We live in a 24 hour connected society with lines between “my time” and “company time” becoming more and more blurred. Millennials, and soon Re-gens, are accepting constant connectivity as the norm for the most part. They don’t seem to feel the need to disconnect. This goes for business and personal connectivity equally. Unfortunately that is the rub for most businesses. They want constant connectivity for business but not so much for personal.
I have some resistance to being tethered to my workplace 24/7. The resistance comes from my generation being told to not blur these lines. I feel cheated when I take calls, emails, or texts on my “off” time. I feel like I’m cheating when I do any type of personal communications during business hours.
Yet I’m finding it harder and harder not to do both. Society demands it. Work demands it. Family demands it. I have no doubt you’re feeling the pressure of constant connectivity as well. I also have no doubt that your company’s current attitude towards this is a tad hypocritical. So is there a balance? Does your business connectivity policies need to change?
Resistance is Futile.
Look around. Always-on devices are here to stay. Internet of Everything is here to stay. This melding of our daily personal and business life is here to stay. Employees personal wireless broadband keeps these devices available for any type of usage. As a company you really have no control over constant connectivity.
Also, with sales people it’s hard to distinguish between networking and personal time anyways. As a sales manager do you need to?
While micro-managers will adamantly disagree with me… I don’t think control is the answer. It is a new business/personal thought process that needs to take place. A melding if you will. More importantly a respect for both aspects of everyone’s life.
“You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.” ― Heather Schuck, The Working Mom Manifesto
I see the articles over and over again on how employees are wasting time with personal connections during “work hours”. Yet these same management complainers have no issue with contacting employees anytime during their weeknights and weekends. Assigning homework after hours.
I can certainly understand the need for employee dedication but at the expense of their personal life, real or perceived, is simply never going to work in the long run. Loyalty, creativity, and production are always at risk with this expectation. A change in business mindset is needed. I have a couple of suggestions.
- Managers need to realize that if they want 24/7 participation from future employees they will need to give them access, within reason, to their private lives during business hours. This would be without guilt for doing so and fear of looking like a less than employee.
- If a company wants more than 8 to 5 participation they will need to give virtual access to work 24/7 and not expect 12 to 14 hour workdays without personal integration.
What managers should be most interested in is whether their employees are getting their job done. Period. Are they hitting set goals and beyond? Are they bringing creative solutions to the table? If they are then do you, as a manager, really have a complaint?
I have been a workaholic for most of my career. My life/work balance has always been a challenge with burnout becoming a problem from time to time. I believe it is with most as one of my top popular articles is on overcoming burnout.
Believe it or not constant connectivity has helped. It does not have to be all work and no time for me to be successful anymore. Liberating. Here are a couple of examples:
- I let my 9 year old son call me anytime he wants through his tablet. He’ll call with a complaint or looking for kudos. He’ll call to simply talk about what I am doing and how my day is going. While this does not replace the necessary face to face time it does help. He and I are part of each others lives constantly.
- My four girls living all over the country connect with me through Facebook and WhatsApp. I am part of their lives constantly through this venue and should be. Life events with pictures, videos, and so on.
Reports are coming out now that show there should be some down-time (personal) for all employees during the workday for ultimate productivity. I’m not talking about calling a loved one and arguing for an hour (added stress) but more of catching up with friends and family or even some alone meditation/reflection. A break. Remember those?
“You cannot imagine the craving for rest that I feel—a hunger and thirst. For six long days, since my work was done, my mind has been a whirlpool, swift, unprogressive and incessant, a torrent of thoughts leading nowhere, spinning round swift and steady” ― H.G. Wells, When the Sleeper Wakes
A company needs to understand how important this part of my life is to me. If I am expected to participate in their 24/7 defined work ethic then they need to understand that I need constant connectivity to my family and friends. In whatever media format I choose, without repercussions.
I believe with some minor attitude and policy changes the question “When’s my time?” will disappear and production will increase. A win-win for everyone.© 2006-2017 SalesBlog! | Photos courtesy of 123RF