Work hard? Then make sure that you rest hard too

When I was a teenager living at home, my mum used to say I worked hard and played hard. I wasn’t sure what she meant.

All I knew was I was so keen to join my mates that I’d put in the hours to get my school work done.

Well, maybe that “work hard, play hard” strategy would be good for us all to adopt this year.

It could provide respite to any increasingly frenzied 21st century life, with bosses expecting employees to be available 24/7 and work becoming increasingly competitive.

We all believe we need to work harder and faster even though we feel more and more exhausted.

We believe if we don’t keep hustling, we’ll end up falling behind and being another failure.


Going back to what my mum used to say, why can’t we work hard and REST hard? Why can’t we give resting as great a priority as we do to working? Why can’t we be as good at resting as we are at working? Why don’t we become expert at turning off phones and tablets, getting proper sleep,
working less, resting more and playing more?

Well, governments and lawmakers are on our side. There’s a new labour agreement in France that says employees must (must, mark you) ignore their bosses’ work emails once they’ve left the office. That goes for smartphones too.

The aim is to stop bosses from invading employees’ home lives at any hour of the day or night thus extending the French 35 hour week further and further by tracking them down on their phones.

Now French employers’ federations and unions have signed a new legally binding labour agreement that requires employers to make sure staff “disconnect” outside working hours.

As part of the deal, employees will have to resist the temptation to look at work on their computers and smartphones out of hours.

The spirit of the law will be observed as well as the letter in that companies must ensure their employees come under no sort of pressure.

So the continentals are clocking off. Why can’t we? Sweden is trialling a six-hour work day to help improve
work-life balance. We could try that too.

Resting could even become cool. Office managers could stipulate computer-free hours. We could opt for flexible working hours. We could decide to spend more time with the family. We could take up outdoor activities like walking and cycling.

We could work hard and rest hard without worrying that we’ll fail at life if we rest.