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Weekending for the Workday

posted Oct 5, 2012, 10:15 AM by Geoffrey Edelmann   [ updated Oct 5, 2012, 1:22 PM ]
What is the best way to recover on the weekend and how important is that on your job performance? Binnewies et al investigates this question.

Relations between recovery experiences, state of being recovered, and job performance.
Relations between recovery experiences, state of being recovered, and job performance.
Figure 1: Binneweiss shows that recovery experiences during the weekend predict the state of being recovered which in turn predict weekly job performance. From Recovery during the weekend and fluctuations in weekly job performance: A week-level study examining intra-individual relationships.

They site three important factors: psychological detachment, relaxation, and mastery experiences as the best way to recover from the weekend. If successful a relaxed worker shows more performance, initiative, and good behavior with less perceived effort.

Psychological detachment is not only physically being away from work but mentally shelving all thoughts of work (no checking work email on your phone!). Relaxation comes from actions that lower heart/breathing rates and muscle tension. For example yoga, meditation, music, and baths. A mastery experience is a challenging effort that leads to a sense of achievement e.g. sports, hobbies, volunteering, or music.

Figure 1 gives us the big picture of recovering. In order of importance, relaxation, detachment, and mastery contribute to our state of being recovered. That state in turn affects our personal initiative, perceived effort, organized citizenship behavior (helping), and finally task performance, respective to importance. I should note that the relationship with perceived effort is negative, meaning the more recovered we were after the weekend the more our work naturally flows.

Taken together, workplaces should encourage people to savor their weekend. We should switch off from work, relax, and better ourselves. I find it interesting that the effort you put into mastery (e.g. frustrating and repetitious music practice) is ultimately a small mental investment and that even in the short term it creates a positive sense of well being. So master your hobby, practice your sport, and take a deep breath.

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