Your home phone rings on Saturday and you answer. You discover to your surprise that it’s a client or co-worker or boss with a question about work. You remind the caller that it’s Saturday and ask if this can’t wait until Monday.
You hang up, shaking your head.
Your mobile buzzes on Saturday to alert you that you have an email from a client or co-worker or boss and you stop everything to check it and respond. (You may even walk into a shopping mall water fountain as you do so.)
You pocket your smartphone and look guiltily at your kids, or your partner at the altar (who’s texting someone at that moment anyway), or the security guard fishing you out of the fountain.
I’m not going to lament the difference twenty years makes (not in this post anyway). But as the world economy continues to contract, and technology frees us up to do even more with fewer people, our jobs are relentlessly taking over our private time. Can an employee expect anything in return beyond keeping staying employed?
Shouldn’t our private life be permitted to encroach exponentially into our work? I think businesses need to be receptive to the idea of redressing some of the inbalance.
That might include things like:
- Flex-hour work schedules, since you are clearly already getting flexible with when you are available.
- The option to work from home when it’s possible to so do – and get paid for it this time.
- Being able to bring your kid or dog to work. They’re the ones who suffer most by your 24/7 on-call work ethic.
- Celebrating your religious/cultural holidays and making sure you have them off if that’s important to you.
- Being encouraged to pursue your passion projects during slower times. Hey that strategy led to 3M getting PostIt notes and reflective license plates!
- Finding your favourite bevvie waiting in the office fridge. (We all know that responding to work emails on the weekend negatively affects drinking time.)
Let’s face it, the camel’s nose is in the tent already and it’s only going to get worse. Businesses…step up!