Here’s why an always-on culture is harming your team

A quick summary:

In 2022, it almost feels like the typical 9 to 5 has lost its definition - and wellbeing in the workplace has been hit hard. People are working longer, taking fewer breaks, burning out, and some employers are actively rewarding this behaviour. 🤒 

So, how can leaders do away with this always-on culture of hustle and exhaustion? What does the slippery slope of burnout symptoms do to your team? We’ve explored everything you need to know as a leader to start building healthier, happier teams and improve wellbeing in the workplace once and for all! 💚

What is an "always-on" culture?

What is an “always-on” culture?

What good is a guide without a solid definition? We often find that always-on culture has two definitions. One refers to the world of work, and the other reflects the constant scrolling of newsfeeds and extreme consumption of media. 📱

For the workplace, however, an always-on culture is best described by the urge and mentally draining desire to return to work duties and responsibilities outside of working hours. 

Especially to the degree that it begins to burden you emotionally, and takes over your own free time outside of work. This is obviously unhealthy for anyone and everyone at work. ❌

This, in a nutshell, isn’t ideal for employees. Leaders must take this definition seriously if they are to enhance wellbeing in the workplace now and in the near future. 

Damages of an "always-on" culture

The damages of an “always-on” culture 🤕

According to, CV-Library asked workers about the impact of an always-on culture. Respondent results revealed that it hinders not only our working lives but all aspects of life:

  • Poor quality of sleep: 52.8%
  • Increased stress levels: 51.9%
  • Feeling exhausted: 50.6%
  • Spending less time with family: 47.6%
  • Unable to do enjoyable hobbies: 38.8%

Clearly, each of these can affect our ability to perform at our best and remain highly productive. For instance, a lack of sleep is detrimental to our decision making and can diminish our focus on tasks. 🧠

With increased stress levels we become extremely inadequate at making decisions and are more likely to harm relationships with others over minor circumstances. 

Feeling exhausted and unable to do enjoyable hobbies or activities is also a recipe for disaster. If our free time is restricted due to the extensive demands of work, weaker employee wellbeing is most likely to occur in our everyday lives and workplace. 

These damages barely scratch the surface of consequences and implications, but they’re the most common you or a colleague may experience.  👀

Encourage a culture of health and wellbeing 🧘‍♀️

One of the greatest ways to do away with an always-on culture is to improve employee wellbeing through better incentives. For instance, it may be time to swap out your free tea and coffee benefits, for mental health support or holistic wellbeing classes. 💪

Additionally, you need to promote healthier habits both in the workplace and in employees’ free time. Staying behind and working late shouldn’t be rewarded, and you should reinforce that it’s poor for wellbeing in the workplace. 

While all leaders love to see dedication and commitment from their employees, this behaviour will have consequences further down the line.

Another great initiative is to invite people to join local yoga classes or even offer to attend with them as a group. It’s small changes here and there that can promote healthier living and eliminate working 24/7. 💚

Encourage health and wellbeing

Lead by example to your team 🚀

Following on from promoting a culture of health and wellbeing, it’s also important to lead by example. That means only promoting wellbeing in the workplace will be met with ignorance. You must play an active role in this change. 🙌

Just imagine how demotivated your team will be if you recommend they shutdown their laptops at a reasonable time, or attend a local spin class, but you continue working until 9PM, with no intention of getting active. It doesn’t give the right message! 👎

You must lead by example when it comes to employee wellbeing. If you want to build a culture of health and wellbeing, you should immerse yourself in the experience, and lead the way. Culture must be built from the ground up, by leadership teams. 

Work together on expectations 🤝

Any behaviour change or habit formation must be met with a robust plan of action and expectations. It’s in this preparation that you and your team can decide on how to put an end to an always-on culture. 🔎

It’s vital you work with your team in the planning process, as it must be lenient enough to work for them, rather than against them. Start by collectively agreeing on the best ways of improving wellbeing in the workplace. 

This should look something like this: 

[YOUR COMPANY] agree to the following wellbeing guidelines: 

  • Every team member should clock off from work at a reasonable time, no later than 20 minutes after 5PM.
  • Every team member agrees to attend one local yoga class on Thursday evening at 5.45PM.
  • Collectively, we will do away with the vending machine, and instead, the company will purchase healthy snacks for the office. 
  • We collectively agree to remove our work emails from our mobile phones, or at the very least, turn off notifications for our work emails after 6PM. 
  • Phone calls are to be ignored unless critically urgent out of office hours or when on annual leave.
  • The company will remove X benefit and replace it with wellbeing experiences.

Hopefully, you now get the idea of setting expectations and building a plan of action collaboratively with your employees. It’s these initiatives above, that are likely to better wellbeing in the workplace for everyone, including you as a leader. 

Improving wellbeing in the workplace

Improving wellbeing in the workplace with Heka 🏆

This post wouldn’t be complete without introducing you to one of the best ways to improve wellbeing in the workplace… 👀

With Heka, our members (thousands of employees) are taking back control of their personal health and wellbeing. 💪

They are proving to employers that a culture of being always-on just doesn’t work.  Through Heka, these employees can book and buy from thousands of wellbeing experiences, services and products.

Whether it’s climbing the treetops at one of Go Ape’s venues across the UK, axe-throwing in the heart of London, or perhaps it’s receiving expert financial advice from our financial partners on Heka - there’s a wellbeing experience for every employee. 

Our mission is simple… 🚴‍♀️

To create accessibility to employee wellbeing incentives, with both an affordable and hands-off approach. If you’d like to find out more about how your team can benefit from Heka, book a demo with one of our employee wellbeing experts. 👋

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