Thanks in part to the “smartphone generation”, modern employees are able to check their emails and tasks from anywhere in the world whether they’re out of the office grabbing a bite to eat, travelling to a meeting or away from work completely, on a holiday or sitting in the park at the weekend for instance.
The current crop of employees are so fixated with their phones and the ability to text, call, instant message and email – and that’s before we get to social networking sites – that it’s hard to tell whether they’re actually “switching off” from work at all. In the past there was a feeling that work ended the moment you left the office or building each night or for the weekend because you were away from the phone and the email account on the computer on your desk.
There are rules in place that state that employees cannot work more than 48 hours in a single week, which leaves you questioning where this ability to access work emails and files anytime anywhere falls in relation to the law. You can install some sophisticated resource scheduling software that helps you plan when your employees are in and out of work each week, but even this can’t force them to turn off their emails or phones.
A lot of people use their phones as alarm clocks and, as such, the typical response in the morning is to reach for the phone to stop the alarm and – while it’s in your hand – check your emails and messages. This is all within a matter of seconds of waking up, such as the obsession with checking all incoming messages, emails and calls these days.
While it’s true that email has made our lives simpler, helping us communicate quickly and easily with anyone, anytime, anywhere; it has also become a burden. We find ourselves checking our inbox every couple of minutes or getting notifications through on our phones that make us instantly grab the nearest device – whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet or laptop and see what the person has to say.
It’s important from a managerial point-of-view that you try and convince your employees to have some “downtime.” While it’s good to know that they’re answering client or customer queries as soon as possible, keeping them up all night with questions is only going to wear them out and they’re no good to you if they’re yawning at their desk all day!
As an employee, you need to switch off at some point. You need to relax away from a working environment and make sure you have your own personal life with your friends, family and hobbies.
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