Define 'work' and 'personal' time to avoid burnout

Not separating work and personal time can cause extreme stress and lead to burnouts

Employees should not be afraid to clearly define their ‘work’ time and their ‘personal’ time to keep them distinct, according to Sandra Campopiano, chief people officer for The Sage Group.

Speaking at the Working Families National Work Life Week Conference 2016, Campopiano revealed that she had come close to the brink of a ‘burnout’ – where an employee cannot function effectively in their role because of too much pressure and stress.

“I had started to lose sight of what matters to me,” she said. “It was too much work time, and not enough time for my friends, my family, and most importantly myself.

“I love to sing. So now, on a Thursday evening, I've defined when I will leave the office. I leave at five, and that's booked in my diary and my CEO's diary. Having that time has made a huge difference to my quality of life.”

She said that parents often struggle to maintain a healthy work/life balance, but that flexible working must be open to everyone. “We must not get stuck thinking about just a nuclear family,” she explained. “As our definition of what makes a family broadens, so must the support we offer to families.”

According to the Working Families Benchmark Report released at the event, 25% of firms have seen a lower than anticipated take-up of Shared Parental Leave, and 39% reported that no mothers or fathers had taken it up at all.

More than one in eight (14%) companies admitted that they do not carry out a job analysis on each vacancy they have to determine the potential for flexible working prior to advertising the role.

“You have to consider if your policy works for LGBT families, for single parents, guardians, and extended family members too,” Campopiano said. “Childcare should not be seen as a ‘women's issue’. It’s everyone’s issue.”