Are You Working “For” or “Through” the Weekend?
In 1981, the song “Working for the Weekend” by Loverboy was released and became easily identifiably with employees who were working hard throughout the week for the opportunity to let loose as soon as they clocked out on Friday evening. Unfortunately, in 2017, a more relatable song title for employees is “Working Through the Weekend”. According to the “On Weekend” survey that was recently released by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 63% of individuals surveyed have employers who expect them to work during the weekend and 61% find it nearly impossible to avoid thinking about work even on their days off. It’s no wonder that 83% of the survey participants don’t feel like their weekends are long enough!
Thanks in large part to technology, it is now the norm to work during the weekend; however, there are ways to manage your time to make your weekends seem long enough (even if you have to spend some time answering emails). Use the following list to help you to find a good balance between working for the weekend and working through the weekend.
• Manage your expectations: While the idea of having a completely work free weekend is amazing in theory, it is often unrealistic. As a society of individuals who are constantly striving to be at the top of their fields, leaving work on Friday evening and not thinking about it until Monday morning is rarely an option. As such, go into the weekend with realistic expectations for how much time you will need to dedicate to work so that you don’t fall behind and aren’t bombarded as soon as you walk through the door on Monday morning.
• Don’t procrastinate: Once you know how much of your time will be spent working during the average weekend, make a plan to get ahead of your workload so that you can spend the remainder of your weekend participating in activities that you enjoy. Procrastinating until Sunday evening will only cause you anxiety throughout your weekend as your laundry list of work “to dos” hangs over your head.
• Rise and shine: Although the temptation to hit snooze until noon is real, resist the urge to sleep in. Whether you have work to do or you have something fun planned, try to stick to your regular morning routine and get the day started. By waking up at a reasonable hour and getting an early start to your day, you are more likely to feel accomplished come Monday morning and less likely to feel like your weekend wasn’t long enough.
• Set boundaries: An important way that you can achieve the elusive weekend work-life balance is to set boundaries. Simply be honest with your employer, coworkers, and clients about your availability on the weekends. Communicate the times that you will be checking work calls/texts/emails, and what the protocol should be if they absolutely need to get in touch with you. In addition, set boundaries with your family and friends by communicating how much time during the weekend you will need to set aside for work.
• Unplug: Part of setting boundaries is knowing when to unplug. A key reason that we don’t feel like our weekends are long enough is that we are constantly plugged in to our various technological devices. Since technology makes it possible to conduct work virtually anywhere, there is an expectation that we should be accessible via phone/email/text any time (including weekends). Communicate with those at work who may try to reach you throughout the weekend and let them know when you are planning on unplugging so that you can truly take a break during the weekend.
Even though working through the weekend is inevitable in many fields, there are ways to ensure that you maintain a positive work-life balance on your days off. If you start feeling like work is taking over your weekends, talk to your employer and find a solution before you fall behind or become too overwhelmed.