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Extra Hours Affecting Relationships

Alone-together time is on the increase because of tech
24 July 2019 | Updated 26 July 2019

In this article contributed by Forest Holidays, we look at why burnout has become a regular occurrence and the impact this work-related syndrome has on families.

In 2017, it was reported that 1 in 10 adults had difficulty unwinding in the evenings and on weekends. However, most people don’t realise they are really burnt out until it’s too late - they then need to deal with eliminating the symptoms while also having to combat the stresses that triggered it in the first place.

Key factors leading to burnout:

  • High workload.

  • Unclear job expectations.

  • Conflicts at work.

  • Lack of managerial support.

  • Work/life imbalance.

  • Stressful working environment.


48-hour weeks

Figures from the TUC have revealed that, since 2001, the number of employees working 48-hour weeks has risen by a quarter of a million to three million, while half a million British workers suffered from work-related stress in 2018, with  44% saying it was due to workload.



The World Health Organisation defines burnout as a syndrome resulting from prolonged workplace stress, which has been poorly managed.


The impact of work on modern families

Over three-quarters of parents (78%) admit to putting in extra hours to try and get ahead of their work, with almost 50% stating the most significant impact of this overspill is the inability to increase family quality time, followed closely by a negative effect on their relationship with their partner.

With the use of technology continuing to rise, research shows that families are spending more time ‘alone-together’ – meaning they’re in the same house but separately. Studies on the topic have revealed, overall, ‘alone-together’ time has risen by 43%, demonstrating families are often engaging with devices instead of each other.


Regaining the balance

Further research shows that nearly two-thirds of British families spent fewer days out together in recent years compared to 20 years ago, even though having close relationships have proven to help reduce stress.


Advice - initiate a digital detox

Data shows that around 7 in 10 people recognise the benefits of lowering their screen time, and 8 in 10 find having a digital detox liberating, despite having FOMO (the fear of missing out). Setting technology-free days or only using the phones or sending emails during certain times, can help to quickly achieve a relaxed period.


Work remotely

There has been a huge shift in the modern workplace as employers become more accepting of flexible and remote working options. Research shows 71% of flexible users become more engaged at work, while around 40% of employees believe work distraction could also be drastically reduced with flexible and remote working options.


Spend more time outdoors

Spending time outdoors can have a positive effect in a variety of ways including:

  • Boosting moods and fighting anxiety – research shows that being in nature for just 20 minutes will lower stress hormones, such as cortisol levels.

  • Better mental health – walking has been proven effective in reducing anxiety and depression and further evidence suggests walking in nature improves this further because different parts of our brains activate in nature.

  • Eliminate fatigue – studies indicate that people’s mental energy bounces back just by looking at images of nature, while pictures of cities did not.

  • Getting vitamin D – an essential vitamin for a well-functioning body, helping to absorb calcium, preventing osteoporosis and reducing inflammation among other things. More than 90% of our vitamin D comes from casual exposure to sunlight.  

Picture: Alone-together time is on the increase because of tech.

With thanks to

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 24 July 2019


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