I was working for a large telecommunications company in the early days of broadband and we said the marvellous thing about it was that it’s ‘always on’. It opened up whole new opportunities to communicate, be entertained and do business across the world, anytime, anywhere. It struck me though that many businesses expect their people to be ‘always on’ as well, with a seriously detrimental effect on their decision-making ability, judgement, general health and well-being. We used to have something called the ‘Sunday afternoon club’ – it started off with a few people clearing their emails so they could personally start afresh on Monday morning. But somehow it gained momentum and it became expected that you would be responding to emails on Sunday and frowned upon if you didn’t.
Until one senior manager decided to break the pattern. She made it clear that she did not expect us to be part of the ‘Sunday afternoon club’ and we agreed a time in the mornings that would be acceptable to start calling each other – rather than the contest to see who could be on tap the earliest. What a difference it made to our capacity to deal with the day-to-day stresses, our well-being and morale. The ‘footprint of the leader’…….
So this seems a great time of year to reflect on whether you are ‘always on’ and whether you expect the same of your team. To take some time out, get off the hamster wheel and ask yourself what’s most important – it might be your family, friends, your own health…… Give yourself – and your team – a well deserved break.
I wish you a peaceful and joyous Christmas and New year – whatever your religion or none.If you haven’t already signed up to be notified of new posts go to ‘Email Subscription’ at the top right of the page.
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