Digital Detox Friday – Work and Home life balance
We have spent the last detox fridays talking about the impact that mobile devices has on our free time and personal relationships.
This Friday we will look how to handle the work e-mails and phone calls after working hours and the balance between work and home.
Many employers give their employees work phones, tablet or laptops so that they will be able to work remotely. Nowadays it is not even uncommon that you are expected to read and reply to e-mails when you get home from work or even on your holiday. And even more often it is not even a demand from your employer, but many people feel a pressure to stay updated and check and reply their work e-mail in the evenings or even on their vacation.
A recent research published in Time Magazine showed that 52% of Americans check their work e-mail before and after their work and even when they are taking sick days. 40% also say that they do the same while on vacation. This of course makes our work/home life balance very complicated as we are never really off work.
Many might feel a relief in replying a message instantly to save time and workload for the day after. But studies show that employees that stay work from home in evenings an on vacations more often have sleep problems, stress related problems and are more often sick. Our bodies need the mental break to recharge and recover.
The German car maker Daimier realised this and introduced a new e-mail policy – once their employees go on vacation, and the auto-response is turned on, the server automatically delete all the e-mails that come in. The auto-response the sender receives reads as following: ” I am on vacation. I cannot read your email. Your email is being deleted. Please contact Hans or Monika if it’s really important, or resend the email after I’m back in the office. Danke Schoen.”
The company report that the senders of e-mails rarely are annoyed with this response, but rather react positively to it.
But even if you are not working in Daimier, you can learn something from their policy. Most likely your employer is not forcing you to work after you get home or to check your e-mail during holidays, so try to turn it off. Don’t bring your work phone with you, turn off the e-mail notifications and take the time to relax, spend your time doing other stuff, recharge your battery and come back to work rested and more productive.