The sense of detachment from reality, problems with concentration and the longing for carefree days – this is how you feel when you get back to work after holiday. It is really hard to avoid the post-holiday spleen, especially if we think that eight hours will be enough time to make some order out of this chaos. How to regain control over our professional life and find a way to get some rest… at work? It turns out that new technologies designed in line with the slow life principles might be helpful here.


Let’s face it: it is definitely not a joyful moment in life when we get back to work after holiday. No wonder, since only few days ago all your worries boiled down to the weather forecast and the even suntan, while now you have to deal with all overdue and new tasks at work, and those seem to have multiplied horrendously when you were away. The worst thing is that today the pressure on employees regarding top performance is so huge that we often forget about our health and about the simple fact that perfection and infallibility are the features of advanced technologies, not of people, who are living beings subject to the laws of biology. How can we then go back to work after holiday without going crazy? The answer is simple: avoid overworking yourself and remember about breaks which are crucial for regeneration.


Technology for health


Quick, colourful and in line with the newest trends: that’s our fast food kind of life today. In this mad rush, we lose our precious health, our identity and the sense of what is ethical. In the era of all-encompassing technology, it is hard for us to get away from the virtual world full of pressure and unattainable ideals, which is destructive to our self-esteem and our motivation to work. On top of all that, all the imminent deadlines, rising performance indicators and new important projects coming along the way do not make the situation any better. Where, in all this, do we find time for the rest that we deserve?


Unfortunately, even the best holiday will not make our reserves of rest last very long. When you enjoy the holiday time, your organism functions in a completely different way and you need at least several days to get back in the saddle and return to the effective task performance mode. Moreover, the autumn season does not help and if you strain yourself too much to get all the overdue things done, your health might be in danger. First of all, when you return to work after holiday, remember about the breaks. This can be difficult, especially for people who tend to dive deep into the work at hand. For all those who keep forgetting, there is a technology that will remind them of the lunch they need or signal another hour of overtime they work.


On the one hand, Time and Attendance (TNA) systems have become popular in recent years, while on the other hand, the available solutions do not make it possible for the employee to monitor the time worked. We have designed a device that counts the hours and overtime at work, allowing both the employer and the employee to view the statistics. Moreover, the system also takes the work safety into account and sends reminders about breaks, says Tomasz Łempiński, CTO at TIMATE, the company designing and manufacturing the ethical TNA system.


Why measure the working time?


TNA systems can now be found in many businesses and their main task is to measure the hours worked by employees. Usually, they are based on the clock-in/clock-out procedure with the use of an access card or a fingerprint reader. It is obvious that such a system gives the employers the information they need, but it can be cumbersome for the employees. It doesn’t have to be like that: this process can now function in an automatic and unattended way, giving both the employers and the employees the same level of access to all information related to time and attendance at work.


What’s the smart trick about TIMATE? All you need to do is carry around an ID card that is recording your time at work. At first glance, it looks like the standard system using the common access card, but in fact it is an electronic, fully automated device which eliminates the routine (and unnecessary!) recording procedures, says Tomasz Łempiński from TIMATE. What is more, when you put this device against the screen of your smartphone, you can read all the information about the hours you have worked.


This mechanism resembles training systems, wearables and smartwatches that function the same way, only they collect different types of data (e.g. workout time and intensity). The similarities can also be seen in the analysed data visualisation through clear charts which allow to assess the work quality within particular time intervals. This solution can be helpful in coping with the post-holiday stress, since the card gives us an intuitive control over our time at work, so we can take better care of our health and well-being.


TIMATE is a personal health assistant: the card will select the break format based on the type of work that we do. It is very simple: the system analyses data from the motion sensors and recognizes the style of work in order to suggest e.g. a lunch break, some exercise or taking a rest after physical exertion. Moreover, the smart card can also save you from catching a cold by providing current information about the weather conditions, explains Tomasz Łempiński.


Keep the balance


When we get back to work after holiday, we have no other choice but to catch up on all the stuff that needs to be done. We often get down to this business very chaotically, still remembering the great time we had and the sunny beach. We try to get things done as quickly as possible. This is not effective at all and it can also be bad for your health. What if you stop obsessing about the things you need to catch up on and simply listen to your electronic assistant? Well, TIMATE makes it possible.


The whole system is based on the slow work principle which combines a conscious ritual of work with reasonable time management. The card enables flexible adjustment of tasks to the employee’s current health condition. So if you feel more tired than usual, you can ask your employer to give you more freedom in organizing the work schedule, since the statistics provided by TIMATE show you the number of hours you can use. Such an ongoing control allows to avoid post-holiday overworking and is crucial for eliminating the stress caused by the excessive number of tasks and duties at work.


What inspired us to create TIMATE was the lack of solutions that would benefit both the employers and the employees. Our card has no direct Internet access and it does not enable GPS installation. It uses a statistical analysis of motion measured by the sensor built into the employee ID without collecting any personal data. It is a fair win-win solution that gives measurable benefits to both sides, says Tomasz Łempiński from TIMATE.


Time will tell if the slow work technology can actually help to reduce stress at work. Right now one thing is for sure: regardless of the TNA system used by the employer, always remember about your breaks and find the time to leave aside all worries, tasks, deadlines and projects, at least for 15 minutes. It is equally significant to keep the right balance between life and work. The autumn is coming, so brace yourself and get the rest you need every day to effectively avoid the post-holiday spleen and crisis. And remember: even the best technology will not force you to take proper care of your health: that is solely your responsibility. So before you work overtime again, without even a short moment for regeneration, ask yourself: is it worth it?