Following on from my Work Life Balance blog last month, this time I wanted to raise the subject of taking calls or emails out of work hours.
More and more I hear of people having access to their work emails on their phones and taking calls and checking/sending emails out of hours, even when away on vacation.
It’s just not healthy and not good for our wellbeing. We should generally have set working hours and set non-work hours. Admittedly, most people need to work a bit extra or do some overtime occasionally these days, either by staying later in the office or completing a bit of work at home, which is par for the course in today’s workplace. However, it should be just that – occasional.
After a busy working day or week, we should all have our set downtime and not be tempted to log on to check work emails or accept phone calls. In this hectic period of work, we all need to take time to spend with family or friends, relaxing, undertaking sport or outside pursuits, basically however we want to use those free hours.
If we work during our vacations, where is the rest and recuperation? Where is the quality family or friends time? I was so surprised on a recent family holiday to see most people on the beach spending a long time on their phones. Okay, perhaps they were on social media, but I definitely overheard some work calls there too.
Why has work overtaken our lives? Perhaps we all got used to it during Covid lockdowns, that it’s become our way of life now. In those days, we didn’t really have a break between work and home life, as we were home 24/7 with our PC’s in front of us and just a small amount of exercise and fresh air permitted. Maybe we got bored and kept working for that reason. As I’m sure lots of you did, I ended up working sometimes a 50-hour week. It was too tempting with the laptop right there to check if that important client had responded, or whether there had been any developments with that big deal.
But we can’t continue that long term. As I said in last month’s blog, many people are now requesting reduced or flexed hours to fit around their lifestyle. We want more out of life. We want some “me time”. So we all need to learn to put down the laptop or phone and take time offline for ourselves.