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Nicola Lathbury
Nicola Lathbury

04 September 2018 Nicola Lathbury 

Nicola Lathbury, managing director of Hexagon FM, explains the importance of not over working and looking after your health.

FM is fantastic, but it’s a sector in which everyone is ‘always on’. This is because most of us are extremely passionate about our work. 

But being passionate can also mean striving to exceed clients’ expectations, which can end up in burnout. We all want to succeed but being accessible 24/7 can hinder your progress.

The HSE reports that 526,000 UK workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17, and 12.5 million working days were lost.

Many FMs have expressed feeling burnt out, so why are we doing this to ourselves?

For me, not setting clear boundaries and the love of providing perfect customer service were part of it.

I recently needed some time out so I took a four-day holiday (two were work days), but I found myself justifying the break. I posted on LinkedIn apologising for not being available! 

Why did I feel the need to justify myself? Guilt perhaps? The worst part of this situation, I hadn’t even realised I was doing it until someone highlighted it. It was then I realised it’s OK to take time out.

I work hard, but rarely do I make time for myself. I never listened when friends and family told me to look after myself but I’m listening now and I’ve set boundaries such as:

  • Only accepting business calls during work hours (unless business-critical); 
  • Taking time off without technology;
  • Letting calls go to 
  • voicemail if busy;
  • Setting expectations with clients and candidates; and 
  • Switching off social media out of work hours.


I’ve set boundaries but also communicated this to those who need to know, resulting in more productive and happier people, including me. 

To be our best, we need to focus, replenish and refuel to ensure we can be productive and sustain output. Please, don’t forget to take care of your physical and mental health. 

Nicola Lathbury is managing director of FM recruitment specialist Hexagon FM