself you're still the boss in your life. Window shop. Browse in a bookshop. If you're really stressed, go into a department store and try on the most expensive suit there. Take it off, then leave.