Working 24/7

Technology has created an expectation that employees and consultants are “on” 24/7.  It is an unrealistic and dangerous expectation.  It is unhealthy to work 24/7.  You lose your competitive edge, your clear insights and your ability to focus if you do not have adequate sleep and downtime.  While it is important to be responsive to customers and coworkers, it is also important to maintain a healthy work life balance.

  • Just because you are able to check messages doesn’t always mean you should.  General rule of thumb, don’t check if you aren’t going to do anything about it.  Then it just weighs heavy on your mind.
  • If you are checking off hours, forward it to someone who can help, respond it if is a quick answer or give them a timeframe of when you will be able to respond.
  • Set limits.  Check only at certain times of the day and limit the number of times you check.
  • If you need to schedule a virtual meeting to accommodate time differences, schedule it in advance and honor the appointment.  Don’t let them think you are constantly available.
  • Use your out of office setting to manage expectations about how quickly you will be able to respond.  Let them know if you are tied up in meetings or travelling so they know your response won’t be immediate.
  • Include an emergency contact in your email or phone message so they can contact someone else if you are not available.
  • On vacation, take a break.  Give yourself the benefit of vacation.  Set one time a day to check messages and forward anything urgent to a team member for coverage.
  • Clients and co-workers don’t really want to reach you when you are tired and grouchy.  Give them parameters for when you can be available.  Make special arrangements if they need something outside those parameters.
  • It is not necessary to answer every message as soon as it is received.
  • Technology should be enabling you to do your job with more flexibility it should not make you a slave to your job.
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