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What is StetWalk?

StetWalk is a portmanteau of the editors term stet and walk. Stet means ‘let it stand’. An editor might mistakenly cross something out or suggest an amend. Writing stet next to it indicates that the want to rollback that change.

Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

The term was popularised by US editor, Tanya Gold. Gold adopted StetWalk as a hashtag to describe when an editor (or writer) stands up from their desk and goes out for a walk to take a physical and mental break from staring at their screen.

How I came across StetWalk?

I heard about it from my friend my friend Siobhan who works as an editor of children’s and young adult books. Siobhan is typical of most freelance knowledge workers, probably spending far too much time hunched over a laptop working away.

StetWalk became a hashtag for writers and editors to normalise taking a break from their screen and getting a walk. They not only take a break, but normalise the act by sharing content about it on their social media.

Why do I care about it as an idea?

I think that there is a lot knowledge workers can learn from editors and writers.

Zoom fatigue

While we might not be in lockdown due to COVID-19 (at the moment at least), back-to-back calls on Slack | Teams or Zoom are now a normal part of our day. In an office you could get up from your desk or take a walk as the meetings set up are often a substitute for discussions that would have happened more fluidly. We lose the opportunities for breaks from the screen: a water-cooler moment, a cigarette break or a walk around the block that allows thoughts to come to the surface.

Economic impact

The causes of the ‘great resignation’ are multi-variant including chronic illness and fatigue due to long COVID, the challenges of employability that older workers face, but Dami Lee highlights a number of other work-related reasons including a sense of work life balance. Michael Page pointed out that remote work is also perceived as a benefit, but it also must have balance built within it.

Mental health is an issue

The agency that I currently work at has tactics in place to tackle mental health before it comes an issue and my boss is a ‘mental health first aider’. We have also contributed expertise to help charities looking to tackle mental burnout and health in other professions. I now have friends that talk openly about the challenges that they’ve faced maintaining good mental health.

This is in sharp contrast to when I used to work in the oil industry in which resilience was prized and sucking it up was the name of the game.

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