How often do you switch-off from work? In a world of connected technology, flexible working and economic uncertainty, switching-off from our professional lives is more challenging than ever.

Research tells us that long hours and thinking about our work too much is not only bad for our health, it impairs our performance at work. Figures published earlier this year by the Office for National Statistics show that Sheffield is nearly 20 percent less productive than the UK average. Would we be more productive if we took more time out to give our minds a rest?

Paul Dickinson believes that we would. Paul quit his director’s job eighteen months ago to set-up his company Rest Bandit. He now spends his time running ‘smart rest’ workshops in schools and businesses across Yorkshire and the Midlands. He is seeing an increasing demand from organisations for support in helping their staff to rest and recover.

“Due to the ‘always on’ nature of modern society, many of us don’t switch-off from work when we take time away from the office. We are constantly connected to our jobs either through technology or by being pre-occupied with work worries. Yet, when we do take the time to switch-off and do other things, we are able to bring more energy and creativity to our work.”

Paul has started a social media campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of switching-off. His Switch-Off Thursday Campaign is encouraging employers and their staff to take some time during the afternoon or evening of Thursday 24th January 2019 to do something that allows them to switch-off.

“Thursday 24th January comes hot on the heels of Blue Monday which is meant to be the most depressing day of the year. People will need to recharge their batteries at this point in January. The people who get involved can do anything they want to ‘switch-off’ on that afternoon or evening. It may just be half an hour when they read a book. However, giving people some time where they are actively encouraged to switch-off will spark a much-needed conversation between employers and their staff about ways in which people can ‘rest well’ and truly disconnect from work.”

Paul is using the hashtag #switchoffthursday to celebrate those employers who choose to get involved and to encourage people to share what they will be doing to switch-off from work on Switch-Off Thursday.