When it comes to work/life balance, there are suspiciously healthy vibes coming off the corporate world these days.
In the past 7 days I have read about Versa advertising agency that tripled its profits after mandating a 4 day working week across their business. And how Ernst and Young are giving staff 12 weeks of ‘life leave’. That is, 3 months a year for travel, learning, holidays, self-care – whatever. Just don’t come to work.
What about us?
Now as someone who has straddled both the corporate and soloist world, I have to say while encouraging and somewhat of a relief for our comrades in the corporate sector, all this focus on rest and relaxation begs the question: what are we in the startup and small business space doing to encourage rest and recreation?
After all, we’re working just as hard as anyone else. And while we do get to work from anywhere we choose, that can sometimes make it even harder to justify “switching off” for a day – even when we’re sick.
Perpetual guilt is often to blame
Small business mental health advocate and founder of Fortitude at Work, Leanne Faulkner puts it down to guilt.
“As soloists we risk feeling perpetually guilty – feeling bad if we’re spending all our time on the business and not with family or vice versa, but in fact, the opposite is true!” Leanne told Flying Solo.
“ Putting effort in the business is critical for success (therefore hopefully some long-term shared rewards for all) and putting effort into family time is great for the business because it helps us to re-energise when it’s time to go back to work. Those feelings of guilt need to be replaced with feelings of pride because both actions will deliver positive results for all.”
For Yume founder and Kochie’s Business Builders Power List nominee, Katy Barfield taking a day off from business is something she still struggles to do.
“Giving yourself a day off is really (really!) hard when you are in an early age start-up, it’s something I have to constantly remind myself to do. The truth is that when you do manage to take time out and walk away from it all, even if it is just for a day, some great ideas pop up,” says Katy.
“It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t or shouldn’t take a day off. If you’re finding it hard to give yourself permission, remember that these small re-sets [& the ideas that can come from them] can be beyond beneficial to both you and your business!”
Stopping work fuels your creative powers
After 18 years running her own startup success, Lisa Messenger is a huge advocate for the power of rest. And just like Katy Barfield, finds real creative power in stepping away from work for a while.
“We need to stop glorifying being “busy” and instead realise that being “productive” is the key. In my experience when we’re in the office or at work, we’re often being reactive rather than proactive. It’s only when we allow ourselves the time and space to step away and move into another gear, that the magic truly flows,” says Lisa.
“There is merit behind clichés such as “I have my best ideas in the shower”. When we just stop trying to control, incredible wonderful things come to us. I have come to realise that my best work really comes when I allow myself to step away and have time and space.”
Consider this your permission slip for a well deserved day of rest 🙂