Bev White

My name is Bev White and I am the CEO of Harvey Nash Group, a $1bn global technology recruitment, IT solutions and leadership services group with 36 offices across the USA, Europe and Asia

Take a break

There has never been a time more pertinent than now when it really is essential for all of us to take a break. Mel and our HR teams around the world have been sharing with us tools and techniques to help us with health and wellbeing in recent months. As the pandemic continues and many of us find ourselves subjected to new restrictions designed to keep us safe and protect lives, we are finding ourselves in many cases working back in our homes.

Whilst it initially felt like a novelty back in March, and to be honest it was lovely to not be spending hours every day commuting and rarely seeing loved ones, many of us now find ourselves lonely and yearning for the social and business company of our colleagues and of course friends and family. Some of us have dedicated spaces in our homes we can work from, many of us do not. I know that some of us are working from our bedrooms or kitchen tables and the demarcation between work and home life is so blurred now it’s hard to know when one begins and the other ends. The reality is that this is now a blended world.

It is so tempting to keep the laptop open and keep on working ‘just a few more minutes’ which, over the week, can become many hours. I can openly share with you that I am one of the worst offenders here. It has been irresistible to me to wander back to my desk in the evening and at the weekend because I glance the laptop as I walk through the house.

The reality is that when we don’t get enough sleep or rest breaks then over time our thinking slows down and whether we accept it or not we become less effective. We also put ourselves at risk of damaging our mental and physical health.

I remember hearing a talk about neuroscience a few years ago and the importance of resting our minds and bodies. The speaker talked about the science that demonstrates even if we don’t take a break that our mind takes a break anyway. I thought about that a lot. I get what they are saying in that statement. How many times have you sat working on an email, a report, a piece of work that requires your full attention and found that time has passed?  You realise that your mind has drifted off to another thought but the work hasn’t progressed at all. This has happened many times to me and is the signal I listen to that it’s time to get some fresh air, take a walk, get a cup of tea. If it is getting later in the day, it’s time to call it a day and get some rest and relaxation. When I do this, I find coming back to the task is so much more productive and the job gets done.

In these times, where we find ourselves with no demarcation between home and work it’s so important that we take these breaks. I commit to be more aware of this in myself, will you do so too?

If anybody needs help either personally or for a colleague, please reach out to Mel or any of our HR colleagues. We are here for each other during these really challenging times.

As we head towards the weekend, take time to rest and relax, and keep safe and well.

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