These days, a strict eight-hour workday is more of a dream than a reality, as workloads become overwhelming and Americans, especially younger ones, find themselves either unwilling or unable to fully disconnect from work-related tasks or thoughts. 

Unwinding after the workday is extremely difficult for many, as it turns out. So a new survey from employment search engine SimplyHired uncovered the top ways we treat ourselves to a little rest and relaxation after a long day.

With over half of survey respondents admitting to getting less time than needed for the necessary postwork reset, it's important to consider how this can impact someone's productivity during work hours. 

Work Hard, Relax Hard

Everyone has his or her go-to home rituals when looking to unwind. Some people are busy, though, and that can reflect on their postwork priorities. However, relaxation techniques among responses covered a large net of leisurely activities, including social interaction. 

Some of the most common activities were:

  • Watching TV (81%)
  • Reading (52%)
  • Listening to music (49%)
  • Looking at social media (42%)

Interestingly, the survey found baby boomers were the most likely to have ease of mind when winding down and were able to distance themselves from work. On the other hand, millennials found it much more difficult to transition to being at home after work. 

Millennials were raised on devices; as a result, they may experience more difficulty separating themselves from their email and phones and are more likely to be emotionally tied to their jobs than older generations. Taking a work call or responding to a work email after hours is a temptation that millennials just can't resist. 

And with many jobs now being done online, resulting in a boom of remote workers, it can be even more difficult to stop thinking about work. When your home is also your office, disconnecting from work and establishing boundaries isn't a luxury - it's a requirement. 

Missing Out on Sleep? You Aren't Alone

It's normal to have a day or two every once in a while where you feel exhausted. Maybe a deadline crunch kept you up later, or stress before a big meeting resulted in fewer hours of sleep than usual. However, when exhaustion becomes commonplace, there can be wide-reaching impacts on work productivity.

Work responsibilities led to a loss of sleep for 3 in 5 respondents. A tired mind does not set a strong foundation for someone's workday, and fatigue can reduce quality work performance. Survey respondents experienced a variety of consequences or difficulties due to work-related sleep loss, including:

  • Tossing and turning leading to sleep difficulty (42%) or even an inability to sleep at all (14%)
  • Losing sleep hours due to an increase in work hours (27%)
  • Being awakened by a restless mind kept up by work thoughts (23%)

Finding a solution to losing sleep isn't an easy task. But the key is finding a balance between work and time off, giving yourself a break once in a while. So when the time is right, don't forget about your coveted vacation days. 

Overcome the Edge

In many business settings, employees have little control over their workload demands. To avoid suffering from an inability to disconnect from work, survey respondents reported following a variety of tips for curtailing tension after work, including disabling work-related notifications or communications apps, committing time to make task and planning lists, and confirming the next day's calendar. 

Thinking about workplace fatigue and how it can impact your home life is crucial to finding the work-life balance that we all strive for. Finding that equilibrium can mean the difference between sleepless and restful nights.