Employers in France are signing up to new rules to prevent employees being disturbed by after work emails, according to a new BBC report. With one in five visits to the Doctors now due to stress, leaving the work at the door can only be a good thing. Or so you would think. Others argue that this is impractical and that more and more employers expect their workers to deal with important issues in their personal time, be that evenings, weekends or even on holiday.
And it is easy to see why. Our love of technology mean’s that wherever we are we are almost always connected to the internet by our smart phones and tablets. Many people sleep with their phones by their bed as the phone doubles up as an alarm clock. Our colleagues can contact us 24/7 but rather than helping us do our jobs better this can easily have the opposite effect. Here are some of the problems that could be caused by always being available…
Fear of losing my job
If on some occasions I am not available, does that give out the impression that I are not committed to my job? Will I look like a clock watcher? A shirker?
Fear of losing customers
Will I be appear less responsive to my customers? Will they go to my competitors if they can’t get hold of me?
If I don’t check my emails there is a danger I may miss something. Yes I would like to spend my evenings relaxing, but who knows what might be going on if I’m not in the loop? I know when I read some emails from my colleagues, I can get wound up especially if I am out in the evening, but every job has its downside.
Fear of emergencies
What if something bad happens and I don’t know about it? I’m the only person who can sort out the problem effectively.
All of the above might be a problem if you were failing to respond during working hours, but realistically how many have been a real problem when your waking day is done? Most of the worries stem from fear – which in the main, are unlikely ever to be realised.
However much we like to think we are the only person capable of doing our job the truth is there are others out there who could take on our role. If evening work is really required, can the work be delegated, or could responsibility be rotated? Is it worth having a conversation with your boss? Or if you are the boss, what sort of culture are you expecting your employees to sign up to?
Obviously a lot will depend on the industry you work in but if you start thinking creatively you may be able to find a collective work response, rather than a personal response, to the out of office demands of your customers.
The bottom line is being constantly on call is not likely to benefit your health or your sanity. Everyone needs a break and after a proper rest, we come back to our work with a fresher and more energetic mindset. And your family will appreciate the fact your focus is on them and not on the Smart Phone in your hand.
For more work-related posts see