Communications technology empowers people to choose when and where they work - but you may be guilty of over-sharing at inappropriate times.
To understand why, consider emails you send on the weekend to get a jump on Monday morning.
Stop to think about what you just did.
Although we’d like to think that recipients of our emails appreciate our diligence, sending a work email out of hours imposes an obligation.
So with the best of intentions, you transferred your burden to the recipients of those mails.
Before you send those mail, instead ask yourself: Where are the recipients? Who are they (colleagues, employees, partners, clients, suppliers, your boss)? What were they doing when they received your email? Did they really need to see those emails? Could you have sent the emails on Monday? And do you think your email was well received?
Now consider that email is less ‘noisy’ than modes of communications such as SMS, WhatsApp and Slack. Chat tools are more immediate and intimate, implicitly demanding an instant response. The problem becomes more acute as unified communications and collaboration (UCC) systems spread, potentially pricking people for information at inappropriate times and denying them the right to unwind and regroup.
High-achieving managers and business owners may be the worst offenders, inflicting their work ethic on others while failing to appreciate that their roles, expectations and rewards for long hours are vastly different to those of colleagues.
It’s therefore important to monitor ‘digital workaholics’ because they are prone to burning out those around them who then leave the organisation, which hits the business’s bottom line.
And be wary of sending messages after hours that may cause the recipient undue stress and resentment and which may impact their work performance, relationships and longevity with the firm.
How do I cope? I fire off scores of emails most weekends but stage them to hit inboxes later in the week.
That gets things moving, but doesn’t push my team.
Shane Muller is co-founder of OBT. This story was adapted, with permission, from one of Shane's LinkedIn posts.
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