Scheduled emails may encourage flexible working, but they mask long working hours

Can scheduling sending save us from out-of-hours emails?

Today we are going to address from OUR EDITORIAL a topic that is being a trending topic in a number of media on a global scale, since there is a direct relationship between all the elements that we will analyze through the vision of people who are directly or indirectly linked to this sector. The compatibility of schedules to make a work and personal life that is more in line with the needs of each person, which implies that we also analyze what flexible work is and how it works. Why is work-life balance important? And a number of questions to which we will find answers, and at the center of the storm is of course that constant complication of time that means answering and receiving emails.

We start with Bethan Staton is the Financial Times’ deputy editor for work and careers, covering all things work. She previously covered education and public policy and was a reporter for the Financial Times Women’s Fund, on topics including economics and transport. Before joining the FT, Bethan was a reporter at Sky News and a freelance journalist in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt.

Research Cable conducted in 2009 and found that more people preferred scheduling in the opposite direction: scheduling mail to arrive after 7 p.m. m., for example, to make it look like they were working late when they weren’t


And she makes it very easy:

Time messages can help flexible working, but mask long hours. Like many young researchers, Stephana Julia Moss sometimes finds herself sending emails late at night. Not that her colleagues know: she uses the scheduled send feature so that emails composed at 11 p.m. m. arrive the next morning.

For Moss and many of her friends, who work after hours because childcare encroaches on the nine-to-five, the role is invaluable. “Given the demands many young female teachers face, there are certain parts of our day when we can’t respond to our email when our counterparts can,” she says.

Many workers using tricks that allow them to work flexibly

As the boundaries between work and free time become more porous, Moss is one of many workers using tricks that allow them to work flexibly, while protecting colleagues’ free time and respecting some uniformity in working hours.

But even the biggest fans of the send later button acknowledge that it’s an imperfect solution.

Advocates say she defines after-hours work as discretionary and should not be imposed on others. It means tackling a task without creating immediate additional work and allows time to review unnoticed errors.

Evangelists share tips like scheduling an email for a few minutes after the hour, and not at 8 a.m. m., by default, so that the recipients do not notice.

“It’s useful if I’m working at a strange time and want the email to arrive in someone’s inbox at a less strange time. If you’re really doing mental hours, other people won’t know,” says one media executive.

There’s a small pleasure in clearing out a messy inbox on a free night and then arriving at work the next day just as an avalanche of carefully crafted responses arrive from colleagues.

Dan Cable, professor at London Business School, says the growing popularity of programming is a result of the Covid pandemic

People found themselves working more irregular hours from home, but wanted to maintain that established hours still mattered. This is a change from before 2020.

Research Cable conducted in 2009 and found that more people preferred scheduling in the opposite direction: scheduling mail to arrive after 7 p.m. m., for example, to make it look like they were working late when they weren’t.

“Bosses saw long hours as an indicator of commitment, so people simulated that desk time,” says Cable. “Now it’s used the other way around: people pretend they’re working during business hours when they’re not.”

Bonnie Dilber, recruiting leader at job platform Zapier, still schedules emails for when colleagues return from vacation or sick leave. But she has decided to reduce use of the feature because she believes it creates a false image of how and when we work



Some people do not agree that it is good to disguise work hours

Bonnie Dilber, recruiting leader at job platform Zapier, still schedules emails for when colleagues return from vacation or sick leave. But she has decided to reduce use of the feature because she believes it creates a false image of how and when we work.

“Instead of hiding from others when we work, we should normalize ourselves and not expect immediate answers,” she says. “That means respecting the fact that people want to work when and how it makes sense for them, and having conversations about what that might look like.”


In a Eurofound survey last year, more than 80% of workers reported receiving work-related communications outside of their contractual working hours

The vast majority said they answered them. Trades Union Congress policy officer Matt Creagh says scheduling can help stop this “work intensification” by reducing email volumes. But he fears it could mask larger workload problems. “People still work at night.”

Instead of “placing the burden on the individual to address organizational culture,” Creagh says employers should ensure that tasks can be reasonably completed within working hours. They may also limit expectations for nighttime communication.

Some have already taken action: In 2012, Volkswagen reportedly took steps to have some emails sent after hours held on servers until the next day. More recently, new laws on the right to disconnect have encouraged similar practices.

In France, unions and employers should work together on policies that protect staff’s free time

Some have opted for organization-wide schedules or warnings in after-work emails, according to the TUC.

Creagh emphasizes that these should not be “one-size-fits-all” bans, but rather based on ongoing conversations with staff about their needs.

Among students and colleagues, Moss now sees better communication about email response expectations and managers who are happier to accommodate them.

Programming isn’t the only way to support it, but it helps. “My friends and I use it not so much to create the illusion that we are working in a matter of hours but to be respectful of those we work with,” he says.

In a Eurofound survey last year, more than 80% of workers reported receiving work-related communications outside of their contractual working hours



The future of flexible work

As employees increasingly work outside the traditional 9-to-5 schedule, David Greenhalgh questions whether employers need to rethink their own definitions of flexible working.


David Greenhalgh is an employment lawyer based in London, having joined new model national law firm Excello from Joelson, where he was a partner and head of the employment department.

The flexible working phenomenon is evolving

Originally an option for parents or carers who needed to fit their work life around their caring responsibilities, it has now become much broader than employers can imagine, with people looking to work according to their preferences, rather than their needs. .

While there is no legal definition of flexible working, the general term can encompass all types of work outside the office, including from home, a co-working space or other location, hot desking, and even logging in outside the designated workplace. . hours. According to a recent report from the University of the West of England, 54 percent of rail passengers use onboard Wi-Fi to send work emails during their journey.

Prevent “flexism”

In legal terms, employees have the legal right to make a formal flexible working request after 26 weeks of service, and can make such requests every 12 months. The risk with these more formal requests is that employees may feel anxious about the process, especially when it comes to the possibility of the requests being rejected.

In fact, research by Quinyx found that 16 percent of employees felt their boss would react badly to a request for a more flexible work schedule, and another 15 percent were concerned it could negatively impact their career progression.

On the other side of the coin, even those who have had their flexible working requests addressed may feel that there are negative consequences.



In fact, a survey conducted by Timewise, flexible work experts

It found that two-thirds of part-time workers feel isolated and have difficulty making professional connections; 65% feel less connected to their own teams and almost seven in 10 (68%) accept concessions in their own career because they feel very grateful that their request was accepted.

Each of these figures should raise alarm bells for employers who want to encourage flexible working in their team, as it is clear that employees who want to work more flexibly are discouraged from doing so, and that responsibility falls on the employer. in order to solve it. So what can be done?

Foster a flexible culture

One in 10 employees in the UK already have some form of flexible working contract and, with this number only set to increase, employers must be able to adapt to an increasingly flexible workforce.

Instead of relying on formal requests, companies should foster a more flexible culture. This may include work-from-home initiatives, flexible hours, or introducing a hot desking option to streamline time in the office.

Technology can help here too. Especially for desktop roles, a lot of work can be done anywhere, as long as there is access to a phone and an internet connection.

However, with the rise of flexible working comes the need for stricter policies. Employees who take a more flexible approach to work may find it difficult to avoid blurring the lines between work and home life and, as such, often respond to emails or make calls outside contracted hours. To make this clear, employers should have policies in place to demonstrate if and when this is expected, to ensure employees are not at risk of increased stress.

Some have already taken action: in 2012, Volkswagen allegedly took measures so that some emails sent after hours were retained on servers until the next day



The world of work is changing

Employees are increasingly aware of how, where and when they can work more effectively and want to change their work lives to accommodate this. As such, employers must adapt and implement policies to encourage a more flexible work culture now, to meet employee demands in the future.


What do you consider your “normal” work schedule?

Thais Guillén is Signicat’s marketing manager in the United Kingdom.

As we all know, the pandemic has given rise to a more flexible work-from-home culture, leading to people managing their own schedules rather than having to follow a strict 9 to 5 routine. But what are they for? Do you have “normal” work hours?

#Can work schedules be too flexible?

Some people may start working a little later in the day and finish later, some people may start early to finish early, and some people may work in chunks throughout the day until they complete their daily work hours.

Workers are creating their own schedules (to the extent their companies allow) so they can work when they are most productive. They are making their work fit into their lives and not the other way around, as it used to be. We are creating our work hours and “normal” differs from each other.

This can certainly be great because flexibility and productivity often go hand in hand. However, it may also result in emails being sent and received outside of normal business hours.

For some, these emails may be ignored, but for others, they can accumulate over time and become a source of stress that affects their mental health and overall well-being, especially if the emails are from their managers.

Working beyond normal hours

Due to the nature of our jobs, particularly when we work in a multicultural and multinational company, we can usually find ourselves working beyond our “working hours” to complete a project or perform an important task, which can sometimes lead to sending emails emails or Slack/Teams messages during those “non-normal” work hours. However, we must recognize that this may be stressful for some people, especially if the sender of the email is an administrator or above.

#How to avoid burnout

To avoid burnout, we must be aware of how others around us feel at work. That’s why we need to look for ways to ensure that our “normal” work hours don’t negatively impact others. Here are some ideas for both people who send emails outside of normal business hours and those who may receive them:

While there is no legal definition of flexible working, the general term can encompass all types of work outside the office, including from home, a co-working space or other location, hot desking, and even logging in outside the workplace. designated job. hours



# Did you receive emails outside of your “normal” work hours?

Here are three things you can do (on both your laptop and your phone):

1) Set yourself to “Away” or “Offline” and suspend notifications.

Whether you’re using Slack, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Gmail, or other tools, there’s usually an option to pause notifications. If you set your status to “Away” or “Offline”, you can also ask your colleagues not to contact you during that time and schedule your messages/emails.


2) Set your work schedule in Outlook.

By doing this, your coworkers will be notified of your work hours before they hit “Send” on an email.

3) Block your calendar, like you would during the holidays,

And use your out-of-office message to set response time expectations. For example, you could use the following examples for your automated email message:

– “Thank you for contacting us. Since we work at a company with multiple time zones and have a flexible work schedule policy, please note that my work schedule is X – X. I will do my best to respond to your email as soon as possible. as soon as possible during those working hours.”

– “Please note that, to protect my work-life balance, I do not read or respond to emails outside of my normal work hours. I will address it as soon as possible during X-X.”

#Sending emails outside of your “normal” work hours?

Three things you can do:

1) If you work for a company that does not have a flexible work schedule policy

And require all employees to follow the same schedule—just don’t send emails outside of work hours. Instead, schedule your shipment during normal business hours, as defined by your company policy.

Research by Quinyx found that 16 percent of employees felt their boss would react badly to a request for a more flexible work schedule, and another 15 percent were concerned it could negatively affect their career progression



2) If you work for a company that allows flexible hours,

Your company’s policy probably already recognizes that you don’t need to respond immediately to emails outside of business hours. However, it may be helpful for a high-ranking member of your company to send an email to all employees, highlighting this policy and encouraging them to take necessary action.

Here are some examples:

– “At <company name>, we value and respect flexible working arrangements, so please respond when you’re working.”

– “<company name> ‘is a flexible employer with teams working across multiple time zones. Although we can send emails at a time that is convenient for each of us, no one expects you to read, respond to, or follow up on emails outside of your work hours.”

– “You are not expected to respond to emails outside of your working hours. At <company name>, we value and encourage flexible working, so please rest assured that we respect everyone’s working pattern and look forward to hearing from you the next time you are at work and we can respond.”

3) Consider adding a disclaimer to your email signature

To inform people why you can write to them outside of “normal” business hours and to relieve the pressure to respond immediately.

Here are some examples:

– “Since I work in multiple time zones and on a flexible schedule, I’m sending this message now because it works for me. Feel free to read, act or respond in the

– “I choose to work flexibly and may be in a different time zone than you, so I may send this email outside of normal business hours. There is no need to respond or act badly to my emails outside of yours.”

– “We work flexible work schedules in multiple time zones. If you received an email from me outside of normal business hours, please know that I do not expect you to read or respond to it immediately. “

– “Due to my new crossover of work and family schedules, you may receive emails from me outside of normal work hours. Please don’t feel pressured to respond outside of your own work hours.”

– “My work day may be different from yours. Please do not feel obligated to respond outside of your normal work hours.”

– “Sometimes I send emails after hours; “I don’t expect others to do it.”

– “I work flexibly and can send emails outside of normal working hours. “Your immediate response is not expected.”

– “I sometimes work irregular hours, so if this email arrives in your inbox after hours, I don’t expect you to read, act, or respond to it outside of your work hours.”

– “My work day may be different from yours. Please do not feel obligated to respond outside of your normal work hours.”

A survey conducted by Timewise, experts in flexible working, found that two-thirds of part-time workers feel isolated and have difficulty establishing professional connections



It is important to highlight that even with these measures in place, if the email you send raises a potentially concerning issue

It can still have an impact on the recipient’s reaction. Therefore, managers should be mindful of the content they send and remember not to send emails about sensitive topics outside of work hours.


While these ideas won’t make constant connectedness, workaholism, or job stress magically disappear, they can help create a culture of respect for boundaries and recognition that work doesn’t have to be all-consuming.

Honoring other people’s boundaries is calming and helps others feel comfortable maintaining theirs. This can encourage a healthier work-life balance and potentially reduce stress levels. It’s critical to remember that these disclaimers are just one part of a broader solution to addressing work-related stress and burnout.


Email…The Thief of Time! And 5 simple rules to stop it!

Will Trevor is the director of programs, operations and marketing at the Tufts Gordon Institute at Tufts University, a professor and a renowned TEDx Speaker, and the founder and training consultant of Windsor Training

Email has become both a boon and a bane for anyone who wants to stay on top of their daily tasks, so how can we effectively manage our inbox and fool the time thief?

Once upon a time there were two managers: one of them ignored most of the emails sent to him and the other did nothing but answer emails all day long.

After a while, colleagues learned not to bother sending anything to the first manager, because they knew the emails would go unanswered and sit in their inbox unopened and unread.

However, the second manager did nothing more than respond to emails, so he constantly received an ever-growing inbox of messages, which increased his workload and prevented him from tackling other tasks.

They were both unproductive and relatively ineffective managers, and unfortunately, this little story doesn’t end with a “happily ever after” for either manager.

Whether you are using Slack, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Gmail or other tools, there is usually an option to pause notifications. If you set your status to “Away” or “Offline”, you can also ask your colleagues not to contact you during that time and schedule your messages/emails



Those who ignore everything and those who constantly respond

You are probably familiar with people like this from your own experience and workplace. Email has transformed our working lives in many ways and, despite the emergence of so many other forms of workplace communication, it remains the primary tool for organizations and is likely to remain so for many years to come.

Unless you’re experienced enough to get your way, most of us would end up losing our jobs if we decided to be “ignore everything” and just ignore emails on a regular basis. Many people who employ this strategy often differentiate between senders and then select only the most important emails, or those that could cost them their job if ignored.

The ‘constant responders’, however, are colleagues who put a stick on their backs and become slaves to their email, either to appear busy or because they don’t know how to organize themselves more effectively.

Therefore, they can become a mailbox for others, because others know that they will receive a response, regardless of the relevance or importance of the email.

5 simple tips to master your inbox

There has to be a middle ground, so here are five simple tips to master your inbox and outwit the time thief:

#1: Set a specific time for emails

Don’t just wait for every notification that an email has arrived in your inbox or keep hitting the “receive” button to see what just arrived; Instead, set aside a specific time during which you will respond to emails. Maybe it’s the first hour of the day or maybe it’s the last hour before returning home, either way set aside the time that’s appropriate and stick to it.

#2: Should I call instead?

I once did a little experiment with a colleague and we decided to go a week without sending any emails unless it was absolutely unavoidable. Instead, we called people or went to visit them at their desk.

The result was that we actually got things done more quickly and were often able to get things done efficiently as well, largely because we could express our needs more fully and clearly in person.

Set your work schedule in Outlook. By doing this, your coworkers will be notified of your work hours before they hit “Send” on an email



#3: Set expectations for others

Some people create long distribution lists, believing that they are keeping others informed or because they want to show as many people as possible how busy they are.

Sometimes they’re unavoidable, but if they get cumbersome, tell the sender that you’d like to send a regular update, maybe once a week, rather than copying everyone when something new comes up. This helps set expectations and should reduce the number of emails.

#4: Prioritize

Effective time management is about prioritizing and that requires the manager to differentiate between the urgent and the important with an ABC categorization and the same goes for emails.

If it’s urgent and important, then it’s an A and respond promptly and give it top priority. If it’s urgent, but not important, then it’s a B and respond quickly, but not before you’ve responded to the A’s.

If it’s neither urgent nor important, it’s a C and you should consider whether it’s worth responding or whether a friendly reminder to the sender could ensure your inbox doesn’t get bogged down with more such emails.

#5: Use rules

Whether you use Gmail or Outlook, you can use rules to categorize and prioritize emails, whether they’re from priority senders or about specific topics that need urgent attention. This will greatly help you achieve the prioritization recommended in point 4.


Email Habits to Break at Work

In the Woodforde Group they define themselves as:

– Where we seek to connect people… with passion, dedication and commitment.

– Staffing and selection Manly, Queensland

– Markets

Customer Service, Accounting and Finance, Banking and Financial Services, Healthcare, Human Resources, Legal, Manufacturing and Warehousing, Marketing, Office Administration and Support, Education and Child Care, Insurance, Health and Safety

At Woodforde Group, our goal is to connect people with passion, dedication and commitment. What does that mean? As a team, we are a passionate group who strive to connect both our clients and our candidates to ensure the best results for everyone. With dedication and commitment, our team is always focused on this goal.

Replying to company-wide emails, unclear subject lines, sending emails in the middle of the night, or sending copies without approval, the list of email habits that are unfavorable in the workplace seems endless.

Below, we look at some common email habits you should ditch at work if you’re currently practicing them and why.

A communication that can be used is “Thank you for contacting us. Since we work in a company with multiple time zones and we have a flexible work schedule policy, please note that my work schedule is X – X. I will do my best to respond to your email as soon as possible during those business hours.”




Not only are most people’s email inboxes constantly receiving and sending emails, but we also often need to check old emails for a multitude of reasons. If an email has the subject (NO SUBJECT) or “hello” or something irrelevant to the content of the email, it becomes difficult for the recipient to not only look for it if they need to refer to it later, but also when prioritizing their Emails.

These untitled emails are usually placed at the bottom of priority as the content of the email is unclear and can sometimes be missed entirely.

The BCC and CC debate

Bcc and CC are used for a multitude of reasons in the workplace, but it’s common courtesy that if you’re going to BCC or CC someone in an email, the person has the context of why they’re included in the email. thread.



Let’s stop the time thief on social media

How to prevent social networks from stealing your time

Social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and even emails have become a much bigger part of our lives in recent times.

The value of greater ease of communication with others is enormous. Now we can quickly and easily stay in touch with people from different countries, different time zones, or even just different floors of the office.

The benefit of being able to send an email in the morning and have your question answered before lunch is huge.

It’s also much easier to email someone instead of playing tennis on the phone, where it seems almost impossible to catch them when they’re free and for them to catch you when you’re free.

It’s a huge time saver to simply send them an email and allow them to respond on their own time. How fabulous to be able to follow a family member through their Facebook photos as they travel the world on their trip of a lifetime.

Who wants to go back to having to wait weeks for a letter to arrive in the mail to find out what someone is doing (or, realistically, what they were doing a month ago) and then having to look through 1,001 photos upon their return?

If you work for a company that does not have a flexible work schedule policy and requires all employees to follow the same schedule, simply do not send emails outside of working hours



The immediacy of these tools can certainly add value to our lives

However, problems arise when the tool that once made our lives easier becomes something that distracts us from our current task or extends our workday to intrude on what used to be our family time.

Before it was possible to leave the office and be free from work until returning the next day. Now, with access to email even on our phones, it’s very easy to fall into the temptation of “just checking one thing” and spend more hours working after we’re supposed to have finished.

I once had a co-worker who was prone to doing this. He received and responded to work emails at any time of the day or night; yes, even at 2 in the morning. The ultimate price to his health and ability to do his job was quite catastrophic.

There has to come a time when work stops and personal life begins

However, it can be difficult to use willpower alone to avoid this. Sometimes we need to have the help of technology itself to give us a hand.

Steps to prevent social networks from controlling your life:

1) Turn off notifications on your smart devices.

If you see a notification that you have 3 new items on Facebook or 2 new emails when you pick up your phone just to add them to your shopping list, it can be almost impossible to ignore them.

It’s so easy to think “I’ll just take a look,” get distracted, and end up spending the next 20 minutes watching cat videos or responding to problems at work. When we finish that, we forget why we took our phone in the first place and have essentially stolen time that we could have used for some more meaningful purpose. Or at least an activity we actively choose to do.

If you work for a company that allows flexible hours, it is likely that your company policy already recognizes that it is not necessary to respond immediately to emails outside of working hours



2) Disable “fetch new data” in your email.

At work, having emails automatically appear on your desktop can be very distracting. It’s easy to miss an important train of thought due to the distraction of the pop-up window.

Even if we don’t respond to the email or take the same type of action because of it, it can take 20 minutes or more to get back to the thinking zone we were in previously. The task will inevitably take longer to complete and may not be completed. as good as it could have been otherwise.

When I first bought my iPad, the default setting was for all emails to ping every time they arrived. This was horrible. I had multiple subscriptions, so I received a lot of emails every day. Many of them were from abroad and, given the time difference, they could easily arrive in the middle of the night.

The last thing I needed was for my iPad to ping and wake me up from a deep sleep. For more information on technology’s effect on sleep, see “Is Sleep Overrated?”

3) Set a specific time each day to read work emails.

Setting a specific time each day to read work emails can be a huge help.

Of course, if your occupation requires immediate response to customer problems, for example, this won’t work for you, but for most people, setting up 2 or 3 times during the day to read and deal with emails can be a lifesaver.

I know that every time I read my emails I should spend up to 45 minutes working on the tasks the emails have created for me. I want this to be the time I’ve allotted for these tasks and not something that takes me away from an important project I was working on.

Often the urgency of the email will make me want to drop everything and address it first. I’ve developed the philosophy that if something is really urgent, a phone call or a visit to my office will alert me to it.

The time you choose to read your emails will be purely personal. You may need to read your emails first thing in the morning to respond to any issues that have arisen and need immediate attention. You may find it better to complete your important tasks first and check your emails later in the morning when you can address them.

Obviously, you need to decide what works best for you, but just because someone can send an email at any time doesn’t mean they’re entitled to an immediate response. Someone who needs an immediate response can pick up the phone to do so.

A great article that investigates this in more detail is: “The Cost of Continually Checking Email.” -Harvard Business Review.

4) Establish a specific time each day to interact with Social Networks.

This one is much more difficult, I admit. The pull of these things can be very strong once you have begun to engage fully in them. It’s very easy to lose track of time in this zone and then find ourselves trying to catch up in other areas of our lives, including our important relationships.

I’m not recommending throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I enjoy interacting with friends on social media. I can keep up with a good friend who is abroad, easily communicate with people who are in a different time zone, and see photos of my nieces and nephews who live far away. The positives are enormous. We just need to find a way to maintain balance.

Consider adding a disclaimer to your email signature to let people know why you can write to them outside of “normal” business hours and to alleviate the pressure to respond immediately



The future of work: How should we view work-life balance?

UC business professors and staff discuss how to set boundaries and avoid burnout

Kyle Shaner is the public information officer at the University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of remote work, and other disruptions to the way we work have led many employers and employees to reconsider work-life balance issues.

Two professors and a staff member from the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business discuss how employees and employers can take steps to improve work-life balance, how time off should be managed paid and the possibility of a four-day work week.

The experts are:

– Kevin Hardy, Associate Dean and Karen Bennett Hoeb, Director of Cooperative Education, Lindner Career Services

– Elaine Hollensbe, PhD, department chair and professor of management, Department of Management

– Laurens Steed, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Management

Why is work-life balance important?

Steed: From an employee perspective, we have evidence that returning home and recovering from work is good for sleep, mental well-being, and work performance. It is good for the employee both physiologically and for their productivity in the workplace. I think it’s important for employers to prioritize giving employees the ability to disconnect from work so they can have some of those benefits.


Hollensbe: People have different definitions of what work-life balance means, and that’s something important to consider. For example, there is a certain group of people who really like to keep those areas of their lives separate. They have almost erected a boundary between their work and home. There are other people who are quite comfortable mixing work and home, and they are integrators. They don’t need a separation.

Steed: I’ve seen people start using the terms work-life integration versus work-life balance, where they talk about how to fit their work into their life rather than seeing the two as opposites. The pandemic changed that a lot. For many people, work was in the living room or basement, making it much more difficult to draw clear lines between work and life.

Hollensbe: Most people find it really stressful not to have some segmentation. There are many more segmenters than integrators in the world.

Although these ideas will not make constant connectivity, work addiction or work stress magically disappear, they can help create a culture of respect for limits and recognition that work does not have to consume all the time. time



How do employees ensure they maintain a proper work-life balance?

Steed: Some of this depends on the person. People can be more of a segmenter or an integrator. Neither is good or bad, but people can find themselves on different sides of the spectrum. Some of this is knowing your personal preferences and working to maintain boundaries that align with them.

Hollensbe: One really important thing we’ve discovered is communicating those preferences. If you prefer to keep things separate and are in a position where you can make that clear to people, it’s important to do so and communicate the expectations you have. Your expectations about work-life balance may be different than your employer’s. And that sometimes suggests a bad fit.

If there are organizations that really require people to be available 24/7, and you like to segment that part of your life, that’s a problem. To ensure work-life balance, consider what your preferences are, communicate those preferences, and find a workplace that values the same type of separation as you do.

Hardy: What employers are doing, and good managers are trying to do, is implement what I would call “safety systems,” so that if they see employees working long hours, they say, “Hey, it’s okay. “This can wait.” Or prioritize one thing over another.

What COVID has taught us is that anything is possible. We used to say, “We’re going to be here Monday through Friday, 8 to 5, that’s how we do business.” [COVID] forced us to say, “Well, now we have to work differently.” For the most part, many organizations did it, thrived, and were able to figure it out. To retain employees, especially now that the job market is employee-friendly, companies are going to try anything. If that’s what this person wants, let’s investigate. And they say that some people are more productive.



How has the rise in remote work affected the way people view work-life balance?

Hardy: Remote work was a situation where people found it difficult to turn off the computer. They felt like I was always there and, personally, I still feel that way. I work longer hours when I tend to work from home.

Hollensbe: It certainly eliminates things like travel time. Personally, I gained two hours. Sometimes it takes me an hour to get home. I discovered that I had more time for personal things. I started an exercise regimen. I wasn’t alone in that. People I’ve talked to have chosen to do something they’ve never done before, like hobbies, going for a walk, or learning something new like cooking.

I think there are other people who are workaholics and decide, “I have two more hours to work.” Part of this is individual preference.

Steed: I’ve heard of people, especially during the height of COVID, who realized they actually missed their trip. For example, maybe they arrive by car and that’s when they change their family life for work and always listen to a specific radio program. People started doing things to simulate a trip. Maybe I go for a quick walk and listen to my radio show, and then I sit down and start my day. Or establish other routines that signal that transition.

I think some of that goes back to that segmentation preference. If you’re a segmenter, that transition was probably harder for you than for people who don’t have trouble with that fluidity between their lives. I think it helps if people can put structures and routines in place to mark those transitions between work and home, especially if they like to keep those domains separate.

Hollensbe: I have a friend who had a system where, when he went to work in the morning, he would kiss the kids goodbye, then go upstairs and close the door. His children respected the boundary, which is actually a physical boundary between home and work that he established.

Should employees be expected to respond to work calls or emails outside of their normal work hours?

Hollensbe: The expectation that employees are always available is detrimental. There are some organizations and companies that think that employees are always available when they can work from home. So what would traditionally be free time becomes opportune time. During COVID, there were a lot of crooks calling or emailing after hours, and that’s bad for people. It is detrimental not only to work-life balance, but also to employee well-being and job performance.


Steed: A lot of this comes from your company. If you’re a segmenter and your boss emails you all night, there’s a lot you can do. Many of these decisions and norms are set by company leaders and culture, which has a lot to do with whether employees are able to achieve the type of balance they desire. I think that depends on the job and the expectations you have when doing it. Some jobs are customer-focused. If your clients need it at 11 p.m. and the expectation is that you have to respond, then you probably have to respond.

Hollensbe: Actually, it’s more the nature of the work. In some positions, obviously, employees are on call. For example, there are healthcare workers who are on call; That’s part of your job expectations.

Steed: There is no one-size-fits-all solution. In some jobs it’s easy to draw those lines and contain the work within the workday, and other jobs don’t work that way. Part of this is setting those expectations for potential employees up front while you’re hiring, while you’re hiring.

Hollensbe: I have a friend who did a study of organizations that have accessibility expectations after work, [for example] we can email him at night or anytime. In reality, that created emotional exhaustion in people. It wasn’t just about having to address the email, but it was this anticipated stress that they needed to be on red alert for the arrival of an email. For segmenters that was especially problematic. His study was really interesting because it was the idea of expecting to receive an email, not necessarily receiving the email, that caused this distress and emotional exhaustion in people. And then they are not good employees if they are emotionally drained and exhausted.

Steed: I recently saw something in personal emails that I really liked. They have a little thread at the bottom that says, “I’m sending this email now, but my work schedule may differ from yours. Don’t feel obligated to respond right away.” Or being really thoughtful, if you’re a manager, it’s 7 p.m. and something pops into your head, and this is a good time to send that email, you can communicate to your employees, “Hey, I don’t do that.” I need an answer until tomorrow.” Otherwise, people will feel obligated to respond when it comes to something that may not really be urgent.

Hardy: Probably the most important thing people should do if they’re a victim of, “Hey, my schedule is 8 to 5, but they keep asking me to do things at 5:30, 6,” is to [take advantage of] numerous online resources. via LinkedIn. Anyone who needs help setting boundaries with their coworkers or supervisor should check out some of those resources to help them know what to say.

Email has become both a blessing and a nightmare for anyone who wants to stay on top of their daily tasks, so how can we effectively manage our inbox and fool the time thief?



How can people avoid burnout?

Hollensbe: There’s a theory in management called cognitive resource theory, which means you only have a limited amount of resources. If they run out, you won’t be any good to anyone. Burnout is a situation where you have exhausted all your resources. You can’t think anymore. Cognitive resource theory would suggest that ways are needed to replenish those resources. Maybe it’s a respite. Maybe it’s taking some time and going somewhere with your family or going somewhere where you have some solitude. Maybe it’s [finding] time for a hobby.


Steed: One thing about the pandemic is that it put employee well-being, time off, and employee burnout at the forefront of discussions within companies. Employers realized they had to start prioritizing employee well-being more.

Hollensbe: It can help identify what schedule would work best for you. Maybe we don’t just impose a schedule on him and then change his schedule every week. Maybe we’ll give him a consistent schedule and try to work it out. For example, someone who works in a grocery store may have a week working the morning shift; Next week they close and next week they have to work on Saturday. These are detrimental to someone’s work-life balance. Creating consistent schedules is something that could be done for these types of workers.

Steed: There’s a book I love by Dr. Leslie Perlow called “Sleeping with Your Smartphone.” She did a study at Boston Consulting Group, an elite consulting firm where they work all the time. She implemented a program called “Predictable Time Off,” where they basically forced at least one employee on the team to take a day off. In fact, they discovered that she helped the entire team.

She helped people spend more time with their families or do the things they wanted to do in their personal lives. They also had to communicate to do that. If I know I’m not going to work tomorrow and you’re on my team, I’ll say, “Hey, this is what you might expect to hear from the client or this is the work you might see in progress. “So, it actually led to better communication within the team and a better perception of work-life balance.

Hollensbe: It will mean convincing managers that they actually measure productivity and think that productivity is the be-all and end-all of every company. I think it will also be necessary to recognize that well-being is an outcome that people need. Even if your goal is to make a profit and be productive, the way is to treat people as human beings and recognize that they have a life outside of work.

How should paid time off be viewed in the United States, where workers tend to have less paid time off than their counterparts in Europe?

Steed: I think paid time off is extremely important for employees and their well-being. The way Europe does it, I don’t see that happening in the United States. I think what we can do in the system is encourage employees to take time off, offer time off as an employer and prioritize people taking it. There is a certain level of not only offering PTO but also making sure people accept it. That comes from modeling at the top. Have leaders take time off and respect free time. It is important to give people predictable and respected time off.

Hollensbe: It’s pretty surprising because in my classes I have students who are from Europe and they talk about benefits packages and vacations and time off, and our American students are speechless because they’re lucky to get a week of time off. Then there are these people who are young in entry-level positions and have a month’s vacation. There is a big difference in PTO between many jobs in the United States and many jobs in Europe.

Hardy: There are companies, mostly tech companies in San Francisco or that area, that offer unlimited vacation time. But what they’ve also seen with places that have unlimited vacation time is that those people use it less. Although they have all the vacation they want, they use it less than people who are given two or three weeks of vacation.

Companies offer perks that pop up in the news because, “Oh, we have unlimited vacation.” But still, do people demand that people go on vacation? We need to get better as companies at encouraging vacations or mandatory vacation time. I think that’s what will happen. I don’t think many companies are going to offer more.

Hollensbe: Some companies have adopted a system where they use PTO and everything goes to this group. They are not just vacations, but sick leave, they are personal days. More and more companies are considering this as an option for a couple of reasons. It gives people more freedom; They don’t have to reveal that they are having a mental health day; They can just say I’m taking a PTO day.

So it provides discretion, flexibility and control to employees. It also eliminates the need for employers to monitor this. One downside is that when a block of PTO time is offered, sometimes employees use it as vacation time and then when they are sick, they come to work sick because they have used up all of their PTO days.

Unless you are experienced enough to get your way, most of us would end up losing our jobs if we decided to be “ignore everything” and just ignore emails on a regular basis



How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way sick leave is considered?

Steed: I think it’s changed the way we all think about being sick. I think it’s changed the mindset from the ideal worker who would go ahead and come to work sick, to realizing that coming in sick has implications for the people around you, your team, and your coworkers.

Yes, you’re here doing this job, but you’re also putting me at risk of getting sick, which is really detrimental to us as a team or me as an individual. At least anecdotally, it seems to have changed a mindset where you realize that the cost of coming to work sick may be greater for the people around you than the benefit.

And now we have shown that many jobs can be done remotely. Not everyone can, but in jobs that can be done remotely it doesn’t make sense to put other people at risk.

Or at least wearing masks. It’s much more likely now that if I have to be somewhere and I’m not feeling well, can I wear a mask to at least be respectful to the people around me and maybe not spread my germs?

Hardy: We’ve seen people say, “I used to be able to take off when I was sick.” Now it’s: “I know the team is working. I know I have things to do. “I can [work] on it and do some of these things.” I think it’s a matter of communication with your staff. We have to be able to say, “When you’re sick, you should take that day.” I think the most important thing is communication about whether I’m really out of line on my sick days or if I’m really out of line on my vacation days. Whether you work in person or remotely, it makes no difference.

Hollensbe: It’s really a little confusing what it means to take a sick day. If I work at home and I’m sick, do I tell them I’m sick? Will it seem like I’m taking advantage of the fact that I’m working at home?

I think people are afraid to take sick leave because they don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of it, but there really is a cost associated with coming to work or working at home even when sick. They call it “presenteeism” when you work while sick. [If] you work when you are sick instead of taking a sick day, you will be less productive, you will probably get sicker, and you will need to take another sick day later. time.

Steed: I think it’s harder to spend a sick day completely disconnected. You may think, “I’ll connect even if I’m not feeling well.” And many of these decisions are more system decisions.


What is the organization like? What type of policies do they establish? What expectations do managers set?

Can you set an expectation among your employees that if you are really sick, you take a sick day, stay home and recover because you won’t get better if you work instead of resting and doing the things you need to take care of yourself?

Hardy: Unless it’s stated clearly, there will be people who will say, “I feel guilty even though I’m sick because I’m not working.” It’s those people who are going to burn.

How should parental leave be considered?

Steed: Parental leave is really important for employees and society to help people be better, healthier families. It’s a shame we don’t have more of that in America.

Parental leave attracts employees and also retains them. If you have great employees who have a child and can take time off to recover from that experience and bond with the child and then come back when they’re ready, you have a better chance of keeping that good employee. your company.

In the life of an employee, and the amount of time you expect to retain good employees, three months or four months is a short period of time. That’s nothing. But in the life of a person who has a new baby, that is a really huge benefit.

Will a four-day work week be common in the future?

Hollensbe: When we say we’re going to have a four-day work week, the way I look at that is not working 40 hours in four days. It is working 32 hours and doing the same amount of work. I think he’s very attractive and I think most American adults would think he’s very attractive.

But more studies are needed. I saw a study where they attended this 32-hour, four-day week. They could not document that productivity was equal or equivalent, so the plan was rejected. What will be necessary is to convince managers that they will get equivalent productivity from someone who works 32 hours in four days versus 40 hours in five days.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe that. If someone is focused and knows they need to get the job done in less time, there are probably ways to make their work more flexible. But again, the proof is in the pudding, and I think what it will take is studies to get organizations to commit.

Steed: There was a big pilot [study] that I saw in London, and it seemed like the data that came out was pretty positive. Productivity remained high and employee burnout decreased. I think there are also interesting ways to do it. It doesn’t have to be: “Everyone works Monday through Thursday and we’re closed Friday through Sunday.” Maybe you could have some employees [working] Tuesday through Friday and others Monday through Thursday. You can stagger the days off when you have coverage and the office can stay open, but still allow employees to have shorter work weeks.

Hardy: What I like about this time when employees are in control is that it’s a good time to explore. It’s a good time to explore what works and what doesn’t, and let’s try it. We could find out, just as we found out that many employees love the flexibility of a hybrid schedule, we’re going to find out if they like four or five days.

Once did a little experiment with a colleague and we decided to go a week without sending any emails, unless it was absolutely unavoidable. Instead, we called people or went to visit them at their desk



Could some companies continue to have their employees work 40 hours a week and move to a four-day work week?

Hollensbe: I think there are healthcare workers, some nurses, for example, who have that schedule that is a compressed work week. The positive thing is that you have that extra day. The negative is that you get quite tired working a 10-hour work day, especially when you are on your feet like a nurse is. Are you as responsive to patients or clients after being on your feet for eight hours with two more to go? There are some studies that have suggested that’s a good thing. Some have suggested an alternative due to the burnout factor. Some of that depends on the intensity of the work.

What is the future of movements like the $15 an hour minimum wage?

Hardy: It’s definitely going to happen. I don’t see any change in the $15 per hour or that range until we get some sort of relief on what’s happening with inflation. As long as you pay $4 for eggs, you’re looking at $15 an hour. You might even see it higher.

Hollensbe: Several states, cities and counties have raised the minimum wage recently, and that’s been attributed to factors like inflation, but also a recognition that these customer-facing people are doing something we consider essential. Take people out of poverty. And if you have someone who can now feed their family, their morale will improve. It’s going to increase how much they spend. It’s going to help our economy.

There are many reasons why it can be argued that raising the minimum wage would be a positive thing. The downside is that if a small business has to pay $15 an hour, how are they going to survive? Their biggest expense is labor, and now you’re going to add an additional surcharge so they have to pay $15 an hour.


This information has been prepared by OUR EDITORIAL STAFF